Sony Playstation 2 Game Reviews
EyeToy Play + Camera (PS2)
The EyeToy and its game EyeToy Play was probably one of my favourite games a couple of years ago, and however much it hurt my arms the next day from swinging them about so much, it still kept me wanting to play. Now I suppose everyone would think of the Wii or Kinect when they think of games that involve using yourself instead of a ... controller, but the EyeToy was one of the first things to have this when the Playstation 2 was still one of the main game console.
The EyeToy itself is a USB camera that plugs into the front of your PS2 console, making it the easiest set up I've seen so far for gadgets like this. It resembles a webcam, and I've actually used it on my computer when I had XP and Vista, as all you had to do was install a driver to use it as one. However, you must make sure that the room you are in is bright enough otherwise it won't register and it is easy to make it clearer and more defined as all you have to do is rotate the lense.
You get a little instruction video at the beginning showing you how everything is meant to be done, however for those who can't be bothered watching, it's pretty simple and all you have to do is stand in the outline that they show in the game and then use your arms or head to do what is required of you in the game whether it be breaking things, karate chopping or spinning.
If you don't want to play as one of the cartoon characters the game gives you, you'll have to set up a profile. I liked this little feature as it shows you in the score presenting section with different faces (happy, sad, silly - that it takes of you when you set it up). Then you can select the different types of modes easy, medium or hard and the type you want to play single or multiplayer.
Aside from the main point of the games, there is also the Playroom, which reminds me a bit of a PhotoBooth. It's not as thrilling as the games as all it does is provide various backgrounds for you to play around in, but it is fun for wasting a couple of minutes when you check it out.
There are 12 games available on the EyeToy Play, all require a fair bit of energy, yet they are quite easy to understand and play while being challenging whether you're playing solo or with friends. Below are the games that are included:
Disks will start flying at the speakers that are placed around your screen and you must hit them in time with the music, generally this music is quite discoy, with songs like Boogie Nights that you have to hit the disks in time to. If you miss too many of the disks however, it means game over. I would say this requires a lot of energy in your arms, as I found them to be slightly achey after playing this.
This reminds me of an arcade street fighter game where you had to beat off waves and waves of enemies, except in this game the enemies are the ninjas. Using your hands, you must karate chop and fling the ninjas that will run at you away and prevent them from getting a chance to karate chop you. It also breaks away from this at points for the fun little mini section of breaking boards through hitting the centre of them. This is one of my favourites and just requires you to have quick movements to battle the ninjas out the way.
This is by far the best game to play on multiplayer, and is one that my friend and I played for around half an hour at one point. However, achey it is on the arms, it is definitely worth it. You play as a window cleaner and you have to see how many windows you can clear completely in the time limit, trying to get all the powerups.
Keep Ups is exactly like it says in the name, you have to use your whole body to keep the ball up and if you drop it too often, it means gave over. While you can use your whole body, I find that it's too easy so it's probably best just to keep it challenging and just use your head. This doesn't require too much energy as all you do is move from side to side really.
In Boxing Chump, you enter the ring and must defeat your robotic opponents to emerge as Champion. You must punch the Robot while making sure that you block his attacks and you don't K.O before he does! I'd say that this is a pretty energetic game, but doesnt involve the whole screen like some and all you really do is punch your arm out.
In this minigame, you are guiding other aliens off the planet by moving their spaceships using your hand to spin them and make them rise. However, if you go to fast they'll explode and too slow they'll crash. I found this game to be a bit annoying as I could never find the right balance, but my sister always could and would get ridiculously high scores. It doesn't require much energy as all you have to do is twist your hand.
This requires you to have pretty good reflexes, as when you get into the fast paced action of it, it can lead you to slapping the wrong characters. You have to save the Bunny Girls by hitting the Ratmen however if you hit too many of the Bunny Girls, it means Game Over. This was one of the lower energy requiring games in my opinion as you just had to slap something and it didn't require much movement.
This game really reminds me of the previously mentioned UFO Juggler, as you have to spin the sticks to stop the plates from falling off while monkeys throw various things at you. The main aim of the game is to put them in the "Sweet Spot" as EyeToy puts it to gain points. It requires the same amount of energy as UFO Juggler, as all you really are doing is rotating your hand.
With similar music to Beat Freak, Boogie Down requires you to remember the sequence of dance that QT does and then copy it exactly. I wasn't a big fan of this game as it was quite difficult, yet my sister prefers it. It does require the same energy as Beat Freak though, as you have to have to move your arms quite a bit.
