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Difficulty: Very easy.
Learning Curve: Around 10 minutes.
A few years ago, developer KOEI (of Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors) was going through a phase to try and bring out new "Warriors" games, slapping on a new design and look to the games, but generally the same basic gameplay mechanics. Now, comes a sequel to one of those games, known as Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2.
Sticking to what they do best, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 doesn't offer anything different to any other "Warriors" game. The gameplay is identical to the prior game, where you simply string together a few combos to destroy the numerous enemies on the field. Yes that's right, that's all you do.
Though, something KOEI has also gotten into the swing of doing, there is a variety of new game modes for you to play in; the main one being Mission Mode. In Mission Mode, you choose one of the various characters from the many Gundam series universes and go through a large set of different missions, allowing you to level up, find new bits and parts to upgrade your gundams and grow relationships between other pilots throughout the game's universe. The main fault to this is, the missions do not vary when you play through with different characters, each character only gets 4-5 unique missions, and all the rest are the usual generic ones that are shared between the whole cast.
Another new addition is versus mode, which allows two people to face off against each other, or for a first time for KOEI, you can go head to head online with up to 3 other people and face off in a handful of different modes. As usual though, you will still have the very beneficial co-op, which allows you to play battles with a second person, but still there is no online co-op option yet, which is a big shame with today's technology, there is no excuse. The game still offers its usual set story-line for a specific amount of characters in their Official Mode, where you will have the usual offering of cut-scenes, battles and crude dialogue between characters based on their actual relations from the anime series.
There are some new additions to the battles, well, mainly there is a new specific unit you can now fight a giant robot on the battlefield. These giant robots are normally presented as a kind of "boss" of the level and can be extremely tough to take down if you just go in there guns blazing. But if you know the tricks of the trade, which you'll learn very early on, they are way too easy to take down and defeat, though it still looks fairly cool doing so in the process. The main problem however, is when you are facing one of these robots, the camera locks into a position and focuses on the giant robot, while disallowing you to see the 100's of gundams surrounding you during the fight. This is a major flaw as it distorts your fighting, and you can receive some very cheap hits because of it.
Gameplay - 5/10
Nothing special here, you won't see anything different from all other "Warriors" games, but with the new giant robot it brings a slight new look at how the game is played out. But with there being nothing new to the gameplay's core, it just ends up being another disappointment in KOEI's game catalogue.
Design - 6/10
The artworks are very good and true to the anime series, however the game graphics really lets this game down. With today's technology in the current gen consoles, you expect decent textures, detailed environments and smooth frame rates, but as usual, the game offers rough textures, awful looking environments, plastic looking character models and dodgy frame rates that can't keep up with the amount of action going on at the screen.
Sound - 6/10
The voice cast did a fairly impressive job here. They certainly suit the characters personalities. Though too many lines get repeated far too often during battles, which start to get very repetitive. The background music isn't too bad, there are some good moments which make the battles seem epic, but nothing really above average here. The sound effects are all in place here too.
Value - 6/10
There is a lot you can do in this game, there is defiantly several hours of gameplay and story to get through, but the gameplay is so repetitive that you won't want to keep playing through the same thing over and over again to see more of the same. The online mode adds a bit to the replay value, but with hardly anyone playing it, and the lack of modes, it certainly is not anything to draw you back for another session.
Overall - 5.8/10
The repetitive gameplay and lacklustre design, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 most defiantly doesn't stand out of the pack. But if you're after some mindless mech-fighting, and aren't bothered by the repetitive "Warriors" gameplay, then this will defiantly be for you.
Learning Curve: Around 10 minutes.
During the time when Microsoft was porting many console games to PC, Jade Empire was no exception. Jade Empire is an RPG from the creators of such epics as Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights; Bioware. Set in the prosperous East, you begin an epic journey of martial arts mastery that will take you through several beautiful environments to peaceful villages hidden away to bustling cities of the Jade Empire.
From the get go, you have a variety of characters you can choose from, be it male or female, and with the inclusion of the PC version, you also have access to a new character, which was only priorly availible for Jade Empire Special Edition on the XBOX. Once you have chosen your character, you will then be able to give him/her a name, as well as that, you will be able to distribute a set amount of stats between three distinct character developments. You have Health, then Chi (magic) and Focus (skill), each prooving to be a valuable asset towards what you wish your character to be a master of. Health naturally increases the amount of damage you can take before dieing, while Chi enables you to heal yourself more, or have the ability to conjour up magic with your bare hands, while Focus is more for skill, allowing you to enter a slow motion "god mode" for so long allowing you to damage all enemies around you in super quick speed, and also allows you to wield weapons in combat for a longer length of time.
Now that you have your character all kitted out, you are thrown into the emersive storyline, where you are a student under the aptly named Master Li. You have excelled at every department of your training, and have become his star pupil, and have been fortold that your destiny lies more then just a simple student. You are able to master several different martial arts, being it Legendary Strike, A Thousand Cuts, or even mastery of a weapon/magic, which you'll be able to unleash all this on several different types of enemies throughout your long journey.
