Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gamerscore Update: 19/08/09

LOTS has happened in the way of achievement points and me in the last two weeks. I finished playing all of the games from my last update and got a whole bunch of new ones for this time. I'll run through these in the order I played them.

Armored Core 4
This game was awful and has one of the worst user interfaces I have ever seen in a game. So bad in fact that I had to turn off my game due to it and, thinking it auto saved after a few of the missions I had done, lots everything I had done. So I got 20 points. That is all.

Shellshock 2
This game is pretty dumb but I did get a decent amount of points for the hour or so I played. I got 11 for 175 points by going through the first three missions. A lot of them are from getting a certain number of kills without reloading specific guns. You also get a massive 40 point achievement for beating a level without dying. And that's pretty easy to obtain by going through the first mission on easy. Overall I am never going back to that game, I didn't enjoy it.

Ninja Gaiden 2
This game is mad hard, MAD hard. I got 20 points (3 achievements) for starting up the second level and playing through that. I never want to play this game again.

This is the big one. I finally sat down with a friend and made my way from the start to the end of this game. It actually gets a lot less creepy as you proceed through the game. Playing on easy also makes it that much easier since you will never die. I got a total of 47 of the 51 achievements, which is 900 of the possible 1100 points. Overall this was a good game that has some easy, easy points.

Rainbow Six Vegas
So since I made my way through the second game, it only makes sense to try the first one. I don't like the first Rainbow Six Vegas. There is not enough checkpoints. I got fed up by playing the same part over and over, getting further and further each time but still dying from like two hits and ending up at the same check point. You die far too easily. The second game was MUCH better than this. I got 6 achievements for 125 points.

Splinter Cell Double Agent
I'm not a Splinter Cell fan, never have been. I thought I should give one a try and this confirmed it. When it comes to stealth games, it's Metal Gear Solid or nothing. So I got 3 achievements for doing the two training missions and completing the first level. This got me 80 points and that's all I plan to get.

Tales of Vesperia
Once again I sat down and got a good chunk of this game done. I think I got around 5-10 hours more into that game. It never ends; but I realize that I enjoy its length. It's a great game with so much in it to do. I got 5 achievements this time for 75 points. This was mainly from clearing out all the Giganto Monsters and then a few for normal story bosses. The last 10 point achievement was from earning over 100 000 chips from gambling. I recommend doing this because their "poker" game is mad easy. I bet 500 chips in one hand and finished with over 700 000. A good way to get Gald is to then buy some of the items with your chips and go sell them. Then repeat.

Shadow Complex
This is the latest game I've played. It came out today and I've spent around two hours on it so far. I've gotten 4 achievements for 55 points but I am no where near finishing the game. I plan to get at least 5 more of the achievements to get and I'll try for the others depending on how long they take me. The game is great and is definitely worth the 1200 Microsoft Points.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Review: Wii Sports Resort - 9

Wii Sports Resort is the second game to feature the Wii Sports name and improves on everything from the first one. The main difference is the inclusion of the Wii MotionPlus peripheral that comes packaged with the game. Using this allows for a much higher level of sensitivity and really makes playing the game feel great. The 1:1 controls make you feel like you’re performing the actions more than any other game on the Nintendo Wii and boost this game beyond any previous mini game compilation.

The bundled Wii MotionPlus accessory plugs into the bottom of the Wii remote controller and adds more sensitivity and greater accuracy to the movements you make. For example, instead of the game knowing you made a diagonal slashing movement with your hand, it now knows the exact angle you swung your controller at. This causes each one of the games to feel more realistic and bring a new level of control to the console. The downfall with this is that it is mandatory that you have the Wii MotionPlus accessory in order to play. Wii Sports Resort is only shipped with one of these so you will not be able to play any multiplayer unless you purchase an addition peripheral. This brings the game up to around an $85 retail value just for wanting to play with one other person; any more people wanting to play at once will bring the price up that much higher.

