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Although a lot of people weren't too keen on the first Assassins Creed due to its repetitive game play, I loved the game and ranked it in my top ten games. As you can probably guess with the second game, I couldn't wait to get stuck in again and due to all the tweaks made, enjoyed it even more.
You play as Ezio Auditore da Firenze and after witnessing most of his family murdered, he sets out on a quest of vengeance by taking out one enemy after another. Not much more can be said about the plot without giving too much away but compared to the first, there have been some huge improvements in depth with you learning more about locations, friends and foes and a lot of them are quite well known too. You seem to have more a reason to do something this time round compared to the last and everything just flows so much better story wise.
You play through 14 sequences with each requiring different objectives to be completed (quite like the optional side missions) related to the overall story and like with the first, each sequence ends with a target to assassinate. Not only do you have the main plot to complete but there are also plenty of side missions (which include races, fighting and mini assassination missions), puzzles involving glyphs dotted around Italy, upgrading your family manor, armour and weapons, collecting items dotted around Italy and plenty of secret locations to discover. Although you don't have to do any of this other then the main plot, the option is there and I must admit it adds quite a lot to the game.
If you're unsure the difference between the standard edition and this complete edition, basically you get access to two extra sequences (12 and 13) and three extra secret locations. Definitely worth getting this edition as it adds a couple more hours onto the game.
The graphics are amazing and the locations/buildings have been recreated beautifully. Sometimes certain parts don't look quite as good as others for example fire and facial animation but you hardly notice any of this and it only really shows how high the quality is of the rest of it.
The controls are fairly simple to get to grips with but then I played the first game on the PC with keyboard and mouse so I guess anything would. To put it simply though, the arrow buttons are for weapons selection and the shape buttons for combat with the shoulder buttons to add to each of these. Takes a few minutes to learn but once you've learnt it, you'll find the controls are set out quite well.
I ended up completing just under 90% achievement wise without really trying and this took me around the 37 hour mark which considering the genre of game Assassins Creed is, I found to be a very good length. Obviously depending on how much of a perfectionist you are though, you could be adding a few hours on for 100% or knocking a good amount of if you only want to play through the main mission.
Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, Assassins Creed 2 takes everything people felt as wrong with the first game and comes back bigger and better. The game is so huge there has to be something for everyone to enjoy no matter what you're in to. I can only look forward to loading up Brotherhood and seeing if Ubisoft have managed to create yet another masterpiece.
I picked Lunar: Silver Star Harmony up back when I was visiting the states last year due to the lack of release over here and I can't believe what a great game I would have missed if I hadn't.
Plot: You begin the game as Alex, his friend Luna and Alex's random pet cat thing called Nall. Alex has always dreamed of following in his towns heroes footsteps to become a dragonmaster and due to a visit to a cave one day, a series of events are set in motion.
You meet many people along the way. Some join you, some help you and some hinder you but the way the story is wrote, everything flows well especially considering it's a Japanese role-playing game (JRPG). It's not a complex plot by all means but there's certainly a lot that happens in it and you're always moving on the story one way or another.
Graphics: The detailed cut scenes are in a typical Japanese manga style while the shorter cut scenes and battles/map movement play out like a detailed PS2 game. Typical JRPG graphics really is the best way to sum it up and very beautiful to see play out no matter what you're watching.
Sound: The music that accompanies the game changes throughout matching the different areas that you visit. I find a lot of JRPGs can have quite repetitive music but I can't say the same goes for Lunar. Although it's not really the best way to describe sound but all I can say is that it's very pretty music.
In the manga cut scenes, I did find the characters voices a tad annoying. I hate the childish high pitched voices they have. Just doesn't seem to match the bravery portrayed in the rest of the game.
Game play: Lunar: Silver Star Harmony as I've mentioned is a JRPG and plays out no different to the majority of them. You have a map to go from place to place and then when entering an area, you have random enemies dotted around trying to enter battle with you. They can be avoided but you will never level up to where you need to be if you do this too much.