While playing, you will come accross a variety of characters that will join you on your journey, all haveing their own unique bonus to helping you. However you are only allowed to have one companion with you at any time, you are able to switch between them whenever you like. You also have the option to bringing them in as a combatant where they'll activly attack enemies, or bring them on as a support character, which will then aid you on the side-lines, be it healing you, giving you attack bonuses, or charging up you Chi bar. Some characters can only be brought on as support characters, however these are normally those that give you more of a special boost in that department then those that can perform in combat also.
During the game, you are able to interact with pretty much everyone, and majority have a voice to boot. As a pretty big part of how the game plays, you are given options on how to respond to people, and how you respond is more of how your character changes. There are two main keys to the game, you being good, or evil, and the actions you perform dictate which side you induldge in more, opening up new forms of combat and how your companions like you.
Sometimes, when talking with others, you will have special talking options, allowing you to possibly get more out of it then you originally would. These areas are either under Intimidation, Intuition or Charm. These are your linguistic skills that you can increase via items and stat upgrades. The higher you are in one area, the more likely you will succeed, however sometimes it will come at the cost of being more evil or more good.
As you play through, you'll notice the more enemies you kill, the more experience you'll get, and that talking with people can reap you benefits in experience and/or silver (the games currency). With experience, allows you to level up, and once you have levelled up, you will be given a set amount of stat points to add to your characters health, chi or focus, as well as action points which can be spent on improving your characters fighting styles. It isn't very in-depth, but it does give you the feeling that you have the choice of how your character is developed and played out. Also as you travel through the land of Jade Empire, you will come accross scroll stands which when read, will gain you even more experience.
On the other part, when you receive silver, you can spend them on a variety of items such as magical stones that can increase stats, powers and your linguistic skills. You can even buy new weapons later on in the game, opening up a new variety of combat options for you.
Gameplay - 8/10
The combat of the game is very simplistic, which for those looking for something more in-depth and complicated, will most likely find rather boring and repetitive, however for those diehard rpg fans or those casual gamers, this will be more for you. You have on key to attack, then another key to perform a heavy attack (allowing you to breakthough blocks), one key to block yourself and another to enter focus mode. You will then have keys to allow you to choose from up to 10 different fighting styles that you have equipped (6 more then the XBOX version) for quick changes in strategy allowing you to get a jump on your enemies. Unfortunatly you arn't able to combine fighting styles together in combo's, however the combat is meant to be very simplistic.
Design - 8/10
This being a newer version for the PC, the graphics have been enhanced graphically, and higher resolutions. This has been a big bonus for the game, as the beautiful, lush environments and detailed characters make your mouth drop in awe. However, the downfall to this is, it makes the FMV's (Full Motion Video) scenes that were not updated look very poor, which has changed the balance the other way around to what the XBOX version of the game offered.
Sound - 7/10
Jade Empire offers a very good soundtrack, that allows you to emerse yourself even more into the game, however the PC version has a let down where certain sound effects are missing in places with a few other technical sounds problems. The voice acting is pretty decent on the other hand.
Value - 9/10
With the game coming to around 20 hours in length, and the variety of ways you can play through, this game will give you plenty of replay value, especially with the "New game+" option after you complete, allowing you to start the game again with your prior character with stats and items all intact. With the gameplay getting shockingly addictive to those who keep at it and the story never getting tireing, you'll be able to play through this game several times, offering a wide variety of ways of how your character turns out.
The PC version also comes with a steel case, an artbook and a 18"x24" poster, which just adds to the reason to go for it.
Overall - 8.5/10
The great storyline, the addictive simplistic combat, and the lush visuals really make this a worthy purchase for all gamers, however with the non-exsistant FMV update, and the sound issues, this game couldn't become as good as it could of been.
Learning Curve: Around 10 minutes
Being a big fan of Lionhead Studios, the creators of such games as Fable and Black and White, I had very high hopes for their "Revolutionary" sequel to their Fable franchise, Fable 2. Upon playing said game however, you cannot but help to be disappointed at how it eventually turned out. With Lionhead Studio's first appearance on the current generation of consoles, you would hope for something great to come out of this.
Unlike its predecessor, Fable 2 is set 500 years into the future from the time of the first game, where the age of heroes has past, and the rise of economic depression, ravaging bandits, and royalty control the land of Albion. When you play this, Albion (the land of Fable 2) will not seem anything like the first Fable, it has increased far in size, and has become open world (no set routes or restrictions for this game!).
You start off by choosing what gender you want, be it male or female. Then you play the life of a child, an orphan, that lives on the streets and tries hard to make ends meat. You are given several mini-quests to do at this point so you can gain enough gold to buy a magical music box which is rumoured to grant the wish of the user, so you will be asked to run around finding warrants, posing for a picture, delivering secret love letters and more. During these, there will be several moral decisions to show your "good" nature, or your "evil" nature, and by what you choose, is how you'll become, then before you know it, you will come across your first major moral choice, which dictates how the world will be when you finally grow up.
The game offers a variety of ways you can play, you can become a swordsmen, which you focus more on hand to hand combat, or you can be a marksmen, where you focus more on gun fighting, or a will user, who, inevitably focuses on the art of black magic. Nevertheless, you are not restricted to just using one, you can switch (and in some instances, recommended) between close combat, shooting and will using in an instant. As you kill your enemies, from bandits to the walking dead, you will gain experience. For each kill you make, you gain general experience, plus bonus experience for the specific class you killed that enemy in. For instance, if you shot down a bandit, you would gain experience to spend on marksmen skills, as well as general experience which can be spent on any of the three classes, and like-wise if you kill with close combat or will.
