Who here can honestly say that they have never fantasized about being a Jedi? I mean really why not? You have a laser sword that can cut through almost anything and choke people from across the galaxy. They’re like the ultimate fictional destructive force but the only problem is that there has always been a focus on being good, but this has now been solved in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (SWTFU).
You take the role of Galen Marek (Starkiller) the new lightsaber swinging, Storm Trooper throwing guy on the block. Marek is the secret apprentice of Darth Vader and his main objective is to assassinate Jedi’s in hiding and bring down the Emperor. The first part of the plan works, but the latter really doesn’t. The problem is that he has to remain hidden from the Emperor and survive the arduous task of being Darth Vader’s apprentice.
He isn’t alone in his journey and there are some rather interesting characters, but the most interesting is actually a droid by the name of Proxy. His main objective is to aid Marek in his training and he does this by using programs based off other Jedi. He takes the demeanor of a friend, but at other times he keeps his intentions truly ambiguous and he keeps you guessing. Another character is Juno Eclipse whom serves as your personal chauffeur to missions. While she isn’t integral to the plot she serves as someone for Marek to be attached to and have feelings for.
Not only is the story about Vader’s secret apprentice, but it also reveals the birth of the Rebellion Alliance. Many other things are entertaining to see like the incomplete Super Star Destroyer and the innards of the Death Star as it’s being constructed. More character development would’ve been nice though. This is because you’ll see allegiances made and by the time the game ends you would like to see a couple of things fleshed out.
SWTFU can be described as a less polished Heavenly Sword with force powers. It’s a rather competent action adventure that could’ve been great, but it falls short on a mechanic or two. For starters I’m going to be in the minority and not complain about the lightsaber not killing people with one hit. Your giant sword in Devil May Cry doesn’t kill things with one hit, the Athena Blades from God of War 2 don’t one hit kill and Ryu Hayabusa’s cavalcade of chopping utensils don’t one hit kill so it’s nothing new to the genre. What I don’t like is how uneven the use of the force is.
According to SWTFU a Jedi can yank a Star Destroyer out of the Sky, grab Tie Fighter’s in mid-flight, but they can’t push around an AT-ST or a Purge Trooper. Another thing to note is that a lot of these Storm Trooper variants were not included in any of the movies. Though SWTFU is to bridge the gap between Episodes 3 and 4 it takes several liberties with the license. You have Storm Troopers that have flamethrowers, ones that are resistant to the Force; ones that shoot electroshock flechettes at you and snipers. In the movies these guys couldn’t hit Han, Chewie, or Luke when they were running towards the Millennium Falcon.
The only way to come to grips with the enemies thrown at you is to develop strategies for everything that comes at you. Your average Storm Trooper is pretty much a red shirt in the original Star Trek series. They’re only there to get killed by you; they pose no threat unless one is manning a gun emplacement. But all you have to do is wait for them to reload the turret and kill them. Killing is where a lot of the fun lies in SWTFU and this is because there is a wealth of options depending on what you’re fighting.
Say you walk into a room and Storm Troopers just come barreling into a room. You can either take a lightsaber to each one of them or you can use the Force and grab one and throw him into his own comrades. Or you can take a barrel and shoot it with force lightning and hurl it at your enemies only for it to explode and take out about five or six men. One of my favorite methods of death is throwing people into energy shields. There’s just something so satisfying about picking up a hapless soldier, toying with him for a few brief moments only to then throw him into an energy shield, and see that body disintegrate on impact.
I also like using the Force Grab to launch people into orbit. The only thing that I don’t understand is that when a person comes crashing down back to earth they SURVIVE. Regardless of energy a person should just die after falling 200ft. If you don’t want to rely on the Force you can use lightsaber combos. Once you get over the fact that your lightsaber might as well be made out of stale French bread you get used to it and use a bevy of combos to take down your foes. Once you level up enough times and put some skill orbs towards your lightsaber proficiency it will become stronger. It also helps to unlock combos because some do some rather interesting things. One combo combines the lightsaber with Force Lightning and does some serious damage to robots. It also does a good job on the Storm Troopers wearing jet packs. This is because the electricity will actually overload the jet pack and will launch them skyward uncontrollably.
You get access to more combos by leveling up and acquiring force combo spheres, but you’ll only rely on a couple of them. And you seem to gain a new force power after every level. You then get to upgrade those with force power spheres. You can also upgrade health, force usage, force recovery and other attributes.
The one thing that I’ve remembered being hammered into my skull is DMM (Digital Molecular Matter). It’s a physics engine that determines how things break. Say if I was to use force push at a certain angle the door would break or implode a certain way a different time. They always hyped it to be something really ground breaking that would change the way we look at games (or something like that), but it’s really not. Another piece of tech that is impressive, but falls short is the Euphoria animation engine. We were promised Storm Troopers that would grab onto each other and crates in an attempt to save their own skin, but this doesn’t happen much. What I do notice is that they do attempt to dive out of the way and struggle to get back up after they’ve been knocked down. The best case where I have seen it work the best was when I smashed a window in a space ship. Everything was being sucked out and I happened to notice that one of the Storm Troopers was grabbing onto the edge hanging for dear life only for his grip to weaken and fade into the vacuum of space.
For the most part SWTFU is a good load of fun, but there are times when the whole game just seems to fall apart. The best example of this is when you have to bring down the Star Destroyer. For starters you have to fight Tie Fighters and when you see them you think “What the F**k do I do?” You can either Force Grab a piece of debris and hurl it at one or you can actually grab one, or use Lightning (best option). The problem is that for starters that piece of debris is not always going to go where you want. The other problem is that you don’t always know if you’re going to grab a Tie Fighter. This is because the lock-on system is too loose and seems to lock on to anything that you’re facing. This is a huge pain because there are times when you will try to shoot lightning at an enemy only to hit a barrel above, in back or next to it.
The other problem is that during this sequence the lock-on icon is impossible to see. When you do manage to destroy the fighters you then have the opportunity to pull down the Star Destroyer. Just when you think you’re home free more Tie Fighters pop up to interrupt you. And while you’re busy fighting the Star Destroyer is repositioning itself. The process of waste Tie Fighters, pull down Star Destroyer, get interrupted and doing it over lasts for a while and took me anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to finish. This right here sucked a lot of fun out of the game for me.
When The Force Unleashed works it can be a blast and you believe that you’re a whirlwind of death and destruction. As a Star Wars fan I find The Force Unleashed to be a pretty serviceable and for the most part a really fun game, but the lack of polish on the targeting system and one key segment that could’ve been great is just terrible.
The first thing that threw me off about the graphics was the character model for Galen Marek. This is mainly because he looks a lot different than he did in Soul Calibur 4. He looked older and more detailed in Soul Calibur 4, but after a while you get used to him. When you cause a wide range of destruction and watch DMM and the Euphoria physics engine at work you’ll appreciate the game. Just charging up Force Push and unleashing it to send a wave of men hurling to their deaths is great.
There is a good amount of detail in the character models (especially Vader’s) and the CGI is excellent. In fact they’re almost too good as you wonder for a minute if they actually brought on live actors. The environments are also nice and varied. SWTFU has you planet hopping pretty often and the worlds that you inhabit are well detailed and have rather appropriate characteristics for that level.
For example the planet Felucia is a rather colorful jungle world with deadly plants and creatures with many hues. While on that contrast the scrap metal planet of Raxus Prime consists mostly of scraps of metal and molten metal on it’s surface. There’s also a lot of scrap iron just floating around in the air. The worlds in SWTFU are definitely nice to look at, but that comes at a price. There are some stability problems and most of them actually appear when you’re in Felucia. There’s something about having one too many Rancor’s, Felucians and poisonous plants on screen along with you jumping and flipping that the game engine does not like. You will come across instances of major slowdown on top of the occasional freeze.