In Ghost Catcher, every time you see a ghost or vampire you must try and get rid of it really quickly by rubbing your hand over it till it disappears. This was one of my favourites to as you have to act quite fast to get rid of them. I'd say it requires a medium amount of energy as you have to move around the screen a lot wiping away the ghosts and bats.
Mirror Time is a game that appears to not have been developed for the energy side but to be for the mind. The screen flips in loads of different directions which means that sometimes where you intend to move your arm, it doesn't actually move to that space. It's a pretty good game if you feel like a challenge and sometimes it gets even more confusing than you expect it to.
This is the most colourful game included, as you have a series of rockets that are launched and you have to select the same colours and set them off at the same time. There are also different varieties of rockets, some big, some small, some sparkly and they all need to work together to make a giant explosion. I would say like Mirror Time, this is more of a mental challenge, as you have to think fast to get the same colours together.
The multiplayer is pretty good on this game, as many of the games that I mentioned above really were a great challenge as they're all developed to be really competitive. You can play with up to a group of 8 I think, and while you do have to sit through each players turn, it is quite entertaining watching some of the games like Wishi Washi as people look ridiculous throwing their arms about trying to clean the entire window faster than the others.
Overall, this is a great game that I would recommend to anyone looking for a cheaper option to the Wii or Kinect. While it may not be as developed as they are, it was pretty good when the PS2 was the main console around and the games are still of great quality today. There's a real variety in the games available, so there's always something for someone to enjoy.
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Final Fantasy X (PS2)
I do not know how to even begin to explain how bad Final Fantasy X is to you without bursting into a seething cauldron of rage because this game just baffles me. It has the the worst, and I do mean worst character design ever in a Final Fantasy game, dwarfing even Final Fantasy 8. I disliked Final Fantasy 8, but this game just brought ... out a whole new level of hatred and pain, I did not know that SquareSoft, now Square Enix, could make something worse than Final Fantasy Hate.
I cannot understand how this game was given such high scores by magazines and independent reviewers. Famitsu gave it a near perfect 39/40, and GamePro gave it 5 out of 5 stars. How is this possible? It is like watching Barbie Goes To Hollywood and then nodding at the end of it, saying that it was one of the best movies you have ever seen. No it wasn't! Were these people paid by Square to give such high ratings? I can't believe that somebody would rate a game this annoying so highly out of their own free will.
I have already confessed to being one of the biggest Squaresoft fanboys in my village when I was but a youngling, but after Final Fantasy 8 my mind was already filling with doubt and anxiety. Was my favourite Japanese RPG company starting to churn out rubbish games? Final Fantasy 9 came out later that put my mind at a relative ease, but that was until this abomination, this travesty was purchased by me. It tainted my Playstation 2 with its unholy aura as I put it into the tray of my beloved console and then forever regretted it. It's not like getting rid of the game would make the pain go away, like how Suzie down the road would not take away the syphilis she gave you if she moved away a week later.
The story itself is crap, but the most annoying thing, the game breaker for me, are the insanely annoying as crap main characters of the game. Oh God, why did they design these characters? Why did they hire the voice actors to portray these people? It just blows my mind that people would sit through the entire game with these characters and not want to stab themselves in the eye.
Don't get me wrong, there are some good things about this game, but the bad heavily outweighs the good, and it isn't like 1 good deed can redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness.
::[[ THE BAD ]]::
Allow me to elaborate on the reasons this game just causes me to bubble over in agony.
:: INTRO ::
We start the game with a camera panning out from a hill with the weapons of our protagonists shoved into it. We then see our protagonists just lazing about a camp fire, singing cumbaya and looking mournful, reflecting on something that could have changed their mental well-being. Slow, gentle, yet sorrowful piano music slowly plays as the camera does another pan of the other characters, and then this is broken up by the nostril vocals of Tidus, our male protagonist, with the first exposition of the game.
"Listen to my story... this could be our last chance..."
Basically, he is going to retell his story to the people sitting at the camp fire, who have already witnessed what he has gone through, first hand! Let's say you were at a luxury cruise, you run into some rocks and the ship starts sinking, you would be terrified and running for your life. When you get to the shore, drenched but still alive, someone from the same cruise comes up to you and says, "Oh God, you don't know what just happened to me, I was on that ship that is sinking! I nearly died!" Yes, I know! I was there! I am in a life jacket, I look like a drowned rat, I don't need you to tell me!