You will also have the opportunity to play with a fellow friend, offline or online. This has been implemented rather well, where your co-op buddy appears instantly in your world of Albion; however he/she is forced to become a generic mercenary that is restricted to specific equipment and items.
One of the more fun features in Fable 2 is the expression feature which allows you (or a friend) to perform a large amount of expressions to interact with the world of Albion. Your expressions can be neutral, good or even evil, so choose wisely how you want to interact, as the world reacts to your actions.
Throughout the game, you will be riddled with moral choices and quests, you will be able to buy new clothes to change you look, new hair styles, get a tattoo or two, even have make-up (even if a man) and facial hair (even if a women). You will even be able to get a job, to earn money so you can buy the equipment you want, or go to a further extent to use said money to buy houses, shops, stands, or anything the eye can see. Be sure to invest your money into something early on, so you can build up your empire and end up buying all of Albion! One of the better things about this game, is that you can start a family, get married, and have a child, when the game actually allows this to happen properly, it is very rewarding, but with the numerous glitches and bugs, it normally ends up being a disappointment when your wife/husband magically disappears and your child becomes a lifeless figure.
There are many technical issues with Fable 2, which is its biggest let down (other then the game being extremely easy, with little-to-no repercussions if you were to get killed). These issues can be minor, or they can lead to make it so you have to start the entire game from scratch again, they are really widely varied, but there are many of them, which can really bring down the enjoyment factor and the true purpose of what this game can offer.
Gameplay - 7/10
It is extremely fun to fight enemies, but it does end up getting very repetitive after a while, as each attack relies upon one button each. X for close combat, Y for shooting, and B for Will, and requires little-to-no skill to defeat swarms of enemies. Being able to do practically anything you want in the vast world is a big plus on the other hand.
Design - 7/10
The graphics have a very, cartoon look to it. There isn't much detail to be found here, with its very smooth look, and not being sharp enough to show how it really could be. Though this is the look of the Fable world, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Sound - 10/10
Fable 2's soundtrack is very inspirational, and sucks you right into the Fable universe. The game is also riddled with funny back and fourth banter, jokes everywhere you go, and all in all, a feel of it being a bustling world.
Value - 5/10
Fable 2 is impressive in size and there are many things you can do, but it all gets spoiled by the technical problems the game suffers from, which can lead to making it physically impossible to enjoy the sub-text of the game.
Overall - 7.8/10
Fable 2 in short, is an over ambitious game, that tries too hard, and ends up as a disappointment due to a rushed job, forcing you to miss out on majority of the outside gameplay.
Learning Curve: Around 30 minutes
With the massive hype Soul Calibur IV has received, being the first instalment of the Soul Calibur series to reach the new generation of systems, you'd hope that it would bring great things. While in reality, this game has just brought a half finished game that only excels in certain areas, while others were left out to die.
I'll start from the top. The games graphics are exceptional, revolutionary even, and the new tweaks to the gameplay have really made this feel like a big improvement from all fighting games out there. But what really lets the game down, is the half-assed attempts at stories, that last between 10 - 20 minutes each, with no real resolution at the end or unique standing for each character, and only offering one other single player mode, being a sort of survival mode. Then there's also the generic usual Arcade mode, which are you fighting through a series of battles for no real purpose.
Now, if you've played previous Soul Calibur's, it has always offered a variety of unique game modes, with long, interesting stories for each character, while this seems to have been just a real rush job. For a start, you would have thought you'd have unique character endings, but instead you get a generic ending with very slight changes to tell them apart from each other.
Majority of the characters are already unlocked, and you can unlock a bunch by purchasing them at the Character Creation area. There is no real ambition at all to go through the stories, as it unlocks very little to you, but with it being very short, it won't take you long to get through them if you choose to do so.
But don't count this game out just yet; the character creation in the game is very good, not as good as Soul Calibur 3's mind you, but still very good. You have a big choice of what your character can wear, you can edit the colour of everything to do with your character, and you can even change the size, muscle, and shape of your character. But, you are restricted to only using the movesets of the original playable characters, which was something Soul Calibur 3 excelled more at, as it allowed you to have unique 'jobs' for your character bringing along unique movesets.
You get to meet up with other pre-created character creation characters during stories, but it brings very little worth to the game itself, as you can just create them.
Gameplay - 9/10
The gameplay enhancements and character creation really bring a great feel to this game, very worth playing online with friends, or offline with friends, bringing much fun to you and your buddies.
Design - 9/10
The graphics are amazing and done very well. The designs of the playable characters, the environments and even the characters you create are just wonderful, and really easy on the eye.
Sound - 8/10
The voices, sound effects, and the general atmosphere of the game are exceptional. The wide variety of voices you can choose for your own created character, as well as the pitch is a very nice addition.
Value - 6/10
There really isn't a lot for you to do in this game, nor is there a lot for you to aspire to. The characters stories you'll probably breeze through within around 6-7 hours, and it'll just seem like a broken record.