One more problem is the amount of glitches. One problem I had was that I fell out of a level. This happened in the Sarlaac pit level and I ended up getting blown out of the level. The next thing I see is my character swirling around a void of black. Another thing that happened was that I ended up getting trapped behind the dismembered head of an AT-ST. It took me about three minutes to get out of it using jumps and various attempts at Force Pushing and Force Gripping it out of the way. While this does mar the experience it doesn’t take too much away from the enjoyment from the game.
Well what’s a Star Wars game without a sweeping score and composer Mark Griskey does an admirable job. The music provided seems to borrow a lot from the usual John Williams score, but the original music provided seems to fit right in. The voice acting is pretty stellar. Actor Sam Witwer provides a rather convincing portrayal as the secret apprentice. Marek is filled with rage, confusion and confidence amongst many other emotions and they all get conveyed. A lot of the other voice actors are pretty good, minus the person providing the Emperor’s voice. Other than that the usual fare of blaster fire, Tie Fighter roars and lightsaber hums are present sounding the way they did in the movies.
For those that follow the rule of “no multiplayer=no replay value” should just stay away from or rent SWTFU. For those that have nothing against playing solely the campaign you might find a reason to pick it up again once or twice. For starters you can search for holocrons, which provide a couple of bonuses. The main holocrons to look for contain lightsaber crystals. These come in two varieties. One changes it’s color and the other gives it a special ability. For example one crystal will increase it’s ability to block blaster bolts, while another will absorb an enemies health. Another reason to play it again is because it’s actually rather fun. There’s just something about throwing things at people and discovering a new way to kill something with the force is entertaining. The best barometer would be to download the demo that’s available on XBL or PSN. If you find yourself playing it 5-8 times then you might want to buy the game.
While I wish SWTFU were more polished I still have to give it some credit. It’s fun enough to keep me playing to the end and go on to a second play through. If you can stomach the loose targeting system and the glitches that will have you trapped between walls; you’ll find an entertaining game that almost any Star Wars fan should own.
Too Human is a game that has been awaited nearly as long as the next installment of Duke Nukem and after its release it was dinged and pinged for how long it took. I will not use this as a crutch against Silicon Knights due to the psycho amounts of trading they went through from Sony to Nintendo where they produced Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem which is widely considered a great game. When Microsoft picked up Silicon Knights they finally, with the help of Unreal Engine 3 finished Too Human and I gotta say that it holds its own as a futuristic Norse based mythology game where you wield badass weapons and annihilate machines in the forms of mythological creatures. This is Too Human.
In Too Human you assume the role of Baldur who is one of the Aesir. The Aesir are gods (cybernetic Norse gods) among men who dwell in the city of Asgard and are heavily cybernetically enhanced. Thor is only 2% human, just to give you an idea of how enhanced they are. By the way if you notice Baldur’s voice (Crispin Freemen) then you probably like Naruto where he is the voice of Itachi Uchiha or a Hellsing fan where he voices the lovely Alucard. Anyway, back to the game, the Aesir are fighting on 2 fronts, against the machines of war that were created and against the dead realm of Helheim. The machine creatures are shaped into Norse mythology as well as they are called Goblins, Trolls, Dark Elves, Light Elves and the such. Baldur who died and was sent to Helheim as the dead always are, is taken from Helheim by the Aesir, namely Tyr and taken back to the landof the living thus breakingthe pact between the living and the underworld of Helheim overseen by Hel the daughter of Loki.
Loki is imprisoned by the Aesir after his capture by Thor who obvious just wanted to bash the hell out of him with his lovely mallet Mjolnir but the Aesir choose to keep him captive instead. As the game starts you get a beautiful cut scene cinematic with Baldur going into a bar of sorts and a mechanical beast fighting sues with who else but the mythological might Grendel…in machine form. This is a 3 part series with this beingthe first installation which leaves for an exciting 2nd part coming. The origination of the title Too Human is from Baldur’s kin saying he is too much like the humans and not enough cybernetic compared to his brethren.
Overall Grade: B+
The gameplay gives you some hit and miss style to work with. The right stick free roamingmelee style is amazing and addicting as hell. The firearms used with the right trigger and left if using duel pistols, isn’t bad but not nearly as satisfying. It has a Diablo style level system along with skill set system and skill tree that can be re-configurated accordingto what you need. The big drawback on this game is dying. Prepare to die like you never have died before. It is so bad to the point of they have an actual achievement for it (which I got with 117 deaths).The death sequence takes a good 35 seconds to get done as the valkyrieflies down to take you to Valhalla. This becomes the most aggravatingthing I have ever had to f’inggo through. I have never died 117 times in a single game until this. Beyondthe ass loads of dying and forever death sequence it was exceptional.
The graphics are decent but good when considering the importance of the gameplay over the graphics. The cutscenes are beautiful and the characters are very detailed when seen in these cutscenes. Due to the 3rdperson gameplay style the graphics are a give and take. They are good but nowhere near Gears Of War good. They do get the job done and the is what matters.
The sound is acceptable but can become restless from hearing your bitching troops whine or boast about what is going on during the fight. The weapon sounds are wonderful and your specialty moves have great effect to back up their power. The sound does the job but does nothing to impress you.
The replay is actually very good. The online with its Lego game styled drop in drop out multiplayer system is seamless and really really fun. The game while it has some flaws and some problems is only the 1st part in a 3 part series so calm down as they will address the problems from the1st game and indicate them with the 2nd and 3rd. The game can become frustrating with of course the ungodly amounts of dying but the fighting is really very enjoyable along with the weapon and armor system along with runic upgrades. You can upgrade all of your armor and weapons. There play is fairly high due to the online play and the fun smash and bash game style it has.
Give it a damn shot! Rent it and try It out. The game has its highpoints and big falters but is solid in the end. They online helps it alot along with loads of good downloadable content such as armor, weapons and even new classes to chose from for your character. This is a good fix until you get ahold of Gears Of War 2 or Fallout 3 which I am eagerly waiting for. It has a great storyline and is a fun game to help you learn of Norse culture and mythology. The end of the game scene is a beautiful prelude to the2ndcoming and to what Loki has in store for Baldur and the Aesir!
- In the NORN'S Favor (10p)
- Chosen of the Aesir (20p)
- Elite Warrior of the Aesir (25p)
- Hero to the Aesir (30p)
- Legend of the Aesir (30p)
- True Son of Odin (40p)
- Jack of all Trades (10p)
- Achieve Adept Status or greater for all classes
- First Step toward Destiny (5p)
- Assign the first skill point
- Path of Ruin (25p)
- Defeat 100 enemies using Ruiners
- Unrelenting Rage (10p)
- Show No Mercy (10p)
- Defeat 25 enemies using a single Battle Cry
- Rune Lore (10p)
- Relics of a Forgotten Past (5p)
- Construct a seven-piece Elite Armor suit
- I'm Rich... (10p)
- Collect 1 million in bounty
- Artisan to the Aesir (10p)
- Aesir Ascendant (10p)
- Complete a tier three Charm
- Fenrir's Bite (10p)
- Assign a skill point to a sentient ability
- Display of Power (5p)
- Execute a two-in-one: Juggle, Ruiner, Finisher, Slide or Gunfire move
- The Final Strike (10p)
- Eliminate 100 enemies with Finishers
- Death from Above (10p)
- Eliminate 100 enemies using air combat
- A Valorous Deed (5p)
- Without Equal (10p)
- Eliminate 1000 polarity enemies
- Relics of the Ascendance (10p)
- Archivist to the Aesir (10p)
- One God Enters, One God Leaves... (20p)
- Serve Em Up (10p)
- Juggle an enemy, who will then be killed by a teammate with air combat
- Teamwork Takedown (10p)
- One player destroys the Troll's chest armor, the other mount kills
- Blooded of the Aesir (10p)
- Achieve novice status - Level 5
- Hate for the Machine... (15p)
- Through the Halls (80p)
- Hall of Heroes has been completed (all tokens collected) in single-player or online co-op mode.