And don't you just hate narratives that start you off in the present, and then go into some sort of flashback so you have to play the game until you get to the point when the story telling began? It just kills all sorts of suspense because we see the main characters alive and well there, we see them at this place around a camp fire, so obviously they all survived up to that point and are going to embark on an epic mission in the area they are camping at. It doesn't take a genius to work that out.
:: STORY ::
This game takes place on Spira, a world where the reigning sport is Blitzball, this netball game that is played underwater. Tidus is a sportsman as he is a celebrity Britzball player, and part of the famous team, the Zanardkand Abes.
After our intro sequence, we are taken to Tidus's city of Zanarkard where he is *cough* The star player of the Zanardkand Abes! *cough* He is getting ready to play a massive Blitzball tournament, with some finely made cut scenes, but then something attacks the stadium, smashing the game into pieces and ruining the children's ice cream. That something is called... Sin.
The story is mainly to stop that creature called Sin from destroying the world. Everywhere it goes, it leaves a wake of carnage and destruction, everything in it's way would be decimated and turned to ash. Sin is so evil that even it's dandruff can come to life and attack people. It is like the Cloverfield monster, only meaner, hovering, and more grey.
Tidus spends the first few minutes acting like a pansy until his father's old friend, Auron, appears to save his arse. However, things are not as it seems as Sin swoops overhead, engulfing the both of them in a shaft of light, sucking them both in. This scene was very disturbing because Meg Ryan... I mean Tidus's face becomes all contorted and warped as he gets drawn into the light. It just brings back many nightmares.
Tidus awakens later, 1000 years in the future, with no idea where he is, what he is doing, or why he is even there in the first place. What is it with Final Fantasy and time travel? First Time Kompression, now Sin induced time transference. His home city is now seen as a sacred place, the most holy of cities that none may trespass. A lot has changed, but that flipping game Blitzball has survived. How?
The story then moves on to meeting up with the other characters and the mission to stop the evil floating meatball Sin from vapourising Spira with it's dangerous dandruff and evil energy beams.
:: STUPID CHARACTERS ::
I am only to to talk about the most annoying people in this game because if anything, they break the game completely.
The main character is this guy called Tidus, he is the star player of this futuristic water polo game called Blitzball, and he has major daddy issues. Why I hate this guy is because he looks like Meg Ryan, he has a stupid nasally voice, he whines incessantly about everything all the time, and he wears this stupid pair of leather laderhosen. When he gets roped into the whole story, he spends most of his time whining about his situation or about the situation of anything that occurs around him that is not to his taste. Honestly, I found myself wanting an option to shut him and his subtitles up, just so I wouldn't wail on my TV a rain of carnage. Imagine, Meg Ryan from that movie Inner Space with Dennis Quaid, she kept whining on and on, and I felt that they based this character off of her.
I really hate his nasally voice, as he never stops talking. He has too many monologues in this game that do not have you invest more emotionally into the game, you just want him to shut the hell up. It is either that, or he constantly reminds you that he is, "The star player of the Zanardkand Abes", or that, "This is my story". The funny thing is that no, it is not your story, it is somebody else's!
That somebody else is Yuna, who is a summoner, a believer of the Teachings of Yevon. She is tasked with the perilous journey to save the world of Spira, and gifted with the powers to summon powerful creatures to crush her foes. I swear, this girl has no soul. This girl was raised in seclusion with the only goal in life to be a summoner like her father, so her people skills and knowledge of the outside world are pretty much zero. This means she has no interests, she has no opinions, she just runs around with this 1 goal to try and save the world. I have seen her interact with Tidus, and it is painful, really really painful just watching her be naïve and innocent when presented with a multitude of questions. She spends most of the time being hesitant and saying, "Mm", a lot. If you had a slab of tofu, it could have taken the place of Yuna in this game with nothing affected in the slightest. Hell, tofu would have made the character more interesting, remember Resident Evil 2's tofu mission? Yeah, that was awesome.
Tidus ends up as Yuna's protector as she travels around the globe to save the world, which makes it pretty much HER story, and not Tidus's even though he likes to reminds us time and time again and it is HIS story. She is the one with the mission to save the world, Tidus is just tagging along. There are some parts of the plot that involve him, but that does not warrant him to be the main character.