Overall - 7.5/10
The few areas that were good were very good, giving this worth to purchasing. But seems now, it focuses on the online play and sex appeal, while forgetting the games roots, and just rushing to bring in another cash-cow. It had real potential, but was just executed poorly in the single player department.
Learning Curve: Under 10 minutes
Through the many Dragonball Z games that have been created on multiple platforms from various game creators, through all the new and updated versions of a classic arcade fighting game, the original creators rise above it all, and release their own PS2 version of the arcade classic, known as Super Dragonball Z.
Sure, back in the day, the arcade form of Dragonball Z was great, but it was something that really didn't need to revisit us with all the superbly updated Dragonball Z games that have arrived on the console, such as Dragonball Z Budokai series and Tenkaichi series.
Super Dragonball Z offers practically nothing in the form of story, or gameplay, or anything really, it is just a game you'd pick up, and fight a handful of selected characters from the TV series. There are a handful of game modes, including Arcade, Versus, and Survival, but it really doesn't hold the attention like a Budokai or Tenkaichi would. Being a fan of the older Dragonball Z games, I really had high hopes for this game, but with its lack in, pretty much everything, it really was a major disappointment.
Gameplay - 4/10
Compared to Budokai series and Tenkaichi series, Super Dragonball Z is very limited, there are very few different moves you can do, and them looking rather shoddy at that. The game is more fun playing it with a group of friends, as you can have a laugh while playing a few rounds of fights.
Design - 7/10
Probably the best part of the game is the graphics design. Instead of the anime-esc look the other games have chosen, this has been given more of a Manga look, which seems a rather interesting style to choose. However, it isn't anything brilliant, but it is unique to how all the other Dragonball Z games have turned out to be.
Sound - 7/10
With original Japanese voices, and music from the series, it brings the standards of the game a little bit higher for those die-hard fans.
There is a handful of modes, and a handful of characters to play with, but no real depth there to keep you wanting to come back, even for the cheap price its at now, it isn't worth getting unless you're a diehard fan of the series.
Overall - 5.5/10
With the lack of gameplay, and no story, this game is really nothing special, but with the unique style of design and the original Japanese voices it brings the game up a notch to bring it to average status.
Learning Curve: 30 or so minutes.
Through the years, there has been many Dragonball Z based games, and finally a series comes that puts the series to it's limits, however, this part of the series, being Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 was good in theory, but failed physically.
Let's start from the top; the game itself is fun, with an extremely long story, with many vibrant battles based in Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT. The fighting system is nothing at all likes regular fighting games, as it is more of a 'behind the shoulder' type fighter, where you actually feel like you're the fighter. You get to go through the entire series' of Dragonball/Z/GT with an unbelievable amount of characters, but it is practically the same as the original, except for a different way of doing the story and some more characters.
What really makes this game fail is how generic every characters move set is. Yes, there are a lot of characters so it's bound to be some generic sets, but with hardly anyone having their unique special moves and abilities is just such a disappointment.
But what really shines in this game is the story mode; they really stepped up from their prior game. In the story, you get to fly around Planet Earth, and Planet Namek as you go to 'events' which are battles from the series, or you could search for capsules (items) and do other things.
You're also able to play with friends in duel and world tournament areas, which are practically just fighting each other, which everyone loves. There is nothing at all special really for the multiplayer modes.
Gameplay - 5/10
The unique fighting system for the games series, but with the amount of generic move sets and special abilities, it really makes it a big downer.
Design - 8/10
The designs of the characters are brilliant, and the environments and battlefields are a marvel to look at.
Sound - 8/10
It features the voices from the American dub version of the series' which makes this game authentic to the series.
Value - 7/10
With the amount of characters, and variety of modes, you could spend a lot of time playing this game alone, or with your friends.
Overall - 7.2/10
A big variety of characters, and a lot of modes to choose from, this game offers a lot for the long-term gamer and the fans, however, the generic move sets of the fighters seem like a lack of effort from the creators, and may be a disappointment to those hoping to receive a similar experience from the first.
Learning Curve: 20 or so minutes
A new different spin to police based crime games, where you get to drive, jump from car to car, car to boat, car to helicopter, as well as land missions.
Play as a police officer, en-route to destroy all crime gangs that desecrate the state. Hunt down fearsome suspects, with aggression. With the variety of cases you will be given, it will include running down suspects, leaping onto their vehicles in mid-drive, and do anything in your power to stop them at all costs.
The game also offers something different from the career part, which allows you to do races. You unlock race maps through career, and you can play this to earn medals. There is nothing really rewarding from doing this though except for some fun. Career cases also offer medals to be earned, depending how well you do in the case, how quickly you caught your suspect, and all that takes into count for what medal you receive. You could get bronze, silver, gold or nothing at all. These medals then unlock items in the gallery, which offers videos, wallpapers, artworks and what-not.
Gameplay - 7/10
It's a new style of gameplay that adds some fun for the PSP system and works very well. Shooting, driving, and racing are a nice mix which Big Big Studios have pulled off very well.
Design - 7/10
There is a lot of variety from each crime gang, varying from ex-commando's to speed-craving women; you won't find everything bland here. The case designs and environments are pretty decent also.
Sound - 6/10
The sound effects and soundtrack is pretty decent, however it gets rather repetitive after a while.