- Frozen Vengeance (80p)
- Ice Forest has been completed (all tokens collected) in single-player or online co-op mode.
- The One That Got Away… (80p)
- World Serpent has been completed (all tokens collected) in single-player or online co-op mode.
- To Hel and Back (80p)
- Helheim has been completed (all tokens collected) in single-player or online co-op mode.
- Unstoppable: Hall of Heroes (10p)
- Hall of Heroes has been completed without dying.
- Unstoppable: Ice Forest (15p)
- Ice Forest has been completed without dying.
- Unstoppable: World Serpent (15p)
- World Serpent has been completed without dying.
- Unstoppable: Helheim (20p)
- Helheimhas been completed without dying.
- Force to be Reckoned With (5p)
- 100 Elite enemies annihilated.
- Avenger of the Slain (30p)
- Bane to Goblins (30p)
- Hunter of Elfkin (30p)
- Slayer of Trollkind (30p)
- 50 Trolls defeated by mounting.
- Exultation of Steel (30p)
- Hel has been defeated by the Cybernetic Baldur.
- Triumph of Humanity (30p)
- Hel has been defeated by the Human Baldur.
- Feeder of Ravens (10p)
- The Blood of Heralds (10p)
- 100 enemy leaders conquered.
- NORN Novice (5p)
- First Cyberspace Well has been activated.
- The Call of Battle (5p)
- First Battle Cry unlocked.
- Trial of Ascendance (5p)
- Complete a Level 1 Charm.
- Valkyrie's Folly (5p)
If you haven’t played any MEGA MAN games, you won’t understand that MEGA MAN 9 will punch your pride in the mouth. For the duration, it will consistently mangle your soul and devour your self-worth. Why then, is it so damn fun?
MEGAMAN 9 is fun because, just like MEGA MAN 2 and 3, way back when, the level design is brilliant, because the gameplay, graphics and soundtrack keep you coming back for more, and because the game rewards effort and persistence. The game is an 8-bit MEGA MAN game, and not just in the graphical sense. The game plays like MEGA MAN 2 did twenty years ago, and is, quite frankly, just as good.
Okay, so the designs of some of the enemies are somewhat… self-deriving. Concrete Man is Guts Man and a few other bots are more or less the same old concepts. That said, I assure you that the design still seems fresh overall, especially when it comes to the level design. Speaking of which…
Screw Jewel Man’s level. Seriously. The design is ingenious and the visuals are lovely, sure, but there are some jumps in that bitch that are just infuriating. Same with Tornado Man. The good folks at Capcom evidently saw it necessary to stick in the wind from Lost Levels (which I’ve beaten, of course) to fuck with your jumps. Luckily, I am a superhero, so it was all in a day’s work.
All kidding aside, I can tell you that in the first 3 hours of playing this game I beat two bosses. After that, things started falling into place and I was able to beat the game within 7 hours, but that’s still a long, long time to be playing a game like this. College guys like myself will have fond memories of their younger selves laying the smackdown on Wily in these games, and I assure you, the feeling is filled with the same warmth and satisfaction in MEGA MAN 9.
The game is GOOD, is the thing. Not only does it fill you with nostalgia, it doesn’t disappoint on quality. It’s not a rush job – work went into this game. I had read that the final fight with Wily was a disappointment, and while it’s not quite as brilliant as the ones in say, MEGA MAN 2 or 3, it’s frankly harder.
That’s only true, though, if you don’t stock up on health tanks and power-ups before you start the four Wily stages. To be clear, the final four levels took me twelve continues and two hours without the energy tanks, and I couldn’t beat Wily. With four tanks bought before trying again, and a cursory knowledge of the stages, it took me one continue and Wily was a pushover.
This was my biggest problem with MEGA MAN 9. This was never a problem in any 8-bit series entries. If they were trying so hard to duplicate MEGA MAN 2 that they eliminated sliding and the charge-up shot from MEGA MAN 3, then why even have the shop? If the three or four or five energy tanks laying around in the game are used up before you reach the final boss, and you don’t wanna be a little bitch and buy any shit at the store, it’s not very likely you’ll be beating Wily anytime soon. This happened with MEGA MAN 7 on the SNES, but never on the NES, ever. It’s the one real flaw I can see in the game, but realistically, it only cost me a couple hours of time, and it’s circumstantial, so whatev.
MEGAMAN 9 kicks a ton of ass anyway.
Cel-shading has come a long way as a graphical concept. I can’t really remember the first game I played where the style was used. Maybe it was Robotech: Battlecry or Dragonball Z Boudakai 2, but I’ve always enjoyed the look of it. From its anime like qualities to the personality that it adds to the game it’s always nice. But they never were able to blur that line that separates anime from cel-shading, that and they only appealed to fans of the anime, but that changed when Okami made an appearance. Okami wowed gamers with its watercolor painting like appearance and turned the industry on its ear. Where the action adventure and fighting genres had numerous nice to excellent looking cel-shaded games the JRPG genre only had one (that I know of) with the Tales Franchise. And to break ground as pretty much an interactive anime Tales of Vesperia is here.
You play the role as former Imperial Knight Yuri Lowell as he goes on the hunt for a Blastia (think Materia from FFVII) thief by the name of Mordio. Yuri has a travelling companion, his trusty mutt Repede, who for some odd reason has an Opium pipe dangling from his mouth and fights with a dagger. As Yuri and Repede hunt for this person Yuri ends up pissing off some really incompetent guards with funny accents and gets thrown in the clink. He breaks out and wanders around the castle where he runs into Estellise (Estelle for short), a benevolent kind hearted woman that will do anything to help those in need or suffering. Like in usual anime fare you eventually find the person you are chasing only to find somebody completely different.
Eventually Estelle asks to go on a journey to find the noble knight known as Flynn. Eventually you meet Flynn and you find out that he’s too noble and has various ties to Yuri’s past. There is more to it, but it’s something that won’t be spoiled. The story isn’t necessarily ground breaking and a lot of the characters meet your standard anime cliché’s but they’re entertaining characters to watch on the screen.
A lot of the characters are motivated by completely different things and they all act differently from one another. Right now my favorite character happens to be Rita. Her temper burns hotter than her fire magic and her sarcasm, cynicism and arrogance is a blast to witness. She’s probably the most grown up and closed off in the game, but there are times that she’ll actually act like a human being. Another nice thing to witness are the interactions between the characters. These are called “skits” and pop up after cutscenes and at times randomly. These are when your characters will talk to each other about what has unfolded before them and sometimes they just try to get a better sense of one another.
If you’re part of the growing trend of gamers that don’t like turn based JRPG’s you might want to give Tales of Vesperia a gander. This is because it’s a real time action RPG. You’re allowed to dodge attacks, roam freely around the field and coordinate your attacks with your allies. While at first I wasn’t too into it, but that changed once I had more than two characters on the field (with me being the only one attacking).