Next up we have Wakka. Oh my days, does Wakka make me want to hurt myself. He has the biggest cowlick in the history of video gaming, and I am serious. Just search anywhere for a video game character with a hairstyle that sticks up as high as he's does. He is a Blitzball player in his small village, and is probably the only half-decent player there until Tidus turns up, declaring that he is, "The star player of the Zanardkand Abes!" He is one of Yuna's guardians, people that must protect her as she makes her pilgrimage to save the planet. He speaks with this annoying voice that rivals Tidus in causing me to rip my hair out. It is this fake hawaiian accent, and he always ends his questions with a 'Ya?' noise. To make things worse, he is such an insensitive and idiotic character that doesn't know when to shut up. For instance, later in the game a group of people call the Al Bhed blow up their home to help our main characters. The Al Bhed are obviously devastated and weep at their loss, but he just opens that hole he calls a mouth and says, "Hey - don't look so down! BOOM! Hahaha! Like happy festival fireworks, ya?" These Al Bhed, blew up the place they called home for many generations; a place they had many happy memories from, and Wakka compared it to happy festival fireworks? He needs to be damned for eternity.
And that is not all, Wakka has the manliest weapon ever known to humankind. His Blitzball. I kid you not, he uses a Blitzball. Imagine a volleyball, but coloured blue with a white stripe down the middle. That's a Blitzball, and he uses it by throwing it at the forces of darkness. How this is even plausible is beyond me, but what I find even more baffling is that no matter how far he throws it, he always managed to catch it back again. Even if the monster has its mouth wide open and the ball goes inside it to do some damage, it somehow manages to make its way back out of that mouth and into the hands of Wakka.
What astonished me the most about him was when Tidus decided to tag along with Yuna on her quest to save humanity as one of her guardians, Wakka says, "What? This is no times for jokes, ya? He may be a Blitzball whiz kid, but up against fiends, he's a newbie." Of course, Wakka. He can take his 6ft sword and leave with it because your Blitzball is such a weapon of mass destruction(!)
Lastly, the final character I want to moan about is Rikku, an Al Bhed girl with spiral irises and is a cousin to Yuna. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing majorly wrong about her character in the game, she is happy and upbeat and cute in every way, constantly trying to support Yuna and aid her on her quest. The issue here is that she is treated like a sex object in this game by fans, and yet she is only FIFTEEN years old. Yes, you read that right, FIF-TEEN-YEARS-OLD, and yet the game likes to pan to shots of her chest and bottom every chance that it has. I'm sorry, but that is just wrong on every level, and there is even a scene of her taking her clothes off. Okay, it was because she had her diving suit on and was fully clothed underneath, if fully clothed means hot-pants and a sleeveless top. She is one half of the fan service duo of Final Fantasy X; she caters for the dirty old Japanese men that like to look at young girls, whilst the other half, a black mage called Lulu, caters for the Goth-loving bondage fetishists (I'll talk a bit more about Lulu later).
Before she permanently joins your party, she actively and fiercely tries to kill you and your team in a fight as she is piloting a giant mechanised monstrosity. When she is defeated, does she apologise? No. She strips in front of Tidus, causing him to go, "Hah?", but that is more than enough for him to forgive and forget the last 5 minutes of fighting for his life.
:: BLITZBALL ::
I am happy that Square did away with the annoying as heck Triple Triad card game of Final Fantasy 8, but they replaced it with this annoying mini game that is not as bad, but still not fun at all.
There are a number of things I find completely weird about Blitzball, things that make no sense and that is before we get to the mechanics of the mini game.
In one of the earlier cut scenes, we see this giant machine powering up, a lot of electricity is generated and it sparks towards the centre of the stadium. Next thing we know, a giant globe of water starts filling up in thin air until it is literally a massive ball of floating water. This is where Blitzball takes place, that is the 'pitch'. These players leap inside it and can swim around in full 360 degrees, whilst passing, blocking and trying to score goals with the ball, the Blitzball, whilst underwater.
My first complaint is that it is underwater and the players spend over 3 minutes underwater, moving about with lots and lots of activity, without once coming up for air. Are all players of Blitzball masters of yoga breath holding or something? How can you do lots of vigorous and strenuous motion underwater without needing air every 10 seconds? People usually drown in under 30 seconds if they drive their cars into a lake and then struggle to get out, so I find this just baffling. And no, I will not buy the explanation of oxygenated water that can provide air directly to your lungs, because the players are not seen choking the water out of their lungs when a match is over.
Next, I want to talk about the hydrodynamics of the ball, because these players can throw the ball straight at another player when passing or kicking it at high speed into the opposition's goal. I don't know about you, but I have tried throwing underwater and kicking something as hard as I could at my local swimming baths and it is not easy. Water causes much more resistance than air does, so how this is even possible in the game makes no sense, you can barely make an object budge underwater, even if you had the strength of 10 men. The laws of physics do not apply in Spira.
