Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Halo: Reach review

October 2, 2010

I recently had to write a review of anything as homework for English class. I chose Halo: Reach as it was the last game I finished before writing it and decided I’d post it here. It was for school so excuse me if it’s sloppy, but still enjoy 🙂


Halo: Reach is a first person shooter for the XBox 360. It’s the 5th (and last) Halo game developed by the series’ core developer and creators, Bungie. It was released on the 14th of September, 2010and was published by Microsoft game studios.

You are a SPARTAN, part of an elite group of soldiers The game stars with your character joining “Noble Team” and with this, there are already many differences from past Halo games. Before, you were the only SPARTAN soldier in the games, but because of the setting (a prequel to the first game and based in a time before the scrapping of the SPARTAN project) you know have a team helping you along the way. The game takes place on Planet Reach, a place that was destroyed before the core Halo trilogy takes place. It shows Reach from the first enemy invasion right up to its last stand and eventual fall.

Being their first major franchise (and the one that cemented them as a good, respected developer), Halo holds a special in Bungie’s heart and they wanted to send it out the way they brought it in; With a bang. At some points in the game Bungie were literally sending Reach out the way that they brought it in by having things (like indirectly including an original trilogy character in the game) that only true fans would pick up on and feel special for noticing.

Having only played the original game in the series when going into Reach was in no way a bad thing – despite my hate for doing that – as it’s a prequel. Seeing as this ‘is’ a prequel and a set-up for the first game, you really don’t to know the plot of the other games which adds an element of accessibility to anyone without access to the original trilogy.

A strong point in Reach and something that the Halo franchise has always been known for is its multiplayer aspect and in Reach there’s no change. It took what Halo 3 had and made it better. It also took “Firefight” mode from its direct predecessor, Halo 3: ODST and added much more content. A personal favourite multiplayer feature of mine from Reach is the ability to run through the whole campaign on co-op with 4 people. If you have even one friend that’s willing to play with you, it can be incredibly fun!

So did Reach make a good swan song for Bungie? In my opinion, yes. Though the campaign isn’t an amazing feat of story-telling, it does well for a first person shooter. It’s a solid campaign experience that has great ability to (but doesn’t always successfully) suck you into the storyline. The multiplayer is exactly what people have come to expect from a Halo game, nothing short of fantastic and a hell of a lot of fun.

The Conclusion

8/10

“As a package, Reach is a solid, fun and well-made game.”

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Late to the Party: Skate 2

July 20, 2010

The Game

Skate 2 came out in March 2009 for the PS3, XBox 360. It’s the sequel to the 2007 game Skate and the 2008 spin-off game of the series Skate It. The game is developed by EA Black Box and published by EA. It’s the biggest challenger that the Tony Hawk franchise has ever had and at the best time: The decline of the Tony Hawk series. Not only is it the biggest challenger, I think it’s bett- You know what? I’ll just get to the review 🙂

Story

You are Unspecific Name-Man, a character of your own creation that is meant to be the same protagonist from the 1st game. At the start of the game, you’ve just been let out of jail and your “side-kick”, Reda, is filling you in on everything that has happened in the time that you’ve been gone.

A new company called “Mongocorp” has moved into San Vanelona and renamed it “New San Vanelona”. They’re an anti-skating company and have basically banned skating in most places in the city. The game focuses on your rise – through magazine shoots, videos and competitions – back to the top. It’s like starting out as an amateur skater since you’ve been in prison for so long.

Gameplay

If there’s one thing that Skate has got nailed down it’s gameplay. Remember Tony Hawk’s’ controls? Just button mashing until you ended up doing a good move? Well Skate 2 completely changes that in a way that Tony Hawk’s could only compare to if they stole the whole concept. Instead of button combinations for moves, ollies and flip tricks are mapped to the right analogue stick while grabs and inverts are on the trigger buttons on the back of the controller. This makes gameplay harder and more complicated which is a great thing, actually. We’ve had button-mapped controls for skating games since conception, it’s about time somebody changed it up and tried something different. After all, it payed off for them!

There is one aspect of the controls that could do with some work, though. Moving around without your board. Walking and running can be glitchy and get even worse when you try to call your board (if you’ve dropped it) or get back on your board near an object. Also, moving things in the environment is a great feature and can really help with challenges or just fun but this is the worst of the glitches. You will constantly – for absolutely no reason – fall over and bail or “glitch out” while moving an object, it’s inevitable.

Challenges and Missions

Alot of this game is filled with trial and error and if you won’t commit to this game and really try then you won’t get anywhere with it. I’m not going to lie, this game can get hard and with no difficulty setting to make the experience easier for you. You need patients. And if you’re prone to flipping out over things then you’re not going to like the pedestrians in this game. Ugh.

On the bright side the game provides a good mix of different types of challenges between competitions, races, pro challenges and even more variations within the bigger categories, you won’t get bored if you stick at it. One feature that I like in a game and that you see in Skate 2 is the ability to choose whatever you want to do i.e. you don’t have to do missions in an exact order, if you find one hard you can choose to do another one and come back later, which really helps without making it too easy.

Now, I’m not a big fan of side-missions, I don’t know why. But there’s just something about the side-missions (of which there are alot, so yay!) which made me want to play and beat them. Actually, I get the urge to want to completely 100% this game! And I’m never one to do that (trust me) but this game is just different… in a great way.

Free-roaming

This game is a free-roaming game and acts as such. The sandbox is pretty damn impressive. It mightn’t be a Just Cause or a Grand Theft Auto but it’s still impressive and the visuals in areas like the woods and… Everywhere actually, are very good!