Once you get a full roster of characters the battles get quite chaotic with two to three attacking characters, with another character launching magic all over the place. Battling isn’t a chore like in some other games I’ve played, it’s actually a rather entertaining experience. It almost makes me wish that the battles were random. You can actually pick and choose your battles because the creatures always appear on screen. Tales of Vesperia also does something interesting with this by linking conflicts. Say for instant if you engage in a battle with a monster and there is another monster about two feet away from it; that one will join the fray as well. It makes for a rather entertaining, but chaotic battle. Another interesting concept is how ambush attacks are handled. Unlike most RPG’s every character is there with you and if you are ambushed you will have your default set of battle characters shuffled. This isn’t too much of an inconvenience because even if a character is not in your battle roster they will still level up and learn new abilities.
As you level up you and your other characters gain access to new abilities known as “Artes.” Depending on your character these Artes could be used for either combos or magic. You’re limited to about four Artes for your character Yuri so that means you have to switch them out as you get more powerful ones. These Artes are controlled by the “A” button and depending on what direction you push the left stick determines the Arte you use. Because you seem to get new attacks with each level up it gives you a definite incentive to take the time out to level up your characters.
There is also a rather nice synthesizing part of Tales of Vesperia. It actually functions a little bit like FFIX’s. All you have to do is go to your basic store and select the synthesizing option to create new weapons or items. You can find new recipes for this and you always find materials by killing stuff. The weapons you get from this always tend to be useful, but they’re not overpowered.
All of your characters are useful in their own way and are not hindrances. They offer different play styles, but finding a party that works for you is part of the fun. For all I know all of what was listed here existed in previous Tales of games, but it doesn’t make it any less fun. In fact Vesperia now has me interested in previous incarnations of the franchise because if they’re as fun as this one they can’t be bad.
Tales of Vesperia is definitely a sight to behold. In this generation where you see color palettes that don’t stray too far from black, gray and brown it’s nice to see a game that brings vivid colors. Since Folklore came out I haven’t seen a game this vivid or beautiful. What really helps the visual component is the anime like cel-shaded graphics. Here is a world where one of the main characters has pink hair and almost everybody’s wardrobe borders on absurd. I must admit if I didn’t have a rather robust anime collection I might be turned off by the visuals so if you require more of a realistic look to the art design than you might not want Tales of Vesperia, but it does offer a rather nice break from war torn hell holes.
The soundtrack of Tales of Vesperia is a good mix of quirky and dramatic. It’s never one of these two things at an inappropriate time either. The battle music is kind of catchy, but it’s not too much of a distraction. That actually describes a lot of the music. Nothing dips into Nobuo Uematsu levels of epicness, but it still works. Voice over work is decent (no Japanese option). Everybody minus Karol is voiced pretty well and I love the voices for Yuri and Rita the most because their sarcastic personalities are almost captured perfectly.
This all depends on how much you like RPG’s and achievements. If I like an RPG I’ll probably play it multiple times for many years. I like this one and I’ll probably play it again at a time when there are no good games coming out. In regards to achievements about 80% of them are secret and I have no clue how to get them without referencing a guide. It makes Tales of Vesperia rather interesting, but from that point infuriating as well. There is some form of multiplayer in the fact that your friends can control the other characters during battles, but being a purist I wouldn’t touch it.
Tales of Vesperia is actually one of the best JRPG’s on the Xbox 360. Granted it sticks to the mechanics of the genre and doesn’t do much ground breaking, but fans of the genre and franchise will love it. I honestly wish the environments weren’t so linear, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying what I was playing. The story is interesting and the characters are engaging making for a rather entertaining experience.
In the world of RPG’s like Diablo, Elder Scrolls and HellGate: London there is one game that brings the best of all 3 of these and rolls them into a beautifully crafted RPG that gives you open world freedom, mythical stories and powers along with the ability to ride a tiger (it’s random but I loved it!) and that one game finally has a sequel to it. Say hello to Sacred2: Fallen Angel
Sacred 2 is the prequel to Sacred and asks you to assume 1 of 6 character types (Seraphim, High Elf, Dryad, Inquisitor, Shadow Warrior, Temple Guardian). This is an upgrade from the original Sacred where you could only assume the Seraphim character so this is a great upgrade. Let us start with the characters. The Seraphim is the embodiment of all that is good and can only travel the path of the good. The High Elf and Dryad are able to choose their path of either good or evil. The Inquisitor is the embodiment of all that is evil and can only travel that path. The Shadow Warrior and Temple Guardian have the choice of the evil or good path.
The ancient world of Ancaria is in disarray. The angelic like race called Seraphim guarded Ancaria for it was an epicenter of T-Energy which was the source of great power and peace as well as long life. In essence it encompasses life and everything in the world of Ancaria. As those who walked the land of Ancaria grew and civilized and gained knowledge the angel like warriors looked upon the world they guarded with warmth as the Ancient Elves prospered and learned to manipulate the T-Energy. The Ancient Elves prospered heavily at first as they controlled the flow of the T-Energy. This worked until petty fighting took over and factions vied for control of the T-Energy. This eventually became a full scale civil war. The once powerful Elves that were given an amazing gift but gave into greed and dissent which brought about their own destruction.
As the Ancient Elves imploded the other civilizations grew interested in the vacuum of power that was left behind. This only made the fighting continue and spill into all of Ancaria. As the wars raged on the T-Energy started to change as well, change into something terrible and dark. This change created widespread mutations and one time prosperous regions into desolate wastelands. This destruction resulted in an uneasy peace and one that was doomed to fail. As all the groups attempted to move themselves into a place of power over one another all out war seemed as likely as the grass continuing to grow.
Cries for heros are heard throughout the world of Ancaria and the people are waiting for someone to step up and to reconcile that which has been decimated. Here is where you come in. Will you harness the T-Energy for the good of Ancaria and stomp out the evil it has created? Or will you harness its power for your own selfish wants and bring the lands of Ancaria to its knees? You make the decision. Story gets an A+.
The gameplay is beautiful and flows really well. You can modify your combat arts and upgrade and link together you and your alter ego’s combat skills in order to match up to your playing style. The deities offer very unique and useful combat disciplines and can unlock additional quests. You can mount a number of animals like Tigers, Lizards and more which makes it unique and fun and different. There are hundreds of hours of free roaming exploration and many different places to explore along with many different enemies to fight. One of the best things of the game is when you’re fighting a group of enemies and you take out the leader the rest of the group go’s into temporary disarray allowing you to hack away at least until one of your enemies gains command and rallies the rest of his group. Your opponents will react differently to you based on your path by supporting, attacking or ignoring your character. The hotkey and combat system is great but can be clunky from time to time. Gameplay gets an A-.
The graphics are well done especially considering how large the world is and the amount of different enemy NPC’s along with their tactics and mindsets. The detail on the trolls is my personal favorite considering their huge bulky build. The dragons look beautiful too. The detail on your character is very exceptional and the armor is detailed and very vibrant.Graphics get an A-.
The sound is harmonic and fits the mythological style gameplay and the lushes world that Ancaria is. Everything fits beautifully and works well with the game as you would hope. Sound gets an A-.
The replay value is going to be huge. It is like Elder Scrolls mixed with HellGate: London so the online is going to be very sexy. The large open world added with the characters means this could possibly rival the abilities of WOW in the future. This game has a lot to offer along with several different stories for the characters. Mix that with the choice of going down a light or dark path and the many side quests you can complete and you have a beautiful and well made game. This has a lot of potential especially since it will becoming out on the counsels X360 and PS3 as well. This is an RPG that will keep you playing and keep you going on Xbox Live or Playstation Network. The Replay value gets an A.
This game overall has a lot of good qualities with very few negatives. This is large like Just Cause with the gameplay of Diablo and Elder Scrolls put together. If you’re an RPG lover and can’t wait for Diablo 3 orthe next Elder Scrolls then this game is definitely for you. Along with great combat, a large world and great landscape this has a story that is structured and well done. Give this game a try I promise you will not regret it!