If you happen to either be caught or walk into an enemy, you enter into battle and these are played out like your typical turn based RPG. You choose all your moves at the beginning from the menus and then once you've chosen for all your characters, they use their moves and the enemy uses theirs on an invisible grid. Well I say grid but really it isn't one at all. You can move anywhere in the battle but you are limited by range as to how far you can go in one turn. For example, your warriors have a large range to move in and have great defense but are limited to swords where as your casters can't move around all that much and are easily hurt but have access to a huge list of spells to choose from that cause quite a bit of damage.
The skill is to know when to use the right move for the job and to know the weaknesses of the enemies presented to you. After defeating them, you then return to the previous area and carry on but this time with one less enemy drifting around on the screen.
Lifespan: Lunar: Silver Star Harmony took me around the 27 hour mark so quite a lengthy game and all of it is the main quests as there are no side quests to complete. However, I did find every chest and buy every item available to me so you could knock a couple of hours off of that time if you're not quite the completionist I am.
Overall: If you don't like JRPGs then this game isn't going to change your mind but if you do then you're in for a treat. I wasn't quite sure to expect when I bought this as I thought there must have been a reason if never made it over to the U.K but I can quite happily admit to being wrong. I think it has to be my favourite RPG of all time and I should think it stays that way for quite a while too.
Plot: Grand Theft Auto 3 is a mission based third person shooter with your goal being to rise from a nobody to a somebody. This is achieved by completing missions for various gangs be it the Italian Mafia to the Yakuzas.
Although there is a vague plot in there, it's much about taking each mission as it comes. They are linked but not by much compared to today's standards.
Not only are there the main missions to complete, but there are side missions and extra money making/time wasting elements to the game too. The side missions tend to be received by certain telephone boxes dotted around Liberty City and the money making can be made from vehicles such as taxis.
You can stick as much as you want to the missions or you can create almost your own story by simply going on a rampage and seeing how far you can get before the ambulance comes to collect your body or the police come to arrest you.
Graphics: Very dated now. I can see they were probably quite revolutionary for their time but nowadays the draw distance and detail of everything is quite poor and hasn't aged like some of the other games from its era.
Controls: Quite simple to pick up. You have your back bumpers for weapon selection and your shape buttons for actions such a jumping and shooting. Within minutes, I had learnt everything I needed to know.
Lifespan: Grand Theft Auto 3 took me just under 15 hours to complete which includes just the main missions but with a lot of deaths. With the side missions and general wandering around that you may like to do, could add an extra 5-10 hours.
Once you've done the missions, I doubt there would be a reason to want to play them again. It's just not that kind of game. But I could see some people keep going back for the rampaging you can do.
Overall: Although starting to show its age, GTA 3 is clearly a classic. While games after it have improved on what it had to offer, it's a game that many would say started the whole GTA phenomenon that's still going to this day.
When I first loaded up Spartan: Total Warrior, I felt that although fairly average, it was a good game to play to take a break from the more serious games out there. However, as time went on, everything became very stale and bland and there simply was not enough to make me want to keep playing.
Plot: You play an unnamed warrior simple called Spartan that sets out to save his civilization from the threat of the Romans. You must battle different armies while seeking out legendary weapons to help turn the tide. Eventually, once you're prepared, you will take on the Romans themselves in Rome and defeat the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
Although when playing, you can obviously see they aren't aiming to provide a realistic game, some of the ideas implemented really are terrible. For example using Medusa in a machine to suck her powers off her just doesn't fit with the setting at all. It's like they can't decide what they really want the game to be about.
Graphics: Quite poor. Although most areas are huge, the camera is scaled back so much just so you only notice the size of everything rather then the lack of detail applied to just about everything.
The main characters lack realism, the different enemies and allies of armies lack uniqueness and all your surrounding lack texture. Some may blame this on the console it's on but I've seen the PS2 produce much better.
Sound: Awful. Not only do the characters voices lack emotion but they hardly sound different to each other either. Another thing I found particularly annoying was the accents of the characters. The good guys have an American accent while the evil Romans have a really terrible English accent. Surely they can think of better villains then that?
Gameplay: Spartan: Total Warrior is a hack n slash game that lacks everything else that makes the likes of God of War great. No puzzling elements or a decent plot means that it's simply about killing everything in sight to get to the next objective to only have to do the same all over again.