Value - 7/10
There are a lot of cases for you to play through, a lot of items in the gallery for you to pursuit, and all the races as a side-game for you to play through, there is more then enough to keep the casual gamer going for a while.
Overall - 6.9/10
With it's new spin on gameplay, variety of things to do, this game will be good for the casual gamer, however there is nothing really that challenging, nor much depth to the story of the game. Perhaps it's not the best game for the hardcore gamer, but defiantly worth it for the casual gamer to look in to.
Learning Curve: 30 - 60 minutes
Who would of thought it, a game where you could play as a lead guitarist be so ridiculously addictive and fun? Guitar Hero hits this game right on the gaming industry nail. Even such an idea of a game must of made them think this would be an instant hit, who needs the thrill of their garage band and trying to make it big with their friends when they can just play this?
Guitar Hero allows you to play several famous songs, including Ace of Spades, I Love Rock and Roll, I Wanna Be Sedated, Iron Man, More Then a Feeling and even the legendary Ziggy Stardust!
How you play this rocking game? You will need to purchase a guitar hero guitar (which you can get in a bundle with the game itself), with this, you plug it in a rock out to the tunes. You use five frets, a strum bar and a whammy bar to thrash out notes at a very slow speed of a hyper speed depending on your preferences and skill. When notes come flying down the board at you, as they reach a little circle, you will then play the note needed, and the music will play as it would if you succeeded. If you miss a note, then the song with differ, as the guitar sounds will not play through. All songs have been recreated for this game!
There is also a two player mode, which requires two guitars to play. You can do 'rock battles' which is just you both playing the same song, but trying to out best each other, but playing more notes, and gaining more points. You can gain points by hitting notes consistently, as the more notes you hit, the higher your multiplier rises, riseing to a maximum of x4. There is a way to raise this even further, when you harness the amazing star power, which you can do by playing specific notes, then unleashing your godly rock powers upon the unsuspecting crowd cheering loudly for you.
Gameplay - 8/10
With this highly addictive yet simple gameplay, and the fascination of being able to be a rock legend in your own home, you will be entertained for ages playing through the over 30 songs this game has.
Design - 7.5/10
With each song representing you at an actual concert, you will see your band, the crowd, and activities going on during the songs playing. However the games graphical areas were not made for the player, as you cannot concentrate on what's going on around while your playing the guitar, however, it's more for those that are watching your performance.
Sound - 10/10
Greatest rock songs of all time in your disposal, enough said.
Value - 8/10
With this game having numerous songs for you to play, for you to unlock, or purchase with imaginary money you earn from your gigs in career mode, this game will keep you occupied for ages, and offer you to replay songs to try and best your record, or try and perfect them on the hardest difficulty of expert.
Overall - 8.8/10
Just the pure amount of effort and dedication put into this game truly shows. The amount of fun your bound to have on your own, or even with a big group of friends, this game is, legendary to those rock gods out there.
Difficulty: Very Easy
Learning Curve: About 5 - 10 minutes
Probably one of the most unique game series out there to date. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy offers you to play through the good star wars movies (being episode IV, V and VI) in Lego form. Where the whole game is unique, rewarding and very fun to play through many times, with, or without a friend.
The gameplay is simplistic, where you'll slap your enemies, shoot them, or sabre them down, however, it doesn't deter from the games fun. You will get the chance to play through several characters from the movies, including Obi-Wan, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and even the awesome Darth Vader.
As you play through the levels, you will be able to collect studs, which is like money. You can spend studs on many different things, such as characters, special features, and much more. As you progress through levels, you'll unlock certain characters. In each level, there are a lot of things to do, you can do the actual story, and you can search for secret items to give you more unlockables, and try to acquire those yellow / red bricks which give you better unlockables / open new areas.
In between levels, you can choose to hang out at the cantina, which allows you to choose which episode to play through, and allows you to spend your studs, or create your own Lego warrior. Quite a lot of customizable features you can do to your own created warrior, and make them look really out of place or make them suit even better then actual characters from the movies.
Another good thing about the game is the 'drop-in two player', which allows a second player to just enter an existing game at any time, which just furthers the fun.
Gameplay - 7/10
It is very simple, yet rather repetitive, but not in a bad way. You will be able to do many things, such as dig, build things up, use vehicles and much more.
Design - 8/10
What can I say? It's Lego - Awesome.
Sound - 7/10
With a variety of sounds and music, this game will just make your ears feel at home, and you won't get frustrated or irritated at all.
Value - 9.5/10
With the amount you can do, the amount of unlockables, and the amount of reasons to replay through levels (which will have new hidden paths you can follow through on second times round), you won't finish this game in a hurry.
Overall - 8/5/10
The game has some real potential, but it doesn't really push the limits of the systems. However, if you're a fan of star wars, Lego, or even a fan of a good fun all round game, this is defiantly for you. Lego for the win!
Learning Curve: Around half an hour.
Tenchu Z, a highly anticipated game, bringing stealth ninja action to next gen (now being current gen), but unfortunately this game went in the completely wrong direction, and making everything just seem so generic.
With the power of the XBOX 360, games should be able to exceed the normal limit, and those big fans of the Tenchu series will be disappointed with this abysmal attempt at making a good stealth game. However, there are some good elements, albeit not really improving the game, but does show some good signs for future instalments.