Overall Grade: A
A long standing game of its own moves to the console systems and handhelds to show why it is so dominant and why civilizations just cannot seem to stop fighting each other on a turn by turn basis. This game is the next in line to a very historical and entertaining game, this is Civilization Revolution.
The story is simple and most of us know it by now. Pick your civilization (French, Germans, Russians, Americans etc.) and attempt to defeat the other civs via a domination victory(capturing all enemy civ capitals) a technology victory(sending your space ship to Alpha Centari) a cultural victory(get 20 cultural points such as great people capturing cities orbuilding wonders and then build the United Nations wonder) or a economic victory(getting 20,000 gold pieces and building the world bank). They have a scenario system that is fun to do as well but the same concept applies. Story gets a B.
The gameplay is addictive and you will find yourself playing for hours on end and especially if you start doing online which is like crack.Road building is simplified along with production which is good considering that this is a counsel based game so some dumbing down was very necessary. The button layout allows for faster and smoother gameplay. Army promotions are essential to winning battles. Ninja units can see a cities defensive units before attack while lighting based units can move an extra space. There are many upgrades and all are important to your gaining victory over your enemies! Gameplay gets an A.
The graphics are not poor but not something that will change gaming the way Gears of War did a few years back but they are good. They have a vibrant feel to them and the graphics for the battles are actually very entertaining. Trust me on this, it is fun to beat your enemy with your Bomber Squadron against his Archers. Funny stuff right there. Nothing better than watching them fire arrows at planes while getting hit with bombs. Graphics get a B.
The sound is pretty good. They have more of a sound based achievement kind of thing. When you build a wonder you get a symphony for your building it. When you declare war or vice versa you get a rough war sound. You know what im talking about. Not much to comment on here but it does its job. Sound gets a B+.
As the days of one play games are always around this one triumphs in its own fashion. All of you achievement whores out there this is something you will enjoy. Getting achievements is fun and something that you won’t mind doing all day. The online play is one of the best features this game has and keeps you playing longer. The difficulty is awesome and you will fall in love with the tactics you must use to defeat your opponent. This game has great value and to add to it great online! Replay gets an A-.
Overall grade: A-
One Mistress and No Master (15points): Win as an English civilization.
I Will Not Be Triumphed Over (15points): Win as an Egyptian civilization.
Flower and Song (15 points): Win as an Aztec civilization.
A Short Life of Glory (15 points):Win as a Greek civilization.
Fair and Softly Goes Far (15points): Win as a Spanish civilization.
Blood and Iron (15 points): Win as a German civilization.
Veni Vidi Vici (15 points): Win as a Roman civilization.
A Great Wind is Blowing (15 points):Win as a Russian civilization.
Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom (15points): Win as a Chinese civilization.
We the People (15 points): Win as an American civilization.
Imagination Rules the World (15points): Win as a French civilization.
An Indomitable Will (15 points): Win as an Indian civilization.
A Knight Without Fear or Blame (15points): Win as an Arab civilization.
This World is a Harsh Place (15points): Win as an African civilization.
All Others Must Fail (15 points):Win as a Mongolian civilization.
Victory Over Lesser Men (15 points):Win as a Japanese civilization.
Difficulties Mastered (30 points):Win a victory with each civilization.
A Revelation of Man (20 points): Win a Cultural Victory.
Embiggens the Smallest Man (30points): Win a Cultural Victory on at least King difficulty.
Citizen of the World (45 points):Win a Cultural victory on Deity difficulty.
Have Fun Storming the Castle (20points): Win a Domination Victory.
Vi Victa Vis (30 points): Win a Domination Victory on at least King difficulty.
Such Joy Ambition Finds (45 points):Win a Domination victory on Deity difficulty.
A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned (20points): Win an Economic Victory.
The Guy Who Signs the Checks (30points): Win an Economic Victory on at least King difficulty.
Playing the Game (45 points): Win an Economic victory on Deity difficulty.
Ideas Control the World (20 points):Win a Technology Victory.
640K Ought to be Enough (30 points):Win a Technology Victory on at least King difficulty.
Indistinguishable From Magic (45points): Win a Technology victory on Deity difficulty.
Destroyer of Worlds (30 points): Win all types of victories (Domination, Technology, Cultural, and Economic).
The Universal Brotherhood of Man (25points): Develop a city to produce 100 culture per turn.
Organized Knowledge (25 points):Develop a city to produce 200 science per turn.
The Root of All Evil (25 points):Develop a city to produce 200 gold per turn.
Curse of the Drinking Class (25points): Develop a city to produce 200 resources per turn.
Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride (3points): Make contact with another civilization.
Culture is Worth a Little Risk (9points): Build a Wonder of the World.
Once More Unto the Breach (5points): Combine three identical units into an army.
80% of Success is Showing Up (5points): Accumulate culture to unlock a famous person.
Home is Where One Starts From (3points): Construct a special building.
Good Afternoon, Doctor Jones. (9points): Discover an ancient artifact.
Before all Else, Be Armed (5points): Earn a special unit ability in combat.
Scientia Potentia Est (3 points):Complete development of any technology.
Napalm in the Morning (3 points):Defeat an enemy unit.
The Fruit of Labor (5 points): Builda second city in a game.
What is the City But the People? (25points): Grow a city to size 20.
The Will to Win is Everything (25points): Win 20 battles with one unit.
Here's Looking at You, Kid (45points): Unlock all famous persons.
That We May Live in Peace (25points): Win the game by year 1000 AD on King difficulty or higher.
Absolute Power is Kind of Neat (25points): Win without changing governments on King difficulty or higher.
Power Never Takes a Back Step (25points): Win with only one city on at least King difficulty.
First things first. I know that this game is not really that new; we're almost 2 full years passed its release date. But give me some credit, because I like to write about whatever game I'm playing presently for the first time, and this game just happens to be it. But enough about my justification, (which is mainly for my benefit). Let's get down the core of this review: Final Fantasy III.
Final Fantasy III actually has an interesting back story to it. It was originally released in 1990, but like most games in the FF series, it was never released in America for its original system. So back in circa 2004-2005, they decided to bring this lost game back in a totally new fashion. The developers decided they were going to redo this game completely and make it a brand new phenomenon for this generation of gaming. Yet, it some ways, this game just misses that bar.
Here's the problem with a lot of the early FF games: they are all plot-driven, not character driven as the games more recent in the series. While there is nothing wrong with a plot-driven story, it only really gets pulled off if there a really awesome story. The early FF games pretty much lack in that department.
In Final Fantasy III, the main character awakens to find himself on the floor of a dark and gloomy cave. It is learned that a great earthquake opened a hole in the ground and your main character fell through. Not that exciting huh? Later on, however, you learn that the "earthquake was only the beginning." The world is going to hell in a hand basket; the light of the crystals is fading! You and three people you meet in the first half hour of the game are the "WARRIORS OF THE LIGHT." You have been sworn to defend the world from perishing and to restore light to the coming "world of darkness."
I mean, that’s an okay storyline; I’m sure that back in 1990, it was fresh and mind-blowing. But by today’s standards, it’s really weak and overdone. It’s not something that is really going to make your jaw drop, but it is still enjoyable. The plot is simple enough that you can keep everything that’s going on in line. There is not too much room for confusion, and that makes the gameplay and mechanics so much easier to focus on.