At points in the game, you do get the option to say open gates or set fire to tents but this is all done with one button press and you're always told exactly where to go to do it. You have a group of warriors that accompany you on your journey and while supposedly there to help you fight, I found them more there to keep telling you what to do and herding you from one checkpoint to the next. Honestly, a three year old could follow the instruction of the game it's that simple.
Controls: Your usual hack n slash controls. You have buttons for stronger and weaker attacks as well as the option to use special powers for attacking too. Nothing different here that you wouldn't find elsewhere.
Overall: I had high hopes for a game created by the makers of the Total War series and with this game it fell far too short of them.
Bioshock isn't the kind of game I would usually choose to play. It looked too gory and too scary for my liking but no matter how I tried to avoid it, I couldn't help keep hearing how good it is. Considering the price has dropped significantly now, I couldn't help but feel there was no harm in giving it a go and I can happily say I was wrong to avoid such a great game.
Plot: Now Bioshock is a game that relies heavily on its plot to make it as good as it is therefore not much can be said without spoiling it but basically you play an anonymous person that knows nothing about himself. You journey through an art deco city under the sea called Rapture and as you progress more is revealed.
You not only find out more about yourself, but you find out about the city and the people running and living in the city which really adds to the whole experience. This is usually done by finding recorded radio transmissions dotted around the city. Not compulsory but the experience wouldn't be the same without listening to them.
Graphics: Really quite spectacular. The water effects are amazing and everything looks so realistic. Although graphics have slightly moved on since Bioshock was created, there really isn't that much difference between a game of this year and Bioshock.
Gameplay: Bioshock is a story driven first person shooter (FPS) where you use not only guns but plasmids (which are like certain super powers within your body) to work your way through the game.
Controls: You can use the default controls or configure your own. Although I configured my own, they were really easy to pick up and although different things are introduced throughout, nothing is ever rushed giving you time to get to grips with everything.
Lifespan: Bioshock took me around 15 hours to complete. It really isn't that long if you just stick to the missions given you but I found the city of Rapture so interesting that I felt compelled to explore every room so I could learn everything possible about the city I was in.
Overall: If like me, you're put off by the same things mentioned in the introduction, don't be. Yes there is some blood and gore but not enough to be off-putting and the plot is so great that you won't even notice whizzing past the corpses scattered around the floor.
If it had of been a simple shooter, the different weapons and plasmids you have access to would have been enough to of made it a good game but adding in the plot too, makes it one of the best FPSs I've ever played.
Plot: Although the plot doesn't play a major part of the game, it does push it on slowly. Basically you have your personal quests and then your job quests. Your personal quests are linked to the plot and the job quests are more for simply making money or to waste a couple of days until the next chapter of the plot appears.
How you complete these quests is what makes Adventures to Go differ from most fantasy games. Although you do become the hero at the end of the game that saves the world, most of the game involves you summoning dungeons and choosing the enemies you want to populate it. It sounds a simple idea and to be honest it is but there can be so much fun had out of it. You need to find a unicorn horn? Then it's best to order plains as the area you want and magical beasts for the enemies. Although the game never leaves you lost at what to do next for too long, it's nice after trying a mixture to finally see the enemy you're after and getting the drop you've been waiting for.
Graphics: Although not the best I've seen the PSP produce, they aren't too bad. Although the dungeons are fairly basic the characters and enemies are fairly detailed when playing and when watching cut scenes you have your typical Japanese manga style characters.
Sound: Worth turning off to be honest. The characters have no voice and the same music at any stage in the game, be it dungeon crawling or cut scenes, has the same annoying monotonous music throughout.
Controls: Like with most turn based role-playing games, it's all about the menu selections so once you know your way around the menus; you pretty much know how to work the game.
Lifespan: Adventures to Go took me around 37 hours and that's including the main quest and nearly all of the side quests. I only stopped with the side quests due to them beginning to repeat themselves. They always asked for me to retrieve a different item but it was basically off the same enemy but with a different name towards the end.
Overall: Unfortunately, once you've played Adventures to Go, there's nothing to make you load it up again. It's one of those games that while you're playing it, it's enjoyable but once it's done, you probably aren't going to remember too much about it in the future.
