Friday, September 28, 2012

Mini Reviews!

So, since it's been a while since I posted, I didn't want to inundate the site with old reviews posted two months after they came out. There's a bunch of games to cover here, ranging from Vita to PS3 to PSN so bear with me. Let's go in order of release date, shall we?

Starhawk














Starhawk, the spiritual successor to the old franchise Warhawk, follows Emmett Graves on his more or less path to redemption. The focus of this very Firefly like universe is Rift energy. It's a precious commodity, and there are many people seeking it. Outcasts are your greatest threat in the game, and lead to some awesome battles. This game combines third-person shooting with vehicular combat and even adds a bit of real time strategy. All of this comes together to make a pretty cool game. The story itself really serves as more of an elongated tutorial for the multiplayer, where the game really shines. Having up to 32 players each building different structures as needed and killing whoever crosses them really provides a fun experience. The game isn't necessarily as polished as a triple-A shooter, but it definitely makes its mark on the gaming sphere, and really should have gotten more attention.

Overall Rating 8.5/10

Max Payne 3














Max Payne 3 honestly kind of surprised me. I wasn't ever planning on getting the game, definitely not on the day it released. I'm a sucker like that sometimes though, but most of the time it ends up paying off. Now, I didn't venture into the multiplayer of the game, so this is merely a single-player review. The story follows a very washed up and given up Max. Through a choice that he didn't really care to make, he ends up doing security work for a family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Things go very wrong in Brazil and many twists and turns provide a great story from start to finish. This location provides a very different landscape for gaming that we don't see too often. Quite honestly, Max Payne 3 is one of the best looking games I've ever played. Graphically it outperforms nearly everything I've seen before. The attention to detail and animations are just outstanding. Gameplay missions are pretty varied, but the game suffers from some extremely frustrating difficulty spikes along the way. Some missions have really extended checkpoints, or just plain too many enemies and not enough ammo. The game remedies this by providing more health or ammo upon dying multiple times, but sometimes this just isn't enough. Other than those difficulty spikes though, the game has great replay value in harder levels, and New York Minute mode which gives you time for kills and its a race against the clock. Multiplayer also adds on to the replay value, which is reported to be rather exhilarating. 

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 
 
Resistance: Burning Skies













So, Resistance Burning Skies came out May 29th for Playstation Vita. This entry in the Resistance series wasn't developed by Insomniac directly, but rather outsourced to Nihilistic. The game follows Tom Reily, a firefighter on the East coast of America when the Chimera begin to invade. He becomes separated from his wife and child and so your main objective is to be reunited with them. While it doesn't necessarily compare to the console versions in every way, the Vita version really proves that this handheld can be very powerful. The graphics aren't an extremely strong factor in the game, but they're not weak compared to other Vita games. The gameplay itself has varied mission structure, but would probably have benefited from being a little longer. Some of the animation for the cutscenes was downright terrible, but its not really as much about that as proving the Vita can handle one of the more successful and popular genres right now - First-Person Shooters. While it definitely isn't a perfect game, Burning Skies is a good one for people in love with the Resistance franchise or FPS games. Also, the game has a relatively easy trophy list and online support as well. 

Overall Rating: 7.5/10


Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes













Lego Batman 2 adds something unprecedented to Lego games, voices! They actually recorded dialogue for all of the characters involved in Lego Batman 2 and it definitely gives the game a different quality. It retains its witty humor while actually adding a coherent story to the game. Since this game isn't based on a pre-written story, its sometimes hard to follow exactly what's happening in the story. Since this entry adds voice acting though, it makes much more sense. Aside from voice acting, the game adds many other things. Rather than restricting itself to the Batman universe, it dives into the whole DC universe, including Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern and many many more. Each of the superheroes have something unique about them, whether its flying or running super fast like the Flash, its always fun to try out a newly unlocked character. Where better to try these characters out than in an open world right? Well, you won't be disappointed in Lego Batman 2's. It's the entire city of Gotham, and there's a lot to do. Many collectibles are hidden throughout the city, and mini boss battles unlock that character to play as. There are 15 story missions, and the story itself is pretty good and very humorous. This game improves upon the first in so many ways.

Overall Rating: 9/10 

The Amazing Spider-Man

















The Amazing Spider-Man game follows the movie almost right after it ends. Since the game came out a week before the movie, it kind of ruined a few things for those that care about spoilers. Otherwise, the story for the game seems like a standard Spider-Man game. Some crazy villain wants to infect everyone with a virus, and starts making clones and robots. The formula seems to work well, so why change it too much? The game itself really doesn't last very long, with only about 15 hours of content available between the story and all the side missions. Otherwise though, the game was incredibly fun. The combat style is much more refined, and feels a lot like Arkham Asylum, with the counters and button mashing, albeit a bit more fluid and acrobatic. Graphically, the game looks decent, with a lot of detail for the characters, but little for the city itself. The game switches things up frequently though, going to indoor locations and back outside so that nothing becomes monotonous. The skill tree adds fun new powers to Spider-Man, and provides something to aim for. The game itself has a great overall feeling to it, but just suffers from being too short.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Sound Shapes













Sound Shapes is an interesting little platforming game. As you collect the little orbs in the game, these translate to notes in the song that is playing in the background. Each and every level revolves around a different song or beat. As you collect the notes, you create the song. Its not a very tough game by any means, but provides something different from other games nowadays that don't focus enough on the creation of music or the importance of a good soundtrack. It came out for both Vita and PS3 on the Playstation Network and only costs $14.99. It's not a very long game, lasting only about 4 hours total. The experience though was rather fun, and once you beat the game you unlock two extra modes. These are where the trophies lie for the game, Death Mode and Beat School. Beat School has you replicate a certain beat with the games level creator, while Death Mode forces you to beat some extremely hard challenges in a certain amount of time. Each level you beat though gives you a trophy. The game has good replay value as well, with a bunch of levels being created by users like you and uploaded so everyone can play them.

Overall Rating: 8/10

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