GAMEPLAY / MECHANICS:
This game follows the style of the conventional FF games in the series, which is the turn-based, random battling, and the exploration of world maps, towns and dungeons. The gameplay is very simplistic and very easy to learn. By moving around on the world map, you find towns and other enterable areas (such as Chocobo Woods: secret forest village where you can catch and ride a chocobo on the world map). You must go from town to town, mainly in the order you can find them, and find clues to what destruction is going on in the world. Your characters then set out to right wrongs, and restore that good ol’ light of the crystals.
The towns are very beneficial as that is where you buy your equipment. You can purchase weapons, armor, items and even magic in almost every town, so make sure to save up your gil. The newer towns you find, the newest magic and weapons will be available at their shops. So you get very interested in finding new places, because you want new stuff!
Final Fantasy IIIalso has a “job system”, as many games after it do. By restoring light to the crystals and saving parts of the world from evil, you can unlock jobs for your characters to be. What I mean is, you can choose for any character to be a white mage, a black mage, a monk, a knight, etc. It’s very nice that you don’t have to fill any pre-requisites in order to become a new class.
As nice as this sort of system sounds, there are a few drawbacks. For starters, every time you change jobs, there is a buffer period where your stats will be lower, allowing time for your character to get used to his or her new job. This gets to be a very big pain in the butt because the more you change job, the more battles you have to fight as a buffer. Also, there are times in the game when you wish that you were another job, and you find out that job will be the easiest way to complete the task, but there is no way of knowing that beforehand. Therefore your job level (which directly correlates to what abilities you can do, etc.) will be low if your job is changed now. Again, this gets very irritating. But the different jobs’ outfits and abilities look very cool in the remake.
I’m actually very impressed with the graphics of FFIII. The developers wanted to do much more than just an updated “port.” They completely reinvented the core of this game and it is visible through the graphics. First off, most of the game is in 3D, which really pushes the DS’s capabilities, but in a non-strenuous way. The animation for the spells looks great, as do the abilities the bosses use. The polygons for the characters are a little sharp: they seem to be pointy wherever two line meet. But other than that I think the game’s graphics are really impressing for a DS game.
To make the graphics look this way, they also changed some of the angles from the original during cut scenes. It is no longer a birds-eye view when an event takes place with the characters. They are interactive and fully zoomed in, as if you were watching movies, not just reading text.
MUSIC & SFX:
Pretty simple here. The music is that of good ol’ Nobou Uematsu, therefore, FF fans know that the music has pretty much nothing wrong with it. The sound effects are simple too: swords clangs, claws scrape, rods bonk. A pretty well designed sound section. It is not great, but there is nothing lacking.
The first time I bought this game in 2006, I turned around and sold it back to the store. But a few weeks ago I decided that I judged it too unfairly, and wanted to give it another shot. I’m really not disappointed. Nor am I swept off my feet. It’s a good game, and I’m really enjoying it (I only have a little bit more to go), but there’s no doubt I’ve played better, even in this series alone.
This game is very simple, especially if you’ve ever played any of the early Final Fantasy games. I recommend it to anyone who like a fantasy-based storyline and simplistic as hell plots. It’s a nice break from all the new intricate RPGs of today. So if you have twenty extra bucks, I say go pick this up and give it a try. You may end up losing yourself in the gameplay even. It’s really enjoyable and the gameplay gets you very hooked. In fact, I’m going to go sit down and play it.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10
To extend the storyline of Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, and to temporarily satiate the rabid appetites of R&C fans; Insomniac games has released Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty on the PSN.
Quest for Booty (QFB) takes place a little bit after the cliffhanger ending of Tools of Destruction (TOD). Ratchet is jetting around the galaxy with Talwyn in an attempt to rescue Clank and it turns out that he needs to be helped by the pirates from TOD. Speaking of the pirates, Rusty Pete is more liquored up than usual and spends half of his time talking to the head of Capt. Slag like it was Urich from Hamlet.
In order for Ratchet to find a way to communicate with Clank he has to find some Magoffin known as the Fulcrum Star that only Capt. Slag knows how to find. During this quest you find out about the past of Capt. Slag as well. QFB does a decent job of setting up the next game in the franchise which is do out in 2009. Judging from how this short little expansion ended it should bring back the hilarity that was showcased in Up Your Arsenal.
QFB in its own right seems like a downgrade when it comes to the script. It wasn’t as funny as previous entries, but it still made me laugh more than most games that I play. Using the liquored up Rusty Pete as narrator was a pretty good idea, but he doesn’t do as good of a job as Captain Quark. Quest for Booty lasts 3-4 hours, but no R&C game can be considered complete without Capt. Quark making an appearance.
QFB provides more action in the platforming variety than of the shooting kind. You won’t find any new weapons and oddly it won’t read your save file from TOD and give you those weapons at their current level. The only weapons you have access to are the Combuster, Shock Ravager, Predator Launcher, Fusion Grenades, and the Nano Swarmers. You also get the Alpha Cannon but you get it so late in the game that I only fired it off twice before I hit the end credits. The weapons max out at level five and you can’t even start over with a save plus feature.
Another component lacking in the R&C formula is armor upgrades. You run around in the same costume from beginning to end. Insomniac also went back to the old school leveling up so your health only goes up by increments of one. Another thing missing are the Titanium Bolts, which don’t exist unless they are really well hidden.
To make up for the total lack of weapon innovation they made some tweaks to the wrench, which adds to the puzzle and platforming aspects of the game. Your wrench can do two new things. You can use it to send out a magnetic beam to manipulate objects such as catapults and platforms to help you get across the map. Another thing the wrench can now do is grab and throw creatures. Particularly the creatures that give off light and explode and knowing when to hold onto them or throw them is interesting.
The added gameplay mechanics do a good job of spicing up the old puzzle mechanics. I can only hope that they make an appearance and greatly influence the new game that is due out next year. This is because it makes the simple platforming mechanics introduced in previous games more in depth. Granted you’re not going to scratch your head over a puzzle for too long, but it does make them more fun and slightly more varied.
While QFB isn’t as grand in scope as a full game it still manages to give you a good amount of entertainment for your money. Depending on your skill level and familiarity with the franchise you will probably blow through it in one if not two short sittings.
QFB is using a more updated version of the same engine that provided the stunning Pixar like graphics in TOD. Maps are still vibrant in color and grand in scope. QFB always does a good of showing you the size of each map by launching Ratchet into the air so you can see the mountains and lush forests underneath you.
There is still a lot of detail in the characters and it’s always nice seeing Ratchet’s ears flap in the breeze as he’s rail grinding. There appears to be a slight amount of frame rate slowdown every now and then, but it’s rarely when the action is happening.
Explosions are always crisp and loud and the voice acting is great. Though the music just tends to fade into the background; when you do notice it you can’t help but notice how it adds to the sense adventure. I also like how the music plays to the pirate theme. I say this because it’s hard not to notice the Pirates of the Caribbean like theme music.
It’s short and sweet and there’s nothing to really do after you beat it. You can beat it on hard, but that’s it. It’s pretty much just a nice companion piece to Tools of Destruction and if you want something to do after beating that you can load this up.
While it’s obvious that the Ratchet and Clank franchise thrives when it has its full cast, a weapons load out big enough to enslave the Zentradi empire, and enough planet hopping to make Captain Kirk jealous; it still proves to be entertaining when it’s downsized. It’s a buy for those that can’t wait for the Lombax’s newest adventure, but for those willing to wait or don’t have every game it’s probably best to take that $15 and put it towards one of the PS2 games. But in it’s own right it does serve as a really good expanded demo for the franchise, making it a really good gateway experience for newcomers.