Lastly, I want to discuss the fact that when you actually play the mini game, you can only play on a 2D plane that allows you to go forwards, back, left and right, but never up or down. The cut scene clearly shows players going in all directions, even leaping out of the globe of water on one occasion, and yet the game itself limits us to a 2D plane. That is just false advertising people, it's like advertising that gargling Milton Sterilising Tablet water would cure your bad breath.
To keep the explanation of this game simple, you basically have 2 teams competing at any one time, and the idea is to score more goals than the opposition. Easy enough you say, but how it works is that you swim towards the other goal, whilst passing the ball to other players so that you do not get into an encounter with the opposition, because if the other player or players even graze you, you enter encounter mode.
In encounter mode, the other player or players attack you, and if you cannot handle the beatings, they take the ball from you and then swim towards your goal. Not good obviously, so you have to pursue them and strike back. Really, really tedious.
The main thing here are the stats, because it doesn't matter that somebody can be sneaky or has a special evasion manoeuvre, everything is based on the score a person has on a specific stat. For instance, each player has a passing score, the higher the score the further they can throw the ball to another player. As the ball travels through the water, their passing number counts down, and if it reaches zero before it gets to the other player, that player can fumble it allowing the other team to snatch the ball.
Here is another one, let's say your character gets into an encounter with a player from the other team, and you have the ball. They will attack you so they will use their attack score against you. You counter that with your endurance score, and if your endurance is higher than their attack score, you keep the ball and then can choose what to do with the ball, such as passing it or shooting with it.
Then we have the shooting part of the game. If you manage to get pass the opposition's defences, and approach the other person's goal, you get into an encounter with the goal keeper. In this case, you obviously want to shoot to score, so it is your shooting score versus the goal keeper's catching score. If your shooting score is higher than their catching score, you get the goal.
Now we have to talk about the HP, and it is not Health Points or anything like that. Everything you do when a player has the ball uses up HP, and it replenishes once you have relinquished the ball. It rarely falls to zero, but you got to be careful because if that ever gets to nought then your character is basically out of the game.
There are special moves you can learn as well for each of your players that boost your shooting score or poison the other team. Yeah, you can learn moves that allow you to play dirty, but these moves use up HP so you have to make sure you have enough HP available to pull them off after you've learned them.
The question you have to ask is why would you want to play such an annoying game? Well, it is because if you want Wakka's best weapon and best move, you have to play this mini game and win the league in order to get them. I cannot understand why anyone would purposely subject themselves to this torture because the game is just tedium personified. Plus, you have the option to put the game into Auto mode where the players just move about automatically until you get into an encounter, then you can decide what you are going to do. That just takes away the whole strategic element of the game because you cannot control where you want to place the player to start off the best moves.
The only reason I know about this game is because you are forced to play it as part of the game's story, and the team you play against are a bunch of cheating scoundrels that tend to poison your guys or are much faster than them when swimming. If you play this, 9 times out of 10 you would lose, so just put it on auto and just keep pressing the X button. Of course, this would be the case until I discovered online that you can simply score 1 goal so that you are 1 ahead, then you can swim and hide behind your goal keeper. All the other players just freeze in place until the timer ends and you win, making the game pointless.
::[[ THE GOOD ]]::
Yes, I actually have some nice things to say about the game.
:: GAMEPLAY ::
Like other Final Fantasy games, this game is a turn based one, where you take turns with the enemy in dealing out damage. The team with the weaker players and poorer strategy will lose, and hopefully that isn't you.
You run about the world, trying to navigate to your goal, and occasionally you get into a fight with some enemies. Sometimes, you get into a fight with this really big enemy, that is called a boss battle and it can take a while to complete because bosses have powerful moves that can end you. What this means is that for most of the game, you only need the left joystick and the X button to get through game and see the ending.
What I like, yes I like, about the battle system is that although you can only have 3 active members on at a time, you can dynamically swap team members if the situation calls for it to support your team or to perform some sort of devastating attack on the enemy. You also get this really convenient vertical bar on the right of the screen that shows you whose turn it is next so that you can plan for certain situations that could leave you dead. For instance, there is a boss that can do a multiple hit attack to wreck your entire team, so you bust out the protection spells and heal up, and once it hits, you heal up again. The queue then shows that the enemy doesn't have another go for another 6 turns, so you bust out the whoop ass and kick the enemy in the face!