This leads to the biggest problem with Wii Sports Resort; it can be a little boring when playing the game alone. Playing the game single player isn’t the best use of this game. Wii Sports Resort is designed as a multiplayer game and each activity is short enough to keep a group of players’ attention for a good deal of time. Taking the multiplayer aspect out of it defeats this purpose and will shorten your play time quite a bit.

Wii Sports Resort plays off the same gameplay set up as the first game by giving you a selection of sports and activities to play. However, this time there are far more options to choose from - five in the original and now twelve in this game. These choices consist of activities like Archery, Swordsplay, Basketball, Table Tennis and etc. Golfing and Bowling are also part of the list and make a return from the first Wii Sports game. Each game is set up very differently than the others and require much different hand movements in order to play them. Games like Frisbee will have you gently flicking the Wii remote horizontally while Canoeing will have you make stroking motions.

Of course, not all the activities are the best or work well with these controls. For example, Cycling has you shake the Wii remote and nunchuk up and down to make the bicycle move. Obviously this isn’t how you would normally ride the bike. It would have been better if they at least made you move the controllers in a circular motion to replicate the pedaling motion. However, most of the other games feel realistic and great to play.

Swordsplay is one that stands out above the rest by letting you take place in sword fights. You have the option to swing your sword in any direction you want. The ability to block is what really brings in some strategy to this game. Holding down the B button will cause your character to begin his blocking stance. From here, you need to watch your opponent’s strikes so you know which way to block. If your enemy attacks vertically, you need to block horizontally (and vice versa). This really brings some depth to the game for it allows you to strike back against anyone who thinks just waving the remote as fast as possible will lead to an easy win.

Frisbee is probably the next most intuitive since it allows you to tilt your disk to perform curves. Holding the Frisbee level will make it fly straight and the speed you flick, along with the timing of your release, will change its flight. Tilting it down will curve it in opposite direction as an upwards tilt – if you throw right handed and tilt it down, the Frisbee will fly more left. Along with the option to throw forehand the game really allows for some skilled throws. With the added difficulty of more targets to hit during one throw and wind speed, the game can get very challenging.

Another fan favorite is Archery. You play with the Wii remote in your left hand and hold it vertically in order to aim. Holding down the nunchuk’s Z button will zoom in while pulling back your right hand – that holds the nunchuk controller – will zoom in even further. From here you can carefully take aim as the cross hair-like ring slowly gets tighter. This allows for more accurate shots. The target is set up in rings; hitting closer to the center will award more points while the outer rings will be less. There are also many levels to play on and three difficulties to try out. Each stage will be at a new area on Wuhu Island (where Wii Sports Resort takes place) and shows off some of the unique characteristics of the area. Some courses will be on a rickety bridge while others will have your shooting inside a volcano. The higher difficulties will also add obstacles between you and the target. This allows for less planning time since you have a smaller window to shoot through. To make things more interesting, every stage has a hidden target to be found on it. These targets are much farther away than the main target and require a very exact shot to hit. This is a great feature that can keep you coming back for more, even if you’ve already mastered the highest difficulty.

A personal favorite is the Air Sports category. It consists of Skydiving, Dogfight and Island Flyover. Skydiving has you fall out of a plane and tilting the Wii remote in order to drift around and catch onto other skydivers. After you link up with someone a camera will count down and take your picture. Dogfight is the only competitive mode in this category and has you controlling a plan and using the A button to try and shoot at the opponents. You are set up with balloons that act like points and there are several locations on the island that will respawn with new ones. Your mission is to shoot down the other planes’ balloons while trying to collect the most for yourself.

Island Flyover is my personal favorite from all the Air Sports. You get five minutes to fly a plane all around Wuhu Island as you search for special locations. Each location is indicated by an icon that floats above it. Flying into the icon will award you with “collecting” it and some information about the spot. What makes it so great is that you can see everything the island has. This can range from the Swordsplay ring and the Bowling alley all the way to the inside of the volcano or the winding tunnels underneath and throughout the island. It really is a lot of fun to search for these spots while getting to see and learn more about this unique and fun resort. This mode can be played at three different day times: Daytime, Evening and Night. There are 80 spots to find and new information will be posted there depending on the time of day.