In the world of wrestling games there is only one known game to most which is WWE: Smackdown vs. Raw series which has done well and has made great advances from game to game. WWE has had this style monopolized for several years but the lone competitor in the wrestling world TNA Impact! Has finally made their gaming mark with the release of TNA Impact! The game.
TNA Impact! Has one of the oddest yet funniest storylines I have ever seen. You start getting ready for your upcoming title match when LAX comes up and tells you to take a dive. You agree of course so you don’t get your ass stomped but again of course you turn on that idea with a big “F That” and win your title match only to be knocked out and wake up in get this…Mexico. You then are taken under the wing of Kevin Nash who helps groom you and helps you get a TNA contract.After you get your contract you are tagged up with Eric Young of all people. It goes on from there but I will give you the first words of the game for Eric Young.
“Mmm…you smell like banana’s”
The storyline gets a C-, enough said.
The gameplay is a hit and miss. Let’s start at the start of any wrestling game with the entrances. The entrances are beautiful and have great graphics but they only go as far as the entrance ramp and no further which definitely isn’t good. They also don’t utilize the entrance video’s such as Christian Cage’s countdown video or Team 3D’s video as well. This hurts them against rival WWE who heavily uses their video’s. I know that TNA doesn’t rely on entrance video’s or the such but you cannot create your own entrance as well as you would like and it just isn’t very detailed either.
The character creation is very shaky at best. You don’t have a whole lot you can customize and it seems very unpolished and that it needs some work done as well. The whole game seems to have a basic mechanics problem to where it must be compared to Backyard Wrestling which is something that isn’t good. Everything is simplified all the way down to the move-sets. The grapple system is nearly non-existent other than your several moves that you have with your strong grapple LB+Y or just the Y button for your weaker grapple moves. You have to unlock moves, characters and custom things for your created character.
You strike with you X button for punches and A button for kicks. You don’t use turnbuckle moves only strikes which hurts a lot especially since Black Machismo Jay Lethal uses the flying elbow drop in ode to Macho Man Randy Savage so you don’t have a good repertoire for your attacks in a general sense. It takes awhile to unlock good moves to add to your character and it becomes more annoying than fun. Not all is bad though. They keep things such as the AJ Styles Styling DDT or Sabin’s running enzeguri which are nice especially when you talk about the finishers. The finishers are the crown jewels of this game. From AJ Styles, Styles Clash to Petey Williams, Canadian Destroyer these are just some beautiful moves and are the real reason to play this game. Most of the finishers either have a submission or pin added to the end of them which is nice and saves you time from fighting with the B button to pin somebody. Also the little things are missing like no announcers at the table even though they’re talking and there is no referee to mess with which I do for fun.
All in all this game has hits and misses but overall I would give it a C. With the beautiful graphics and awesome finishers mixed with the shady grapple system and technically retarded tag team cpu partners this game isn’t too bad but is a work in progress. I’m looking forward to seeing their 2nd try at cracking this code. Not bad for the first decent wrestling game without a WWE sticker on it.
The graphics are very good and one of the high marks of this game. The characters have real looking sweat on them and the signature moves are beautifully made and sequence perfectly. The downside is during matches the graphics seem a little bit laid off like that decided to make the graphics secondary for the gameplay instead but the gameplay doesn’t add up enough to make the grade in that idea. Overall the Graphics get a B and are the highlight of this game.
The effects in this aren’t too bad but are not something that helps or hurts this game. The voice overs are funny most of the time but your created character voice choices are just terrible. Your voice sounds like a pedophile who is really into chopping wood with no pants on and likes to drink coffee. This hitting effects and mat effects are pretty good but the entrance music is hard to hear and really sketchy also. I give the sound forthis game a C+.
The replay value is minimal especially with WWE Smackdown vs. Raw feat. ECW 09 coming out soon here. This can tide you over but only if you’re willing to pitch out the $50 or $60 price tag. The online is decent but doesn’t change from the fact of a messy button system and annoying storyline along with a very small custom character ability to hurt it even farther. My overall grade for the replay is a D+ to a C- depending on your online addiction.
It is greased up men fighting. What’s missing you ask?Greased up women. There are no female playable characters in this game which hurts it overall. I was hoping to see Gail Kim’s tight ass, the Beautiful People’s sexiness and Awesome Kong’s Maximus style body armor suit. The big highlights are the graphics engine, the finishers and the entrances even though they are short. The character creation is awful, the grapple system is hard to learn and difficult to master and the strikes are minimal with very little that add a big punch to them. All in all this game seems unfinished and is going to lose when compared to the Smackdown vs.Raw series because of the lack of in depth wrestling. This game is decent but that’s all it doesn’t get any better than that. I have to give it a B-. The game is solid and entertaining but lacks a few things when you look at it head on. The CPU is retarded and annoying, the story is hard to get through yet the gameplay is fun entertaining and at times very funny. This is a hit and miss type of game and it is definitely something to at least check out.
Overall Grade: B-
On Top of the World (5 points):Create a player in Story mode (Chapter 1).
Lucha Libre! (10 points): Win theMexican Gauntlet Match in Story mode (Chapter 1).
Welcome to America (10 points):Defeat James Storm in Story mode (Chapter 2).
King of the Gauntlet (10 points):Win the Gauntlet Match in Story mode (Chapter 2).
Welcome to TNA! (15 points): DefeatRobert Roode in Story mode (Chapter 3).
Climbing the Ladder (15 points): Wintwo Tag Team matches in Story mode (Chapter 4).
5150 (20 points): Beat LAX in Storymode (Chapter 4).
It's About No Limits (20 points):Win three X Division matches in Story mode (Chapter 5).
He's Not Phenomenal (25 points):Defeat AJ Styles in Story mode (Chapter 5).
This Is Awesome! (30 points): Becomethe X Division Champion in Story mode (Chapter 5).
A Heavyweight Price (35 points): Winyour first Heavyweight match in Story mode (Chapter 6).
The Bigger They Are... (45 points):Defeat Kevin Nash in Story mode (Chapter 6).
Start Your Own Streak (55 points):Defeat Samoa Joe in Story mode (Chapter 6).
It's Damn Real! (75 points): DefeatKurt Angle in Story mode (Chapter 6).
The New King of TNA (100 points):Defeat Jeff Jarrett in Story mode (Chapter 6).
Send'em Home Happy (15 points):Perform a signature move to excite the crowd
Highspot Risktaker (40 points):Perform 50 aerial moves successfully.
Don't Fire Eric (20 points): DefeatRobert Roode with Eric Young
Return of The Icon (5 points): Playas Sting.
X Marks the Spot (15 points): Win anUltimate X match.
Detroit's Finest (25 points): Win aTag Team match using Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin.
Mid-Card Contender (25 points): Win25 matches in any mode.
He's on Fire!! (20 points): Createan all flame clothing theme.
Shark in the Water (50 points):Defeat every wrestler on the roster with Shark Boy.
Planet Jarrett (20 points): Playagainst a real life TNA wrestler or someone who has.
World Wide Wrestler (25 points):Play 25 ranked matches on Xbox Live.
Jobber Nation (0 points): Lose 5matches on Xbox Live in one sitting.
Underdog Wins (30 points): Defeatsomeone of TNA Champion status on any Leaderboard.
Best of the Best (100 points):Achieve TNA Champion status on any Leaderboard.
End of The Streak (35 points):Defeat Samoa Joe with Kurt Angle.
Cage Was Robbed (35 points): DefeatChristian Cage with Samoa Joe.
The Fallen Angel (35 points): DefeatSamoa Joe and AJ Styles with Christopher Daniels in an Ultimate X Match.
Ultimate X History Lesson (35points): Win 2 Ultimate X matches with AJ Styles.