Tenchu Z offers a 'create a ninja' mode, which you have to do before you start the actual story. You can be male or female, choose what clothes they wear, hairstyles, accessories and what-not, and as you progress through the game, you can unlock and purchase new equipment and options for you to change mid-game of how your character looks. This is the best part of the game, and would be great to see this feature in the next Tenchu game.
The game itself is based on stealth and ninja skills, where you sneak around small little villages, caves, towns, and more to kill all who oppose you, and to defeat the enemy that's on your 'hitlist'. But the main problem, with over 50 missions, each mission is practically the same, in gameplay, environment, objectives and enemies. There are around five or so different varieties of objectives, and very few environments for you to explore. It just has on big feel of it being generic, and you'll be constantly thinking "déjà vu?"
The stealth kills in this game look pretty decent, which you pull off by sneaking up behind an enemy, and choosing to attack them, this will lead to a short cut-scene of you killing this man in a vicious violent way. But after a while, these scenes get very repetitive, and how the combat when you've been caught is so awful, your forced to go through with these stealth kills. It is quite hard to stay out of view, enemies can spot you easily enough from seeing you, hearing you, seeing your shadow, and what-not, which atleast shows that the game is rather sensitive to realism. You can hide from enemies by crouching in shrubs, hiding under water or in the shadows, but really it just gets stale ever so fast.
Gameplay - 4/10
The stealth kills are nice, but gets very irritating after repeating it several times, and the combat when spotted is just absolutely dreadful, you're forced to run and hide and go back to the repetitive stealth kills.
Design - 7/10
Being supported by 1080i, the graphics are pretty decent. The design of your character is also good, with the variety of changes you can make. You even get water effects on your character when you've been in water and blood effects when blood sprays on your clothes.
Sound - 6/10
The soundtrack is nothing to boast about, except for the opening movie song, which is fairly decent. The voice acting isn't too shabby, but there really isn't a lot of it, except through some of the cut-scenes which don't really play much of a part in the game.
Value - 3/10
With the generic levels, and the boring gameplay, there isn't really much making you play this game for too long, especially when it isn't rewarding to force yourself through all of it.
Overall - 4/10
Graphics are good, and the amount of customizable features for your creating a ninja is decent, as well as the water and blood effects, it really sets you in the ninja atmosphere, but with all the other faults, and the down right lack of attempt in making this a decent game, just isn't worth dealing with.
Learning Curve: About 10 minutes
Along with the Dynasty Warriors PSP game to be released, KOEI also decided to breach off their Samurai Warriors series to the PSP as well, to sky rocket their sales on both consoles and handhelds. Samurai Warriors: State of War, a tactical based hack n slash game, riddled with many characters and several stories for you to play through, will keep the diehard fan pleased for many days to come.
Based on the Sengoku era of Japan, Samurai Warriors delves into the stories of several ambitious conquerors and warriors from the state, such as Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, and the legendary Oda Nobunaga, with several others. This game still bares the same characteristics and game play from the other versions on the console formats, however with a twist. Each battle will bring you a grid-like board, which will allow you to choose your destination, to add some strategy elements. You can also receive actions to perform at this part of the battles, from setting up fire attacks on certain areas, to striking an enemy officer with a lightning bolt. Most of these actions will lead to you lowering the enemy's morale, which allows them to be killed easier.
Still to the same, the main game play parts are exactly the same, not even worked upon, so it still bares all its original problems from the start. The stories on the other hand, are fairly unique and quirky, bringing more of lightness to the atmosphere of the battlefields, though it isn't really anything that special to warrant purchase of this game.
The game also offers you the chance to bring sub-officers, just like in Dynasty Warriors PSP, but slightly different. Instead of using a leadership stat, your character can only take so many officers into battle in general, until you level up more. You can end up with bringing in four legendary warriors by your side, and leaving a complete bombsite behind you as you tear through the battlefield.
Gameplay - 5/10
Same old, same old. Nothing different here from the same repetitive hack n slashing of generic nobodies, which just brings nothing new to the table.
Design - 4/10
Disappointing environments, and rather poor character designs, the looks and feel of this game just doesn't cut the cheese of what the PSP can harness.
Sound - 4/10
Pop-styled music instead of the rock from Dynasty Warriors, however it managed to get even worse. After a while, the music just gets repetitive and the generic grunts get really annoying.
Value - 7/10
This is where the game shines, you will have tons of things to do, with the numerous stories and many battles you will play through, that can keep any fan occupied for several days.
Overall - 5.5/10
With the added strategy element, it does bring some fun to the game, however if your bored of repetitive hack n slash games, then this is defiantly not worth going for, especially with the poor looks, but for fans of the series, this will keep you occupied for a very long time.
Learning Curve: 30 - 60 minutes.
With the increasingly amount of tactics based games being released on the PSP platform, the lord of the rings franchise finally sticks their finger in this pie and create Lord of the Rings: Tactics. For one player offline, and offering versus battles online, this game will intrigue those tactical gamers out there.