Later, when you have Rikku in your party, you can modify your equipment to give them extra boost against enemies or for better protection. I did this when fighting enemies that had a hard outer shell so Tidus's attacks were pretty much pathetic and weak. However, after modifying his weapon to have the piercing ability, his sword can 'pierce' the defences of that outer shell and hurt the enemy directly, ending the enemy much faster than before. This adds an extra layer of strategy that would be welcome by most.
The enemies you fight in the game are called fiends, and as the guys would explain to Tidus, fiends are made up of souls that have not moved on to the farplane (their version of the afterlife), thus festering in the mortal realm until they become filled with hatred. That hatred causes many of the souls to be drawn together, and that creates the fiends. Now, I want to explain quickly that in this game, if you die, that is not the end of you. If you die, chances are you will become either a fused fiend, or a creature that is much stronger than when you were before you died. There are a few characters in the game that are a pushover when alive, but when they come back in death they just get stronger, and every time you beat that person they just keep coming back with more health and more special moves. What this means is that you shouldn't be afraid of death in this game, because if you pass away, you will return better than ever, so what is with the fear in Sin blowing up your Sunday lunch?
Now I have talk about the sphere grid, which is how you improve the statistics of the characters. As you fight in the game, you get AP or Ability Points, and when you get enough AP, you get a Sphere Level, or S.LVL in the game's menu. With each S.LVL you have, you can move forward in the sphere grid and power up your character. The grid itself is a massive spirally path of nodes connected by lines. Each node activated will improve a certain statistic or allow you to learn a new move. It is quite linear at the beginning, but later it lets you branch out and take paths that might not seem like something the character would take, i.e. Tidus is a warrior type, but if you wish, you can make him go down a black mage path and learn destructive spells.
Certain areas of the sphere grid is locked and you need key spheres to unlock them in order to get access to a new area you want to divert into. These key spheres can be obtained from enemy drops or stealing them from enemies, but the main thing to remember is that each key sphere has a different level, ranging from 1-4. The level means that is can unlock that level lock on the sphere grid, and ONLY that level lock, so you cannot use a level 4 key sphere to unlock a level 3 lock. This allows you to gain access to the entire sphere grid, so a character that has travelled along the entire grid, leaving no node inactivate, would become almost Godlike.
Limit breaks make a comeback in this game, but this time they are called Overdrives. They work pretty much the same as any Final Fantasy game, you get slapped around a bit, and when you can takes no more, you bust out a super move to ruin your enemies swiftly. Each character has their own set of special techniques, and their best moves need to be earned and not learnt, but if you can find them, it may be worth it.
Lastly I will discuss the summons that Yuna can bring forth from the nether dimension to assist you in battle. In your travels, Yuna will visit temples and pass a number of trials in order to obtain a new summon needed for her quest. These summons, when actually called in battle, arrive in a really spectacular fashion, with the sky changing colour or the ground being rent asunder by their mighty bellow. The rest of the party disappear, leaving only Yuna and her summon on the battlefield to fight the enemy ahead. These summons are pretty powerful and the cinematic entrance of most of them is pretty amazing to watch. If the summons fall in battle, the party returns to pick up the pieces. The best summon at Yuna's disposal is Yojimbo, this samurai that fights for money. When you summon him, sakura petals drift across the screen, and he enters gracefully like a silent ninja. Yuna then has to pay him for his services, and depending on how much you give him, he would either use his weakest move, which is summoning his ninja dog to attack, or his best move that kills all enemies immediately with one blow. The technique that kills everyone with one blow works on bosses as well, so if you have the cash, just pay Yojimbo and he will vanquish Sin for you in one move! Who knew money could wield so much power.
:: AURON ::
Auron is probably the coolest character ever designed by Square. He looks like a middle-aged, gruff looking man that only has 1 eye left, carries this 6ft sword on his shoulder, a wooden flask of wine on his belt and constantly has his left arm slung inside his jacket.
Then when he gets serious in a fight, his left arm comes out. There is a cut scene of him doing this and it is simply awesome, the enemies just cower in fear when Auron brings up the his warrior aura.
He rarely speaks at all, but when he does speak, it is always something that makes sense and it is never panicked or rushed. He takes his time to think about his next move before he does it, and that coupled with his fighting abilities makes him a man to be respected and feared by all that oppose him.