Along with all the sports to play, each on has its own set of stamps. These act like achievements that you can unlock during the game. For example, Island Flyover has one for collecting all 80 information points. Some are as easy as that, while others can be incredibly hard. You will come across ones asking for a bulls eye on every Archery course or completing the Table Tennis’s return challenge with over 200 points. These are a great addition to the game since they boost the replay value through the roof. You will constantly have something to try and unlock. Along with that, you are awarded levels each time you play the games. Each game has its own level to increase and doing well will make it move up higher. After reaching level 1000 you will unlock harder difficulties and from there can strive to reach level 2000. This makes the game last so much longer and allows the player something to work towards no matter how good they have become. This also helps give someone playing this game by themselves more to do. The inclusion of these stamps really helps fight the slightly dull aspect to playing Wii Sports Resort alone.

The graphics are also nice as far as the Nintendo Wii goes but do look updated from the original Wii Sports game. The water is great looking and despite some odd ripple effects it looks very realistic. There are also some nice sunlight effects to be seen, for instance, when playing Island Flyover during the evening. Other than that, you’re getting pretty standard Wii graphics. The music in the game is also nice and calm to really drive home the ease of play this game has. And along with cheery congratulatory remarks from the game when playing, it becomes that much more enjoyable.

Overall Wii Sports Resort holds up as one of the best mini game collections on this console to date. It improves on everything the original game has and adds tons of new features. Almost every sport is incredibly enjoyable and can be played for quite some time. The inclusion of a level system and the unlockable stamps lead the game to some very long replay value and cause you to play the activities in ways you wouldn’t normally. The only shortcomings are that playing alone can be a tad dry and with only one Wii MotionPlus accessory bundled with the game, multiplayer can end up costing you more than the standard video game retail price. However, when you do get some friends together, there is so much content for you to explore and enjoy.

Overall: 9/10

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can't wait

I think finally preordering this game has gotten me at the level of excitement I should be. I simply can't wait for it now and plan to be spending many a sleepless night working through it.

Here's a video from Kotaku showing some of Batman's gadgets at work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review: Splosion Man - 8

Splosion Man is a 2D side scrolling platformer where you make your way through some of the hardest and mind numbing levels ever imagined. There are a total of 50 levels to play in the main campaign and an additional 50 for multiplayer. The game presents itself nicely with sharp graphics and good humor but can begin to become quite tedious and frustrating very quickly.

Armed with the ability to “splode” you must explode yourself in order to jump or damage enemies. Your only option is to hit any of the four face buttons (A, B, X, Y) to cause you to blow up and propel yourself slightly upwards. You can continue to explode up to three times before you run out of energy. Sliding on a wall or standing still will recharge you instantly. You will come across enemies that can also neutralize your character and cause you to become vulnerable to enemy attacks. The game has a very simple set-up to its gameplay and uses it in tons of great ways.

Each level is very different and comes with its own unique perks. Some levels will have you dodge laser shooting robots and blowing up rocket launchers while others will pit you against rising acid as you use explosive barrels to propel yourself to safety. To keep things interesting, there is also a hidden item in each level. There is an entire cake to be found and is usually tucked away in a corner or some place that requires much more time and effort to reach.

On paper the game can seem quite easy, but the difficulty in Splosion Man is one of its biggest drawbacks. The game starts out easy enough as it introduces you to each of the game’s several mechanics that you’ll have to master. However, the game is set on split second timing and it doesn’t leave room for error. You will need to nail every jump and every landing almost perfect if you want to proceed. The difficulty also starts off quite quick making you deal with some extremely intense stage only after a few levels in.