I played Marvel: Ultimate Alliance a while back and after discovering this game afterwards and finding out they were supposed to be similar, was very excited to get playing it. How I wish I'd stayed away. After three hours, I decided enough was enough and had to switch it off.
Plot: Magneto has a plan to give mutants the power to reign supreme over humans. By choosing a team of X-Men, you are then tasked with putting a stop to his world domination and prevent the human population being enslaved.
Graphics: Quite poor. Although when actually playing the game, everything looked alright if a little basic, when switching to cut scenes, they were dreadful. The X-Men had oven mitts for hands and around every character were huge black lines giving everything a blurry effect.
I found the art direction a little confused at times too. Sometimes when being shown a setting, the graphics would switch from a cell shaded effect to a realistic one and then back again like they weren't really sure what to do.
Sound: You have your usual catchphrases delivered by the different X-Men while selecting or fighting. Some of them are spot on while others sound like they could be anymore. Not consistent.
Game play: X-Men Legends is an action role playing (RPG) game. You choose four members out of a selection of X-Men and then head off onto your mission. However, at each save point (called an extraction point) you can switch members in and out as well as resurrect any that have happened to of died along the way.
Throughout the game, as you kill enemies and complete objectives, you get experience points which cause you to level up every now and again. When levelling up, you are given skill points which can be used to either level attributes up or skills. If you're not sure where to put your new points, there's always the auto button that can help choose the places for you.
As you play through the game, different items are dropped for you to equip. Although they don't show up on your X-Men while playing, they give a boost to your stats. There are some famous items to be found too.
Once you've selected you X-Men and started the mission, you control only one of them but have the other three being controlled by the game. You can switch any time between the different characters and the ones you're not using can have their aggression levels, when they decide to use health packs and what move to use set to your liking.
Although all this sounds great, it would be if the game didn't do such a shoddy job of playing along with you. Now I don't mind dieing when it's my fault and there's something to be learnt from the mistake but when you team mates are intent on jumping down a chasm whenever they see one, it begins to become a little on the frustrating side. Not only do they enjoy jumping to their death, but they like running at it too. Now if a beam of poison is being shot at you and there's a chance to run either side of it, where do you run? If your one of the games players the answer is straight down the middle. Shoddy programming in my eyes.
Controls: Fairly simple to pick up. The bumpers are used for the likes of health and energy packs and directing your team mates while the arrow keys are used for selecting your team member and the shapes for different moves.
Overall: When playing X-Men, I kept wondering if I would have felt differently about playing if I had of played this before Ultimate Alliance but I think that even then, this game wouldn't have been saved from the amount of problems it has.
If you really enjoy comic book games then head over to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Ultimate Alliance takes this game and tweaks everything to produce what X-Men should have been.
Plot: You play as Lt. Jimmy Patterson and the year is 1944. With nothing like starting you off in the deep end, you begin the game storming Normandy beach. If you manage to survive this, you then go on to playing a huge part of Operation Market Garden which includes seizing the Nijmegen Bridge, sabotaging German U-Boats and stowing away on a speeding armoured train to name a few.
There are six missions with each mission split in to a few segments. Before each segment you're given a written briefing on how to go about achieving your segment and before and after each whole mission, you're shown a black and white film of the current happenings in the war. It makes you feel just like a soldier.
Graphics: The graphics like most PS2 nowadays are starting to show their age. The environments and people lack both texture and detail although it's still a very good looking game for its age.
Sound: With sound to accompany each mission, it feels just like a movie. The big epic scores while working your way through lines of Nazis sets the mood just right.
One thing that may sound strange is the Germans actually speak German. What I mean by that is you haven't got some guy speaking English with a German accent just so you understand what he's saying. A soldier will shout the odd word of abuse in broken English but otherwise just like the real thing you can't understand a word as they talk among themselves.
Game play: This was my first console first person shooter (FPS) so it took me a while to get used to the controls but even then some of the AI of the soldiers was shocking. It changes with difficulty level but they still don't move around like a soldier would. They will watch their comrades get shot without reacting or quite a few decided to hide behind lamp posts only to be shot to bits by myself without reacting and yet when fell to the floor dead, jumped up straight away like it never happening. None of these are game ruining problems but it spoils the immersion.