Duckin' & Dodgin' (0 points):Congratulations on being the biggest wimp (in a normal exhibition match avoidyour opponent for more than a minute).
The original Mercenaries was released in 2005 and received a positive reception from gamers and critics alike. It proved to be more than just a GTA clone by allowing you to rain mass death on your target and destroy a virtual neighborhood. Now Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is now here to drop a bomb and the occasional turd in your lap.
While the first Mercenaries was short on story it made up for it by being at least unique. Your main goal was to capture the 52 (their faces were on a deck of cards) most powerful terrorist leaders Robocop style; “dead or alive you’re coming with me.” While doing this you’re supposed to keep up a balancing act between you and the various factions that employ you. Though it was not penned by Shakespeare it still led a person to lose a good amount of time and get caught up in it.
Mercenaries 2 on the other hand is a different story. It’s hard to really put into words because there isn’t much there. You raid some Venezuelan dudes house, blow up a tank in his living room, I guess try to capture him, escape and you get shot in the ass. I guess to seek vengeance for your ventilated glutes you decide to steal his house from him and run a private military corporation out of it. After this you have to recruit a helicopter pilot, mechanic and a jet pilot so that you can gain access to very much needed abilities.
After this you pretty much go on missions that include destroying everything in sight to driving crap from one persons base to another. It’s not really that much of a story; people will talk during the mission briefing, but it won’t matter since you get a nice synopsis of what to do after people are done jaw-jacking. Eventually it just devolves into something that you’ll cease to care about half way into the game.
Mercenaries 2 offer a lot of bang for your buck and by “bang” I’m talking about explosions. From beginning to end you really won’t go for a long amount of time without blowing something up. You start off with an air strike or two and you eventually lose that ability only to get it back about two hours later. The problem with this is that it never really ramps up it just seems to stay at the same pace throughout the whole game, the only difference is that the explosions get bigger.
In order to get access to bigger and better weapons you have to run missions for various factions. The only bad thing about this is that there are so many factions in this game. By getting in one persons favor you’ll become the enemy of someone else, which means you will be shot at. Sometimes it becomes so excessive that it seems like you never stop getting shot at. Sure you can bribe a faction to get off your back, but it costs money and with the amount of money it takes to bribe someone you could be using that money to buy some serious firepower.
While on this topic you get access to some really nifty toys. You have guns…plenty of guns actually, but the most impressive things are the vehicle drops and airstrikes. You pretty much go from assault rifles to rockets and grenade launchers. In regards to air strikes anything and everything is possible. Just when you think you got a big can of whoop ass at your fingertips, you eventually get something so big that it looks like the sun exploded. The level of weapon progression is something that I do enjoy, but there is definitely something lacking in Mercenaries 2.
That something in question is polish. This game needs the amount of polish that it takes to buff a basketball court two times over. One bug that I hated the most was that half of the population in the game seemed to be suicidal. If you drive anywhere near them they will just dart out in front of your car and proceed to get ran over, thus costing you money. There are a fair amount of bugs that don’t seem to rear their ugly heads in single player, but in co-op it’s entirely different. For starters any mission that requires you to drive a whole bunch of crap from one base to another will be a huge pain in the butt. For some odd reason the genius’ at Pandemic thought it would be cool to have you transport cargo using an open bed pickup. On top of this the shipment is not tied down so pretty much if you take a turn wrong or brake too hard say good bye to your cargo, and say hello to mission failure. Another problem is that computer controlled cars just love getting in your way sometimes. At times they will move out of your way, but if you really have to get somewhere they have no problem tying you up and blocking you. If this wasn’t bad enough you have to drive through enemy territory. Pretty much if you don’t get a mysterious rocket crammed up your ass by an attack helicopter that you didn’t know was there; you just might get taken out by a tank.
What makes Mercenaries 2 an extreme pain is the amount of pop-in. I’ve actually grown accustomed to this in games, but I have to ask why the hell are cars popping in? Nothing is more infuriating than failing a cargo run because you didn’t know that there was a car there. I actually drove over a car only to have the car becoming “there” in the game after I was already on top of it. Another big let down is that the enemy AI is so dumb that they wouldn’t even be able to pass a finger painting course.
It’s very possible to just melee every man you see. The only instances where this doesn’t work is when they have tank and rocket support. And while on the topic of rockets there is one thing you must know. If you see rocket troops in a building; do your best to level that building as fast as possible. This is because they will respawn until you run out of ammo or slit your wrists (which ever comes first).
After listing so many complaints I forgot to mention the little bit of new that is in this game. For starters you have to manage fuel now. You need fuel to call in airstrikes, weapon and vehicle drops as well. It’s not too much of a hassle because there’s a lot to go around because you can just hijack tons of it from people by calling for a resource collection. The only problem is that at times your chopper will get hung up on pieces of the environment (mainly low walls), which will lead to calling it in all over again.
Another nice addition is a regenerating health, which is nice because of the amount of infinitely respawning in house rocket troops you end up dealing with. The biggest addition is the grappling hook that allows you to hijack helicopters in mid air. Granted that this somewhat becomes a moot point when you get to call for one to get dropped at your feet later on in the game. Also early when you need one you don’t have the grappling hook either. I must admit though that it does help in a tight situation. This situation mainly happens to be when you have your helicopter dropped in hostile territory and the enemy steals your chopper (The AI is really just inconsistent). The only thing I really don’t like with the hijackings are the context sensitive actions. All they really do is take you out of the game and they feel unnatural to the game.
While Mercenaries 2 is a fun game it just feels entirely unfinished. It’s almost as if Pandemic worked on the game for about 10 months got sidetracked doing something more important (clipping their toe nails maybe) and just decided to release the alpha code.
The graphics themselves are pretty nice, but the animations are stiff. Within the last two years motion capturing and layered animations has been used to achieve phenomenal results (Heavenly Sword and Uncharted to name a few). It gives life to the characters making them seem like living people, blurring the line between man and machine, but the lack of it in Mercenaries 2 seems so old school. I don’t even mean “old school” in a bad way, but it gives Mercenaries 2 a very dated look.
The character models themselves have a nice amount of detail to them. Every one of them looks like they can snap a persons neck like a Slim Jim and they all tend to be bristling with ammo. The character that seems to have had the most work put into him was Mattias Nilsson. This is because there’s a lot of detail in his tattoos and he has the most elaborate Mohawk.
The real eye candy is the explosions. Blow up a fuel tank and watch the screen get bathed in yellow. The shockwaves look great and dust kicks up nicely from a huge explosion. Vehicles look nice as well; everything from a beat up junker to an attack chopper looks either appropriately cheap or destructive.
Once again the explosions are the showpiece because the music is understated. It eventually just becomes elevator music. It doesn’t excite you or divert your attention to it; it’s just there. The voice-overs are pretty good with Pete Stormare reprising his role as Mattias, Jennifer Hale is Jennifer Mui and Phil Lamarr is Chris Jacobs. Explosions are loud and booming as they rumble through your speakers. Half of the guns in the game sound the same and your character tends to repeat the same thing over and over again becoming irritating.
This comes in the form of co-op. While it can be a blast it doesn’t alleviate the fact that there isn’t that much to do. For starters it’s only 2-player co-op and when you join somebody else’s game you don’t have your weapons, airstrikes are supply drops. You just have some assault rifle and RPG. You can’t wreak havoc on the environment (costs money) and you always have to stay near your teammate. This really could’ve been a fun addition if they let you go nuts, but they didn’t.
Mercenaries 2 is fun if you just want to blow stuff up. You’re not going to get that much of a story and the game is definitely unpolished. If you’re the type of person that enjoys seeing things go boom then Mercenaries 2 is right up your alley.