However, the game counters this in every way it can. Each time you pass a certain section, you will come across a checkpoint. You will find a checkpoint every 30 seconds to a minute on each level. The game also features no load times during the stages so you aren’t sitting there after each death just waiting for the game to load the level again. Lastly, it includes the Way of the Coward option which lets you skip a level you have died on repeatedly. This is nice to keep you interested and not let you become permanently stuck as you get more and more frustrated. And though the levels may get incredibly hard, there’s enough charm and jokes in here to make you keep coming back to try.

The game also features up to four player cooperative play with 50 multiplayer specific levels. This brings the grand total of different and unique stages to play up to 100. Each of the multiplayer levels can be completed with a minimum of two people. However, having extra players to help cut down on time always helps. The addition of another splosion man also adds new elements to play with. For example: exploding off of one another to reach higher and farther platforms. This does make the split second gameplay yet again harder but the inclusion of a timer you can use (pressing LT) can help you and your team coordinate your jumps and explosions. This addition is quite nice when playing online with someone who doesn’t have a headset.

The multiplayer can be done local or on Xbox Live but at this time the online play is quite broken. When two separate Xbox’s are playing with each other, the games desynchronize from one another. This causes players to see the game at two different times. For example, one player will see the platform close to him while the other will see it far away. This renders the gameplay useless as you’re already up against some of the hardest stages imaginable. Also, any lag experienced what so ever will completely ruin your chances of succeeding. The only way to play with someone else is locally. It allows the game to remain constant and there is no chance for a lag in connection.

Splosion Man also looks great. It is set up on a two dimensional plain but the camera moves and rotates enough to shows the 3D space around you. This gives the game a 2.5 dimensional feel to it. The movements in the camera are also quite appreciated to help you see further down the hallway or the entirety of the room you are in. The stages are very well designed and feature great vibrant colors. The splosion man will also glow brighter with the more energy he has and become a burnt crisp when exploding too much.

The game’s sound is also quite good and very funny. The splosion man will constantly make weird and comical noises as you play. He will also choose to run and sound like a monkey every now and then. Also the addition of Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes and references are just great. Lastly, the humorous and lovely Donut Man song found on several stages is a great surprise and a real treat.

Overall Splosion Man is a fun and hilarious game that makes it a steal at only 800 Microsoft Points. The variety of levels, hidden items found throughout the game and a harder difficulty to unlock give the game loads of replay value. However, the difficulty can be quite harsh but with the whimsical appeal and enough help to keep you playing, the game manages to be fun enough to make it worth struggling through. And though the online multiplayer being broken is a real shame, getting some friends over and playing locally is great and doubles the length of the entire game. Splosion Man is a great and charming game and despite a few draw backs, it becomes an easy recommendation for anyone.

Overall: 8/10

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gamerscore Update: 04/08/09

These last two weeks were a big one. Some new games, some old ones; just a lot in general.

Gears of War 2
I played quite a bit, mainly this weekend due to the double experience awarded. I really wanted to get my online rank to 25 to get that achievement. Dark Corners was also released to the public so I could finally play with people. I mainly did Horde so I could work on those achievements. Since my last update i got 195 point from this time which is ten new achievements. This brings my total to 63 out of 79 which is 990 points.

Halo Wars
I received the Historic Battles downloadable content pack for review so I got a couple of points from playing that. I got 45 points from three achievements. I only got one of the achievements from the DLC and two just for winning some online games. My total for the game is 17 out of 58 which translates to 375 out of 1200.

Splosion Man
I finally downloaded this game after seeing the Quick Look on Giant Bomb. This is probably the only game from this year's Summer of Arcade (I may get Shadow Complex, haven't decided). The game is great and I should have a review up either later tonight or tomorrow. I finished the entire game (minus the multiplayer) and got 8 out of the 12 achievements - 100 out of 200 points. I eagerly look forward to some of the new avatar awards to be incorporated in it.

Rainbow Six Vegas 2
I borrowed this off my friend and it's pretty whatever in my opinion. I played through the first two levels and part of the last one. So far I have 7 out of the 47 achievements which is 115 out of 1000 points. I plan to complete the rest of the game so I should have another hundred or so to come.

Overal Gamerscore: 41 015

Monday, August 3, 2009