Controls: There are two controller settings to choose from. There's the MOH sharpshooter who uses the two analogue sticks or there is the option to play it with the original PS1 controls.
Lifespan: Frontline took me just under 12 hours. As I mentioned earlier in the review, this was my first FPS on a console so my performance wasn't very good. If you're used to playing these games, I'm guessing you could get it round to the 8-9 hour mark.
Although you can attempt to get a gold star on each mission by killing everyone on the mission, there's no other replayability to Frontline. Unless you want to play through it again, once it's done it's done.
Overall: A decent first person shooter. Not amazing but good enough to give a shot (no pun intended). Be prepared to start at the start of each mission segment each time you die though no matter how far you're through the mission. War shows no mercy.
If you're looking for the same game like the two film tie ins then you're looking in the wrong place. Like many reviewers who have bought this game thinking that, you may be disappointed. I actually prefer strategy RPGs over the usual hack n slash but it seems most don't.
Plot: You play through the three films but rather then being the fellowship itself, you are part of a different group who is always one step behind. This group consists of a dwarf, elf, dunedain ranger and three humans. Each character has its own weaknesses and strengths as well as abilities and it's up to you to find out when best to use each of them.
Although the game mainly follows the plot of the films, with clips from them being shown at intervals throughout the game, there is a tale going on between your own fellowship. I don't really want to say much about it incase of spoilers but it's a nice addition to an already well known story.
There are parts that tie in well with the film though. One good example I can think of is the part in the film where one of the hobbits accidentally pushes a skeleton down a well only to be told off by Gandalf. You are actually at the bottom of that well at that moment in time and have the skeleton hit the floor next to your feet followed by the voice of Gandalf reprimanding the hobbit. Its little touches like that that make you feel like you're really part of it all.
Graphics: Like most PS2 games nowadays, this one is beginning to show its age. Although for the time, your fellowship looks just like the people from areas they are from, the proper fellowship looks just like the actors and surrounding you when travelling and fighting are some epic scenery straight out of the film.
Game play: When fighting, the game plays out the same as the likes of Final Fantasy. Three of your characters get given a chance every so often and then you have to select an ability from the menu to use. It sounds boring and basic which I suppose if you're not a fan of the genre you will but it actually gets quite fun and involves a bit of thinking every now and again. Get the timing wrong and you'll be seeing the game over screen often. Although you only have the chance to play with three characters at one given time, all of these can be swapped out any point for another one of your characters. Certain set ups will obviously work better then others in some cases.
When exploring, you will only see Berethor (your main character) who you can use to open chests and access save points. This part of the game is played in real time although there is always a timer going on in the background counting down to your next fight. Sometimes you just have a fight sprung on you but this isn't often. The timer just adds that little more suspense making you realise time is of the essence. Do you want to attempt to get that chest and risk another fight? Or are you close to death and think it's not worth it? The decision is yours.
From the fighting parts of the game, you get experience points which over time level you up. Each time you level, you are able to add a couple of points to your attributes shaping the way you want your warrior to play. Each level your character gets some attribute points added to their attributes anyway but it's nice to be able to add some to them too.
As well as the character levelling, you also have skill levelling. You keep healing, you'll gradually have access to more healing spells and if you keep attacking you'll get access to even more fighting skills. You get to choose out of a selection of skills which one you want to work towards too so there's some choice to be had.
Obviously like with most RPGs, loot plays a part in the game. This can be obtained from either chests dotted around in exploring mode or drops from the enemies you defeat. You have the chance to get weapons, armour or potions/herbs. Not all are as useful as others but it's up to you to decide that.
Lifespan: This game took me around the 25 hour mark doing each act to 100% completion. A decent length of a game I feel. Not too long to not get stuck into but too short to get too bored. Considering I did no forced levelling, the game really was 25 hours worth of content with plot progression throughout.
Overall: Although some people may be put off by the fact it's not a hack n slash, I felt it was a nice change to other Lord of the Rings games out there. It's not a hugely difficult game within the genre but it's an enjoyable enough game to play and great for newcomers wanting to get into the genre. It does get a little harder towards the last act but by then you should be more then prepared to face whatever is thrown at you.