He is so bad ass that in Kingdom Hearts 2 when Hades summoned him from the dead to do his bidding, he told Hades to get lost. What other man would tell the God of the Underworld to get lost?
::[[ THE REST ]]::
Now I talk about the remainder of this game.
:: GRAPHICS ::
I have to say that for the time, these graphics looked pretty good, very colourful and very nice, but this game did show the weaknesses of the PS2 because it was lacking in polygons in many places. The character models all look quite stiff and awkward, the textures were a bit blurry, and the Blitzball itself looked like a 20-sided die because it couldn't summon up enough polygons to make it appear rounder.
You may be thinking that I shouldn't pick on a game that had, for its time, cutting edge graphics, but yes I can because the PS2 was well known for its 'edged' effects. The anti-aliasing was poor on the PS2, and it really showed in this game as the edges were all jagged and crooked, it just took away from the experience for me.
:: AUDIO ::
Besides from the nauseating voices of Tidus and Wakka, this game does have some pretty good sound effects and music, it doesn't grate on your nerves and it can be quite memorable, such as the battle theme. The song that most people will remember hearing is the love theme, Suteki Da Ne, made known by the infamous yet beautifully pre-rendered cut scene when Yuna breaks down in front of Tidus, so he starts swimming with her and snogging her underwater. Who knows what happens next after that, but this gentle piano and violin-based song plays and you just forget that our main characters are these pair of annoying as crap people. The song played in the cut scene is in Japanese, which is the proper way to enjoy the song as the English version, although not bad, doesn't capture the same delicate feel of the song.
:: THE OTHER PLAYABLE CAHRACTERS ::
The only characters left to mention are Kimahri Ronso and Lulu.
Kimahri is part of the Ronso tribe, these group of cat-like muscle bound warriors that fight with spears and spit seeds at people. He lost his horn, a very important part of the Ronso anatomy, so he gets laughed at by his peers. He, like Wakka, is a guardian of Yuna, and he rarely speaks as when he does it is in broken English, but as a result I do not hate the guy. Thing is, I don't really find him at all that compelling either, he is just there to bulk up the party.
Then we have Lulu, the black mage of the game and the other half of the fan service duo. This woman is skilled in the black arts, and for a weapon, she uses a Moogle doll. If you're not sure what a Moogle is, it is like a little white cat with a pink bauble on its head that likes to say 'Moogle!' a lot. This game does not have them at all, so the doll is the only Moogle related object in the game, and it is really crap. Honestly, it does hardly any damage at all, Lulu needs to depend on her black magic like casting Fire or Ice in order to fight.
Why is she the other half of the fan service duo? That is because she dresses like some sort of Goth chick, with the dark eye make up and purple lipstick, but what sticks out most of all about her are 2 things:
- Her dress
- Her breasts
That's right, her dress displays her cleavage for the entire world to see. That big, heaving bosom that she just loves to show off after she's won a fight by leaning forward. It's not necessary for the game but there it is. She's also a guardian that chest... I mean just... wants to help Yuna on her bras... I mean cause. And then, you'll notice that most of her dress is made from belts. Yes, loads and loads of belts intertwined and woven around, with a conveniently placed gap so you can see her legs from the side, all strapped around her. If that doesn't scream bondage then I don't know what does.
She is supposed to be the love interest of Wakka, but you get the chance to flirt with her as Tidus midway in the game, and she remarks that she finds it interesting and would add Tidus to the list. Now, I don't know what kind of list that is, but judging from the belts and the Goth look, I imagine it could be payable by the hour.
:: VERDICT ::
Personally, I hate this game. I know it has SOME good points, but overall the experience has scarred me for life. It is like meeting a girl that is smart and witty and pretty and exciting, but she has a beard. One thing would put you off, but this game has like 90% of it as a massive torture of the soul.
I cannot stand the main characters of this game, I cannot stand the stupid Blitzball mini game that you must play as part of the storyline, and I cannot stand the weak story that, for some reason, has time travel in it, but it is never brought up again. Why did Square make this game with those design decisions? I, for the life of me, cannot fathom the reasoning behind the choices made by the game's designers and director.
What I cannot understand most of all are the ratings given to it by most people. They rate it very highly, and that just bothers me. How can you rate a game so highly when you have Meg Ryan complaining for most of the game, Yuna being a complete and utter wallpaper paste character, Wakka with his cowlick and insensitive remarks, and Rikku the underage, borderline paedophile's dream character. I played this game from beginning to end because I was a fanboy, and I thought maybe I would give this a chance since Final Fantasy 9 was alright. No, it wasn't alright, it got on my nerves.