You have a choice of fighting for good, or evil, both with their own unique stories that intertwine with each other. The entire battlefields you fight on are all grid-like, allowing further tactics and strategy in your fighting. You will play through the legendary battles from the novels/movies, and control heroes from both sides, you will also control low class warriors to assist you in your endeavours. You move your units from square to square, and attacking and destroying those enemy forces.
After each battle, it will tally up your kills and experienced earned from it. You will gain experience from achieving objectives and killing foes. Once you've acquired your experience, you can then spend them on stats, to increase your characters even further.
Having said all that, Lord of the Rings: Tactics does have some down-sides, such as the slowdowns, and the constant game crashes, that just are shy of being frustrating. It is quite easy to look past these mishaps, as the game play is involving enough.
Gameplay - 7.2/10
With this turn based tactic game, where you choose where your characters go, and anticipate your enemies footsteps, and prepare strategic plans to devastate them, this really is quite a fun game to get involved with.
Design - 5/10
The graphics are really drab compared to what the PSP can really offer, and most of the environments seem too much alike each other to bring much variety.
Sound - 7/10
With clips and music from the movies, this game is pretty 'epic'.
Value - 6/10
With the straight forward story, it won't leave much for replay value, at least there is plenty to do with going through the Good story and the Evil story. However, online mode isn't good enough to be of any real value.
Overall - 6.5/10
With most Lord of the Rings games being sub-par, this really brings a unique spin to the series for the PSP, and brings something new to the table for gamers, but with the crashes and dull environments, it could have been far better.
Difficulty: Very Easy.
Learning Curve: Around 10 minutes.
Dynasty Warriors for the PSP, based on the same engine used for Dynasty Warriors 4. Created by KOEI, when going through their 'handheld' phase, which all game companies come to at some point, they decided to make a strategy grid based system for the repetitive yet entertaining Dynasty Warriors game play.
As it is known, Dynasty Warriors has never really changed its form through the never-ending cycle of sequels, where it just continually repeats the same battles over and over, with the odd new twist and tweak to make it seem worth getting for the diehard fans. However, for those that are looking for added strategy towards this style of game, KOEI have made a good attempt for doing so on the handheld PSP.
Each battle you par-take in, will allow you to go into battle mode, and strategy mode. Strategy mode is where you choose your officer to go. On a grid based map, you can choose either to go forward, left, right or back, depending if the path leads that way. Your choice can lead to advantages, or disadvantages. However, from moving too much, you will loose supplies, which you can restock at supply bases conquered. There are many different types of squares, such as main camps, defence bases, attack bases, and supply bases, plus more. Each base has a unique aspect to them, such as supply base will increase your overall supplies, while defence bases will be a lot harder to conqueror.
When in battle mode, after you've chosen where you want you and your unit to head, this is where the action kicks in. You appear in a part of the map, where you are forced to face several enemy soldiers, and sometimes some officers. Your objective to conquer this square is to kill so much that the enemy morale reaches zero, where they will flee. As per usual, to win a battle, you will need to kill the enemy ruler or take their main camp, but there will also be some new objectives to win battles, such as for the yellow turban rebellion (a well used battle in Dynasty Warriors series' formed of imperial units versus the masses of rebels), you can win by taking out all of the shrines (which appear in certain squares on the strategy mode).
Also so other new features, is the sub-officer system, which allows you to take up to four officers in your unit. However, you can't take everyone you want, as officers cost leadership points, if you don't have enough leadership points to cover the officers you want, you won't be able to take them. Naturally, the better the officer, the more leadership points you'll need. There is also an online feature based on this, although nothing special, it allows you to trade officers you've gotten to other peoples games, but there is really no use to this.
Gameplay - 6/10
With the same basic actions and repetitive hack n slashing from all the other dynasty warriors games, this isn't anything really special, especially when you start using the same moves over and over again as there's not enough ways to dispose of your enemies. You may enjoy playing around with the several characters offered, but with the lack of depth in game play, it probably won't seem worth it.
Design - 4/10
The designs of the characters are pretty decent, but everything else just feels like a giant let down, with drab environments and hardly any detail in your surroundings.
Sound - 5/10
Again, nothing at all special in this department either, just the usual grunts and increasingly annoying rock-based soundtrack that leaves you feeling this is exactly the same as the others.
Value - 6/10
You'll get some kicks out of this if you enjoy hack n slash games, but if you're after a new experience and a game to push systems to their limits, this is far from what you want.
Overall - 5/10
A nice attempt by KOEI to try and add variety to the game, but it just leaves too many glitches and unimpressive visuals to make anything of itself.
At long last, the next instalment to the ever repetitive Dynasty Warriors series, but this time, it being completely re-designed and built from ground up for the next generation, now current generation systems (PS3 and XBOX360). Though for the diehard fans, KOEI have delivered some fatal blows with taking characters out, and dishing out generic move sets by the gallon.
As normal with the Dynasty Warriors series, you are in a setting of Ancient China during the Three Kingdoms Period of the Later Han Dynasty. You choose an officer, then a battlefield to play on, then the main aim is to eliminate the enemy commander, which you do this by charging through several hundred enemy soldiers, bashing down bases and blasting your way though gates with siege weapons. Facing several different types of units, giving some variety in the bland atmosphere, though they will still die just as easily as everyone else. The story mode, or in this case, Musou Mode is practically you choosing an officer, and going through a set amount of battles that follow on from each other, while with an interval between battles with corny cut-scenes and bad dialogue.