Rock Band: Unplugged is the PSPs way of getting a little bit of the music genre action.
Plot: You create a band and tour with them all around the world playing songs to unlock more and to become a legend in the business.
The band you tour with is completely created by you. You choose the name of the band, the name of your members, what sex they are and how you want them to look be it clothes or the instruments they play. As you progress through the career and earn money, more items can be bought to unlock even more for your band to use.
Graphics: Although the band members you create and the stages that you play at are well done, as Rock Band requires you to always be staring at the notes coming down the screen, it's hard to take anything else in.
Sound: There are 41 songs overall included within the game with a good range of eras too and all are sung by the actual artists as you play along.
Gameplay: Rather then playing one instrument like on the bigger consoles, you play as the whole band having to switch between all the band members constantly to keep the music playing. If you mess up then that instrument cuts out and you will hear the song minus that. Really nice touch I thought and added an extra level of realism to it.
Controls: You move between instruments by pressing the shoulder buttons and to hit the notes, you press a mixture of shape and directional buttons. All the controls can be customized to how you prefer to play though although I found the default layout worked the best.
Lifespan: Rock Band can last as long as you want it to really. You can try and five star all the songs, unlock all the items and try out the different difficulties or you can just play through the career till you become a legend.
There's also the option to download even more songs online but at a price.
It's one of those games that can be picked up and played wherever and whenever no matter how long the gap is between each play.
Overall: Although I wouldn't say Unplugged is as good as the ones on the bigger consoles, it's made the transition to the PSP very well and even brings a little more to the table too.
I did find I couldn't stick with the game for very long when I played it, as it's very repetitive but it was great to play through in small doses with a song here and there.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Majesty. It looked like a great new direction for your bog standard fantasy RTS but the graphics put me off a little and as I'm not a huge fan of the RTS genre I was worried it might be a bit complicated to learn. Wish I'd of played it sooner now as I was completely wrong.
Plot: You play through different unrelated levels with each one having an objective to complete. The can range from surviving waves of enemies to accumulating a certain amount of gold. Basically a good range of missions you can work your way through.
Each time you start a mission, you get a briefing of the scenario and then as you can guess, you begin the mission to sort it out although rather then being the hero that saves the day, you're the monarchy that rules them instead. You need to build your kingdom to accommodate different heroes for them to carry out your tasks. For example, you need to build and upgrade your blacksmith for the heroes to be able to buy and upgrade their weapons, a market so they can go and buy healing potion for their quests and the list just goes on.
Graphics: The graphics are a little dated now. If you've played Diablo 2 before, you will find the same kind of graphics in Majesty. Not the prettiest but it's still fairly easy to work out what's happening within the game and once the game works its charm and sucks you in, you won't even notice them at all.
Sound: The sound I would say is above average for its time. Some nice music accompanying your missions and the random shouts of death by your heroes or enemies really adds to it all.
Gameplay: Majesty is a real time strategy (RTS) with role-playing elements to it.
To complete the game, there are a handful of beginner, advanced and expert missions to work through. A couple of the missions may require you to restart them sometimes but most of them can be completed fairly easily other then the nightmare that is the last level. Just a warning for the unprepared!
Lifespan: Majesty took me around the 13 hour mark which includes the few restarts I needed to do on missions.
Apparently there is also the option to download two extra missions online too although I didn't do so myself.
Overall: If like me, you are put off by the same things I mentioned in the introduction, then don't be. It really is a gem of a game that not too many people seem to know about.
I've been meaning to play a Bond game for a while now and decided to pick this as my first. Now although it doesn't do much particularly wrong, there's not really anything that stands out either. You have your set pieces, your explosions and your fast paced driving but everything that is done just blends into one. Although I enjoyed it enough to finish it, there wasn't really anything that made me go wow no matter how much it tried.
Plot: You play through 10 linked missions as James Bond with the end goal being to defeat the head of a rising terrorist organisation called Malgrave.
Graphics: Although not terrible, they are starting to show their age. Everything has that blurry edge to it compared to the crisp visuals of modern consoles.