I can't recommend this game. I just can't, it would go against my nature because I loathe it. And guess what I did after I completed this game and swore never to touch another Square game ever again? Played Final Fantasy 12 and Final Fantasy 13. Kill me.
(Posted with same username on Ciao)
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Singstar Popworld (PS2)
After playing Singstar Rocks, my mum and sister had exhausted the songs to a ridiculous point as they had basically got full marks in all the songs that they were singing. This led to Singstar Popworld being introduced into the house, not being a particular fan of karaoke or pop, I wasn't that thrilled about the game, but it is a pretty ... decent game from a well known company.
The game is rated at 3 plus, as all you do is sing into a microphone so there is literally no chance of violence happening and the only way it could be explicit is the songs included, but from the ones that I heard, there was no swearing and where it was in the song, it is bleeped out always. I'm not sure what the price was when we bought this, but it must have been around £15, yet now it's decreased in price to around £8 online and it's quite hard to find in GAME stores.
You must also have the Singstar Microphones to actually play the game, and sometimes they are included with the purchase of Singstar games, they are always of good quality. I've had my microphones for a while, and they are really high quality as they haven't broken or been damaged despite being thrown in and out of drawers ove the years.
The game has a lot of varied pop songs, which right now would probably be classed as really outdated, but they are good for karaoke and most of the songs included are sung by well known singers/bands. It ranges from r n b style pop like Beyonce, to classic pop like Sister Sledge and apparently rocky pop like Good Charlotte, so there is a real variety of songs for those with different tastes.
Below is a list of the songs included and as you'll see most of them have been included on the radio or on a music channel at some point. You'll also see that some of the songs really don't fit into the Pop category and could be classed as another genre, but it seems ever Singstar games has a few random songs put in there.
Pieces Of Me - Ashlee Simpson
Sk8er Boi - Avril Lavinge
Crazy In Love - Beyonce
Shut Up - Black Eyed Peas
What's My Age Again? - Blink 182
Bohemian Like You - Dandy Warhols
Paid In Full - Erik B and Rakim
Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
Love Machine - Girls Aloud
I Just Wanna Live - Good Charlotte
The Reason - Hobbastank
Stop - Jamelia
Eyes On You - Jay Sean
Super Duper Love - Joss Stone
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
Kylie Minogue - In Your Eyes
Do Wah Diddy - Manfred Mann
Personal Jesus - Marilyn Manson
Obviously - McFly
These Words - Natasha Bedingfield
Roses - OutKast
Let Me Entertain You - Robbie Williams
Kids - Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue
Father and Son - Ronan Keating and Yusuf
We Are Family - Sister Sledge
Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones
Should I Stay Or Should I Go? - The Clash
Main Offender - The Hives
If you've played a Singstar game before, they look the same as the one before pretty much except the colours are much brighter, giving a "poppy" feel. Once again, you can still add the EyeToy to further enhance your gameplay, as you can now watch yourself sing, however it looks somewhat grainy against the clear designs that they have flying around you combined with the lyrics.
However, the display of the lyrics is well done as you can clearly read them but if you want to watch the video behind it to, they don't cover it too much. There is also clear bars as you are playing to show where you are hitting the right pitches, handy when you are competing against someone trying to get the highest score!
One handy feature they have added into this game is that now, if you own the previous Singstar game, Singstar Rocks you can switch that in and play it to without having to turn your console on and off. My sister liked this when her friends were round as it gave them further choice of what songs they could sing after they'd exhausted Singstar Popworld.
The only problem I have with the game is that there is little choice for modes. You can play by yourself, which is pretty dull unless you love to sing just that much or as a party mode. Usually the other mode is used when my mum and sister are singing against each other, but I have also seen it used when my sisters friends are round, and you can get into teams of two and battle against each other while passing the microphone round really quickly.
Overall, I thought that this was a good second game for the next in the series of Singstar games. It's well designed with a good mix of songs which do stick to the Pop genre fairly well, aside from a few exceptions. I would say that this is a pretty decent game for anyone who likes both pop music and karaoke.
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Sony Playstation 2 Game
Genre: Driving & Racing / Playstation 2 Game / Age: 3+ / Release date: 2009-06-17 / Published by Sony
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Genre: Music & Dancing / Playstation 2 Game / Video Game for PlayStation2 / ESRB Rating: Rating Pending / Release Date: 2009-03-20 / Published by Sony
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