A handy thing if you’re just looking to mess around are spawn points. You get the ability to use spawn points after you beat all of Danny Way’s challenges and then unlock extra ones for other specific achievements. They’re areas that you wouldn’t usually be able to get to and that are brilliant to skate and they’re integrated into your map so you can teleport to them whenever you want.

The fun aspect

If you want to mess around and have a laugh then you are reading the review for the right game. I’ve had Skate 2 for a long time and haven’t found it boring at any stage, there’s always something to do. The abundance of skateparks really helps and so do the side-missions. Then you also have own and kill the spot challenges, throwdown challenges and the Hall of Meat. Don’t want to do challenges? No problem! Just have a skate around, explore the city! Mess with cars or get chased by guards. This really is – and I’m taking everything into consideration – the most fun I’ve had in a game in years. And the soundtrack is great so no matter what you’re doing, you won’t be bored and have to listen to your MP3 player or something.

Hall of Meat

The Hall of Meat is a set of challenges that you have and all the challenges are things to do by bailing. When you bail, you have a little meter telling you how many points that bail you just did was worth. The more bone-crunchingly brutal, the more points you get! You can also get points by adding your own “formations” to your bails. While you’re in a mid-air bail you can point the right analogue stick in one of four directions to make your character do different formations and these get you extra points. And you don’t have to hit something to bail, you can bail on cue by pressing the two trigger buttons and the two analogue sticks down.

The Break-down

I could go on and on about this game for longer but I think I’ve said as much as I could without rambling about things you don’t really need to know or starting to make irrelevant points about things, so I’ll wrap it up now.

The Pros

  • Challenging
  • Variation of missions
  • Fun
  • Visually impressive
  • Great soundtrack

The Cons

  • Glitchy
  • Infuriatingly annoying pedestrians
  • You will need to repeat things over and over to get them right
  • Not everyone will like the difficulty
  • Easily forgettable multiplayer

The Conclusion

9/10

“A great game from every angle that won’t get boring very quickly!”

Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

October 17, 2009

Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum

By Mark Breen

Intro

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a game that came out August of 2009 on PS3. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed video game of this year. This is the highest rated superhero game of all time. I will be reviewing the PS3 version of this game which has the main game with all the challenge maps as usual, but has an added extra set of challenge maps where you can play as the Joker.

The Story

The story was good to say the least. The game didn’t need the story, as in, it wasn’t too important. If someone told you The whole ending, it wouldn‘t be the end of the world, you‘d probably just think, “Oh. That’s pretty cool.” As opposed to, “Thanks a lot Dumb Ass!”. If someone told you about some big boss fight or that a character that you didn‘t know was in it, you‘d more than likely think, “I can’t wait for that!” as opposed to, “I wanted to learn that for myself!”. It’s a, somewhat, un-spoilable game!

The Characters

The characters in this game are fantastic! Ranging from Batman and Jim Gordon, the good-guys, to Joker and The Riddler, the villains. Between the heroes and villains, there’re the simple-minded and, in a way, humble lunatics that occupy the asylum itself. Another thing in this game are the character bios. All 32 of them. You can learn about characters that have been around since the 40s, ones making their 1st appearances in this game and everyone in between. The voice acting in this game is some of the best that you’ll ever hear. The sound quality and actors themselves are fantastic.

The Gameplay

I’ll basically just say up-front, that the gameplay in general, is great! The FreeFlow combat in it is very well done. It’s easy enough, but not too easy, to get combos, they worked the counter, stun and dodge in well with the fighting itself, and this all helps when you’re doing the challenge maps or whoring combo trophies. The detective work is great and the stealth is even better. The parts where you have to take all the guards out 1-by-1? Executed fantastically, one of the best points of the game, and the good thing is that they keep it fresh, as in, some bits would have gargoyles for you to perch on and others you would go around the floor on foot, going through air vents. It’s a wide variety!

The Challenge Maps

The challenge maps are extra maps that you can play at any time outside of the main game. The first type of 3 that you’ll see is when you fight off enemies that respawn every round (4 rounds) You get achievements for getting up to and beyond a set score. The second, is a stealth mission where you take the armed enemies out 1-by-1 without being seen. You also get achievements for doing certain things, but they don’t tell you how to do them. The final one, is like the first, you fight off enemies, but you don’t get a break in between enemies. They keep coming until you die. There are variations on these called “Extreme” versions. This is the same as a previous mission, but it’s made harder by something that they add. On the PS3 version of this game, you’ll be able to download the “Play as the Joker” challenge maps which are the same as the Batman ones but you can play as, you guessed it, Joker.

The Boss Fights

The boss, I think, are good. Some people say that they’re “meh”, but I liked most of them. I can’t really make this section too long, as I don’t want to spoil them for you

Good Points

  • Good story and isn’t easy to spoil.
  • Great characters and back-stories. I mean come on, it’s Batman!
  • Great graphics and physics.
  • Amazing voice acting and actors.
  • You can roam around the island once finished the game.
  • Is a thrill to play some parts!
  • Extra maps (challenge maps) are great fun!
  • Great value for money!
  • Easy to get and well-working controls.
  • Stealth, free-roam, fighting and puzzles all make for great gameplay.

Bad Points

  • Can glitch sometimes.
  • Not all the boss fights are good.
  • Anti-climactic ending.

All in all, I loved this game. I thought that it was a great game to play, fun and challenging in a way that not many games can pull off. I’m giving it…

9/10

“This sets the bar for all superhero games in the future.”