Sounds: Well the guns sound great. That may sound silly but I've known plenty of games where the guns sounds quite tinny when fired but Agent Under Fire seems to get it just right.
Gameplay: Agent Under Fire is a first person shooter and like mentioned in the introduction, comes with driving missions too. Nothing new here to add to the genre but doesn't do too bad a job of combining everything.
Controls: The controls took a little getting used to I must admit. The shooting from a vehicle and driving sections aren't too hard to pick up as they tend to stick to the same controls as most similar games but the foot missions took me a while. You have buttons for gadgets, buttons for weapons as well as your usual jumping, shooting, crouching etc. Nothing too wrong with them but not the best layout has been chosen for them.
One thing I found particularly stood out and not in a good way either was the aiming of guns. Your firing line would keep finding the enemy so you didn't have to try and aim yourself. Now this was fine when you were struggling to get the enemy lined up but quite a few times it was quite a hindrance. When an enemy comes running at you or hides behind a crate, it disorientates the line and makes it harder to kill the guy then it actually is.
You can manual aim instead but it then means yet another button you need to press and even at times when I had the enemy lined up exactly, I kept missing.
For a game that relies so heavily on shooting, I thought they would have made a better job of it then they did.
Lifespan: Agent Under Fire took me just under 5 hours to complete which for me is definitely on the short side.
There is some replay ability for the hardcore as there's the option to try and better your score for each mission but for the average guy, there's nothing to make you go back.
Overall: If you can't think of a game to play next (which I doubt) then by all means I would say to give it a go but there are so many games out there that are so much better then this from the same genre that this could easily be disregarded.
I decided to give this game a go after hearing about the new direction the developers were trying to take. To be honest it was a pretty good first try too.
Plot: Fahrenheit begins with you killing someone in a restaurants toilet room. After killing the guy, you wake up from a trance like state looking down and seeing what you've just committed. You have no memory of why you've just murdered someone, all you know is you've woke up on top of a dead person and it's up to you to try and find out why.
Not only do you play as the murderer, you also play as the two police officers hunting him down. This gives a good overall view of the situation.
As Fahrenheit is such a story driven game, I'm afraid I can't say much else without spoiling it although I will say that after such a great beginning half, the plot does begin to crumble. The brilliance of it all was still there but hidden by such huge plot holes in the game.
Graphics: The graphics are starting to show their age now and Fahrenheit is definitely not one of the hardware pushing games out there. However, they do their job well enough and don't affect the game too much but I can't help but feel things like expressions and emotions would have been better if they had of been clearer to see.
Controls: I felt the section let the game down a bit. They are supposed to be designed to give you a feeling of immersion within the game but I feel that if anything they only distance you further from it.
The pulling of a trigger to open and close doors worked well but when you keep getting given a constant stream of QTEs (quick time events) at times, it is more frustrating then anything. Occasionally they fitted with the events on screen but most of the time it felt like they were only put in to give the player something to do while watching a sequence.
Lifespan: Fahrenheit took me just under 8 hours, which I thought was a bit on the short side. However, I think if they had of lengthened the plot, the plot holes would only of got bigger or more of them created.
Overall: Considering it's a new genre to try to create, I think they did a good first job especially with the first half of the game. If they just tweak a couple of things, it will improve the next game on their list immensely.
I played Chains of Olympus a while back on the PSP and I have to say I wasn't that impressed. The amount of praise I heard about the series didn't add up with what I received. So I sold it on and wrote off the God of War series. Well, that is until I picked up the first one in a PS2 game bundle I got off Ebay. I thought about selling it on but seeing I already had it, there was no harm in giving the series one last go and boy was I glad I did.
Plot: I don't want to give away too much here but basically you play as Kratos a Spartan who is at his wits end. You're about to throw yourself a mountain to end it all due to your problems with the gods.
The game then rewinds a few weeks before and you work your way through the game finding out why you were there, for what reason and any other questions you may be thinking.
The whole plot is done very well. Rather then being bombarded with the lore and reasons of the game, you're instead drip fed through out making you want to push through the game even more.
