Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Backlog Barrage! Shootin’ Dudes In The Face Edition

December 19, 2010

MAG Publisher: Sony  /  Developer: Zipper
Platform: PS3 /  Genre: FPS  /  Release Date: January 26, 2010

MAG is easily my biggest surprise this generation. Until this generation, I had pretty much no interest in FPS games and even less interest in playing them online. Heck, I wasn’t even interested in MAG until the week leading up to release where I decided to pre-order this online only game at the last possible moment. I am really glad I did, as I have spent an ungodly amount of time with this tactical squad based shooter.

Yes, you are basically running around shooting people the whole time like any other shooter. However, since it is all objective based it feels totally different. People fall into roles, medics, snipers, engineers, and so on. You can mix and match these abilities, weapons, and equipment to make load-outs that suit different situations and your play style. This customization is great and being able to re-spec relatively cheaply makes it so you can always try out new gear or revise your character if you ended up not liking your build.

The main draw to MAG is the sheer number of players. It depends on the mode you are playing, but in Domination the game supports 256 players. You won’t see all of these players on screen at once, unless everyone swarms one area, but they are there and it really feels like a massive battle is taking place. Even in the smaller game modes there is a large number of players, so the game never feels empty. And like I said before, since it is objective based you are able to gain experience points by doing more than just killing enemies. Actually, healing and other objective based goals usually yield more points so it encourages players to help each other as opposed to just run off all lone wolf style.

If there was only one shooter I could have played this year, it would have been MAG. The sheer amount of players, tactical gameplay, customization, and feel of the game have made it one of my favorite games of 2010.

SCORE: 9/10

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Medal of Honor Publisher: EADeveloper: Danger Close, DICE
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC /  Genre: FPS  /  Release Date: October 12, 2010

Once again I find myself scratching my head and coming to a different conclusion then most “reviewers” of a game I played. Medal of Honor got a lot of mixed reviews, and a lot of the negatives came from being compared to other games. I can see why one would compare a FPS to the other FPS’s on the market, but to mark it down for not being those games is just stupid. Let Medal of Honor be its own game. That is why it doesn’t play like the two main shooters it was compared to. It’s like they want every game to be the same. Anyway, that is a whole other topic so let me get back on topic.

Medal of Honor comes at the FPS genre in a much less arcady and more realistic direction. You can’t dual wield shotguns, you can’t really run and gun your way through a level. You are meant to be more cautious and more precise. The atmosphere of the game lends itself to this style. I’m not going to say it is actually realistic, but in comparison to the other shooters on the market it sure does feel more real. Hell, even with all the jumping around between characters I still ended up caring for them throughout their trials.

The multiplayer aspect feels a little more fast paced than the single player, but over all it isn’t your typical run and gun (unless you only play the deathmatch modes). The most popular mode, and one I played the most is Combat Mission. This is a team objective based mode. You have to defend strategic spots, or attack them. These are played on larger maps and include limited vehicles. I really enjoyed this mode in particular a lot, and the overall multiplayer experience in general. You level up one of three classes as you play (able to switch load outs and class during your re-spawn), and unlock weapons and mods as you do so. I wish there were more unlocks and more customization, but that is a minor complaint.

So despite some of the poor reviews I really hope EA plans to keep Medal of Honor heading in this direction. If they are able to work out some of the flaws I think they could make a modern FPS that can hang with the other big FPS franchises on the market right now. If you are tired of some of the other shooters I’d easily recommend getting this game.

SCORE: 8/10

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Publisher: EADeveloper: DICE
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC /  Genre: FPS  /  Release Date: March 2, 2010

I ended up getting Battlefield: Bad Company 2 much later than its initial release date, but I’m glad I finally got around to playing it. There are some noticeable changes form the first game which may change how you feel about the game overall. I personally didn’t mind the change to a more linear format in the single-player. You are not as free to pick a path in a level, but there is still a lot of room to maneuver and choose your path through the environments.