Now, pretty graphics and cool designs might make the game look fancy, but that doesn't mean squat when the game play is ridiculed with flaws. With what has been done with Dynasty Warriors 6, the game series has reached a new low with its 'one button only' attacking instead of the usual combo attacks. Even a monkey could pick up and play this game and excel at it instantly even on its hardest difficulty. Although the characters move sets have been completely re-designed to seem more realistic, it completely sucks the fun out of the game when it takes out all of the challenge that was once in prior games.
Though its not all bad, the new character designs do look pretty spiffy, and the very minor additions (such as being able to swim, and climb siege ladders) add additional move ability to the game, and making it more fun to navigate a multi-levelled battlefield instead of a plain flat field with bland looks and designs. With the newest biggest feature, being the 'Renbu' system, it makes fighting even less complex. Instead of previous versions of the game where you found better weapons to increase the amount of moves you can perform, in this, you increase the amount of attacks by killing enemies. Your Renbu is restricted so much to start off with, which you can increase the levels up to 4 (max) via the levelling system. Though really, with what you start off with, you don't even need to bother increasing your Renbu, as your attacks are continuous constantly, unlike previous versions when once you finished your set of attacks, your officer takes a breather, in this you just continually mash the X button, and your officer will continually attack without any gaps or pauses, which makes you practically invincible.
There is still a use for the Y button, like in previous versions, you still use it to perform charge attacks, but you cannot combine it with the basic attacks, you mainly use the charge attack now to break an enemies guard, which is one of the many rare occurrences in a game with incompetent A.I (a trademark for the Warriors series'). Your character also has some other minor attack additions, such as a 'throw' type of attack, where you grip onto your enemy and do some needlessly fancy set of attacks on one single enemy and a few different charge attacks, but nothing that would make this game much of an improvement as they are completely missing the main flaws that the series has carried along with them since the beginning.
The levelling system is a simple feature that anyone can handle. You gain experience by killing enemies and enemy officers throughout the numerous battles you're bound to fight with your chosen character. At the end of each battle, it tally's up all the points you gained during the battle, and you will receive level ups depending on the results. Each level up you gain, you gain 1 stat point, which you can spend in the grid level system, where you have a choice to follow certain paths, that can increase your attack, musou, defense, and life, as well as some bonus skills, such as increasing your Renbu, being able to make your character invulnerable to enemy attacking during a charge attack, and more. Though these extras don't make any impact in the battles as such, and are mainly there just to be fillers from the more important stat upgrades.
On the plus side, the game is boosted with a cheesy rock n roll soundtrack, which has always made Dynasty Warriors what it is today. Who can kill hundreds, or even thousands of enemies without the classic rock? The voice actors have been kept from previous games, as well as some new voice actors keeping the game fresh and updated, but with a bad script, you could even have Morgan Freeman voicing, and it'd still seem just plain wrong.
So this leads to the final remarks. The game has a few cheap thrills that will get dull over a manor of hours playing, nothing that the common gamer should even bother with. You could say that this is a true sequel to Dynasty Warriors, as it has had a complete re-design, but it is by far not a step forward, more of a step sideways for the series. Another hit and miss for KOEI.
With great power, comes great responsibility. In the tale of a young hero, when at a mere age, sees his village and father get slaughtered by bandits. Here, we see the legend, of Fable.
Can you wield the power of your destiny? Will you stay true to the path of the hero, or become a menacing villain, you choose. In this epic game created by Lionheads Studio (The Movies, Black and White), brings you an outstanding RPG like never before, where every action, has a reaction, and every choice has a consequence. Travel through the land of Albion, accepting quests for both good and evil from the Guild of Heroes. Train your Strength, hone your Skills, and master your Will, as you leave a devastating destructive path where-ever you go.
Fight with sword, bow and magic, to defeat the numerous different foes, in many different towns/villages, or choose not to fight, get married, buy a house, buy a store and live a peaceful life, its your choice, though don't let the wife catch you flirting with another lady, or she'll get you good.
I found this game very fun, its great story, wide variety of things to do you'll never get bored of this game, with all the choices you can make. The game is extremely addictive, so many things to do to keep you occupied, and bringing you back for more playing each and every day.
The graphics are very good, going through the phase when the exclusives for XBOX had exceptional graphics. The environments are very detailed, and the characters and NPCs have great detail also, very good looking. The voice acting is pretty decent, everyone in the game has a voice which in its time was very hard to come by, it shows far more interactivity and you feel right at home with everyone having their own personality and jobs. The sound effects are good also every little action you take has its own sound, which is what you expect from a game.
The game isn't very difficult at start, it all depends on how much you fight, how much you train, and how much money you spend on better armour and better weapons. You can probably find this game for around, £5 - £15 now for the XBOX, but it would probably be best to seek its better half, Fable: The Lost Chapters, which offers more quests and increases the length of the game. In short, I really enjoyed this game, its downfall is the lack of quests and short story it has, but considering you don't have to follow the story and choose your own path, it isn't exactly a major problem. They did fix all this however, in Fable: The Lost Chapters, which is for XBOX and PC.