Graphics: Pretty good. Not the best I've seen the PS2 produce but not far off especially considering where it fitted in the life cycle of the machine.
You can see where the smoke and mirrors have been placed to make it feel as epic as possible but I don't blame the developers for doing so as it only adds to the whole experience and without it, you wouldn't have the same great game.
Gameplay: God of War is a hack n slash action game. It's all about the combos which for once in a game aren't too hard to pick up. There are some satisfying moves to learn if you're that way inclined but if like me, you're not too great at the genre; there are plenty of simpler combos to get by on.
Although fighting is the main feature of the game, you've also got some great puzzling parts thrown in too breaking it up quite nicely.
Controls: Quite simple. Left analogue stick for movement, right for rolling/dodging, arrow buttons for different god gifts you receive throughout the game, shape buttons for attacking/jumping and the bumpers for everything in between.
Reading that back, that does actually sound quite complicated but I can assure you it's not. I picked them up really quickly as when playing, the layout makes perfect sense and you end up hitting the buttons naturally.
Lifespan: God of War too me just over 10 hours so about the average length from a game from its genre.
Once you've completed the game, there are options to play it on a different difficulty level or complete a set of challenges separate from the game itself. None of this adds a huge amount of replay ability but I guess it's better then nothing.
Overall: I'm glad I took the time to give the series one more chance and it's made me think twice about doing the same with other games. Who knows I may even go back and give Chains of Olympus a try.
If you're looking for a deep and involving role-playing game (RPG) for the PSP then look no further. It has a great battle system, a complex crafting system and plenty of looting too.
Plot: Blade Dancer is set in the world of Lunadia, a place that was home to a fierce battle in the past between the evil demon lord and the guardian of light.
Fast forward to the present day and you play a young warrior called Lance who is closely entwined with the past. It's your job to find out why while meeting other party members along the way.
The plot summary may sound vague because in truth, it's like that when playing. It lacks depth as you're only told the basics and is overall quite childish. I'm not sure what the developers were thinking when they though the plot up as rather then feeling like a continuous story, it feels more like different members of the team coming up with ideas but yet not being able to find a way to fit them all together so just stuck them in and hoped for the best.
I know a story isn't everything in a game but for a RPG I usually find it one of the more important points. It does look like they've tried to make one but failed to hire a decent writer.
Graphics: The graphics are pretty good. Not the best I've seen the PSP produce but better then most. The game is like one large corridor with different exits but with the scenery they put around you when playing does a fairly decent job of helping you to forget.
Sound: The sound, hmm the sound. Well it's typical of a Japanese game. Annoying voices and random shouting does begin to grate after a while.
Gameplay: The battle system is done in real time with a clock ticking round after every move. When it reaches the top again you're allowed to cast another spell or attack which is done by selecting different spells from a menu. A fairly simple idea but I thought it was great. Considering you had to time your spells against the enemies attacks made it quite tactical at times and meaning all the difference from them being killed or you.
As far as crafting goes, you have to either buy ingredients or get certain ingredients from enemy drops. You then have to combine different ingredients to create anything from potions to weapons.
Different characters are better at crafting different items so if you want a better crafting rate, it's usually best to get the right person for the job. Take Lance for example, he's aligned with the fire element which is the element used to make swords so if you need one making, pick him.
Not only does the character matter, but different moons can affect your crafting too. There are different moons in the world of Lunadia (you can see where the name comes from now) and each can affect your craft rate as well as the option of giving you the chance to create something really rare.
There's always the chance of failing with each craft making you lose one of your ingredients. This can be easily resolved by saving before each craft but it does get pretty annoying when you have to keep restarting the game as an important rare ingredient is involved in the creation.
Lifespan: Blade Dancer took me just over 35 hours which included pretty much all the side quests and a lot of gear crafting.
Overall: I only gave Blade Dancer 3 stars due to the annoying story and the amount of running around involved in the game. It suits open world RPGs but when you have to go through loading scene after loading scene when running through the areas, it does begin to get quite annoying. If the battle system hadn't of been so much fun then it may have even got a 2.
If you're a big fan of Japanese RPGs (JRPGs) then you're probably going to still enjoy this but if not then there's nothing here that's going to make you change your mind.