The other notable change is the interaction of the characters during the story. There is a more serious tone to this game than the previous one. It isn’t as serious as the most recent Medal of Honor game, but the characters aren’t cracking the same jokes during cut scenes as they did in the first game. They do still have their more personal and usually amusing conversations as you move through a level. The down side is that if they start talking during a firefight you may not be able to really hear them with all the gun fire, explosions, and crumbling buildings. Which is a shame as I really enjoyed the joking conversations these characters had. It’s still there, but you have to pay attention to catch most of them.

Even with these changes the single-player is still a lot of fun, but that will only last you several hours. After that, you’ll want to turn your attention to the multiplayer. Here you can spend a ton of time ranking up your different classes and unlocking a ton of gear. I was once again drawn into the more team oriented multiplayer modes. Which have you either attacking or defending positions.

If you play FPS’s you’ll feel right at home, but the destructible buildings really change up how you approach taking or defending a position. This along with the different classes and characters found in the single-player are what makes it feel different from the other major FPS on the market. Which is a very good thing in my opinion.

SCORE: 8/10

Critter Crunch Review

November 23, 2009

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Critter Crunch / Publisher: Capybara Games / Developer: Capybara Games Platform: PS3 / Genre: Puzzle Game / Release Date: October 8, 2009

If you don’t have a heart of stone then Critter Crunch should immediately endear itself to you. With an absorbent amount of character and gorgeous hand draw graphics Capybara Games’ (Capy) first PSN release is easily one of the most fun and challenging puzzle game I’ve played in years.

Story:
For a puzzle game, Critter Crunch has a great story. Like the game itself, it is pretty simple but has a lot to offer. You play the game as the main character Biggsliocaucus or Biggs for short. Biggs is a medium sized round mammal with no arms and a very long and sticky tongue. Despite being the main character, the game is actually told by naturalist and explorer Hank Hudson whom is visiting the island of Krunchatoa for research on Biggs and to film his tv show. Hank Hudson gives us all the pertinent information about what Biggs is, why he is crunching critters, eating gems, and barfing into his son’s mouth. Hudson will also explain to you the island and give info on new types of critters. The story follows Biggs’ adventure across the island he calls home. Even though the cut scenes that feature Hudson lack voice work, it still manages to add a lot of character to the game and has a ton of charm. It makes the game feel like it is more than just a puzzle game. I could easily see these characters returning in another type of game, featuring the adorably cute Biggs as the main protagonist once again.

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Gameplay:
Critter Crunch consists of several modes, but it would be wise to play the Adventure mode first as it acts as a tutorial and also delivers the games humorous story. In Adventure mode players will move between 22 locations on the world map. Each of these location offers several different levels. They range from Adventures that tell the story and introduce new game mechanics, Puzzle levels in which you have to clear the level with a limited number of turns, and Challenges that vary from time limits, only crunch specific critters, and so on. You have to beat three of any of these levels to get access to the next stop on the map.

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The game starts off easy enough in Adventure mode, but as you progress you come up against some seriously hard levels. You play as Biggs, who uses his long sticky tongue to feed smaller critters to larger critters. This is the food chain mechanic of Critter Crunch which sets it apart from other puzzle games. When these critters get too full they pop and drop gems which Bigs eats. If the critter that pops is touching another critter of the same type and color it will also pop. So you an string together chains of critters which produce larger gems that in turn fills your hunger bar. If you manage to create a chain that is 8 critters long then Bigs’ son Smalls will appear on one side of the screen. He will open his mouth and beg for food, so being a good father Bigs will oblige if you move him next to Smalls and press the circle button. Bigs will then produce the most lovely rainbow colored barf stream you have ever seen, which unless you live one crazy life I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen too many streams of rainbow barf in your life. Anyway, this gives you a lot of bonus points. However, your barf isn’t only coveted by Smalls. The critters are also drawn to the full spectrum regurgitation. When you are barfing into Smalls’ mouth the critters will move down the vines faster. You have to balance feeding Smalls and watching the critters or else they will reach the bottom the vines and it is game over. If you fill up your hunger bar the level is complete.

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Food chains and barfing aren’t the only gameplay mechanics in Critter Crunch. There are a bunch of fun and funny power ups to aid Biggs in his quest to crunch across the island. The power ups, or power foods, are obtained by popping certain critters. The power ups come in a variety of flavors. Such as watermelon seeds, peppers, spray paint, and more. Each one does something different and can really save you in a jam or help you get massive chains. These are introduced over the course of the Adventure mode levels, and become more important as you progress through Adventure mode.

You will also be introduced to new types of critters as you move across the island. These new types of critters will drastically change the way you play the game. They can be inedible critters made of stone, bombs which blow up everything around them when feed two critters of any type, vegetarian critters which won’t eat other critters, toxic critters, and so on. These additions really make the game’s difficulty rev up towards the end of the game. They also keep things feeling fresh through out your long adventure with Biggs.

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There is also one other mode that is not available in Adventure mode, Survival mode. Survival mode is a pretty straight forward mode where your object is to… well, survive. You want to survive as long as you can. This is fun and can get quit hectic. In my opinion it is a lot of fun to play this mode in co-op, but I’ll touch on that later.

At the end of any of level you get a score which will then rank you on the leader boards. if you are connected to the PSN. Besides your overall ranking you can also can compare just among your friends, which should probably make you feel not as bad if your ranked somewhere in the thousands. Also, if you fail a level you will be treated to a hint or tip. However, pretty much all of these won’t be actual tips for the game. Instead they will humorous messages that should at least get a smile out of you if not an actual laugh. I found this addition to the game to be great. If humor is done right in a game, it really adds a lot to the overall game.

Online:
For those that feel the need to crunch with friends, Capy has added two multiplayer modes. You can either play with or against people online or local as well . When playing co-op you are on the same team and try to last as long as you possibly can in Survival mode. If you are playing against another player then your goal is to last longer than your opponent. If you fill up your hunger bar it will add another row of critters to your opponent, putting more pressure on them. You can also get new power ups that are only available in competitive multiplayer which will affect your opponent instead of just you. These will also change as you rank up. Both modes are fun, and even more so when played local instead of online but that could just be my preference.

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Conclusion:
Critter Crunch has quickly become one of my favorite PSN games to date. With a plethora of character, humor, and good looks it is sure to charm the pants right off of you. Besides being a charmer, Capy has managed to make a truly deep and enjoyable puzzle game. I’ve kind of been burned out on puzzle games for a long time now, but Critter Crunch has made me a born-again puzzle game fan. I can’t really say enough about how cohesive the stunning art direction and graphics are, the amazing hand drawn animation, lovable characters, and top notch gameplay that makes up this games. It is the total package, and severely under priced for how much content and care has gone into the game. Hell, it is so good that I even stopped playing Uncharted 2 and Demon’s Souls just to spend more time with Biggs. If you are new to puzzle games, or even a hardened veteran of the genre, you should try out Critter Crunch as I am sure it will work its magic and find a place in your gaming heart for a long time to come.

SCORE: 10/10

Run For The Hills, The Reviews Are Coming!

October 18, 2009

I’m going to start posting reviews soon, but as I was working on a few of them I noticed that it might seem like I am too lenient with my grading. This might come across like I’m trying to inflate scores, but if you consider the games I will be reviewing first (Uncharted 2, Critter Crunch, Demon’s Souls, etcetera) I think you’ll find that my scores aren’t too far off from the norm for these games. Also, since this is just for fun I most likely won’t bother doing full reviews on games I really don’t like or have no interest in playing in the first place. So my reviews may be slightly skewed to the higher side of the scale since I’m not going to waste my time playing and reviewing games I don’t enjoy. Just keep this in mind if you think my scores seem out of line.