Anime Online - Reviews, Community, Series, Wallpapers en-us Sun, 01 Feb 2015 10:26:55 +0000 PhotoPost ReviewPost 5.2 60 Audiosurf Wed, 08 Dec 2010 17:47:49 +0000 <a href=""><img title="audiosurf_characters.png" border="0" src="" alt="audiosurf_characters.png" /></a><br /><br />by: Lord Canti<br /><br />Description: Ah yes a very very VERY fun game I have just started playing, already have almost 10 hours of game play and just got the game yesterday really. ^^; Yes its that addicting. But here we go and now its time for you to learn to Audiosurf :3 (Audiosurf is an award-winning[4]puzzle/rhythm hybrid game created by Invisible Handlebar, a personal company created by Dylan Fitterer.[5] Its track-like stages visually mimic the music the player chooses, while the player races across several lanes collecting colored blocks that appear in sync with the music. The game was released on February 15, 2008 over Steam; the full version was for a long time only available for purchase through Steam, but was later released as a retail product in Europe, by Ascaron. Audiosurf is the first third party game to use Valve's Steamworks technology. The Zune HD version was also released as Audiosurf Tilt.) Basic outline of it from Wikipedia so you know who its made by and such things. Gameplay and Features: Audiosurf is an amazing 3D like game in which you use Music from your computer and ride the song in miniature space ships collecting color blocks either for points, powerups or to avoid hitting gray blocks. It contains game modes and difficulties for all sorts of riders and different rules for the colors. Each color has a different score: Red-80, Yellow-50, Green-30, Cyan-20 and Purple-10. You also see White and Black blocks that give you 2000 bonus points if they are at the bottom of a column. If you fill up a column with uneven matches you get penalized and lose points and you cannot collect colors for about 10 seconds. This is called Overflow and with Ironman on you fail the song when this is done. Theres also the option to change the colors you see in the options menu. There are 3 difficulty levels, Casual, Pro and Elite with Six different game modes: Mono, Pusher, Eraser, Vegas, Double Vision, and Pointman. Each game mode has their own unique craft for you to use and the abilities of each vary from which difficulty level you play. There are online leader boards and every time you finish a song you are automatically placed in the top, Globally, if your score is high enough. You can get all sorts of points boosts by what you do in the game or what mode your playing on. Such point modifiers are: Clean finish, Stealth, Match 21,11,7, seeing red, butterstick, and Ironman. Clean finish-Finishing with no colors of sorts in your collector Stealth-Hitting no grays in a mono ride Match 21,11,7-Collecting colors of those multitudes for a bonus score. Seeing red- Collecting the majority of red blocks on a ride Butter Ninja- Collecting the majority of yellow blocks on a ride Ironman-completing a ride with its intensity up and difficulty as well. Cannot over flow a column or you fail the song. Game modes Note: Casual non mono modes use only three colors: Red, Yellow, Cyan Casual modes: Mono- You simply hit colors and avoid grey blocks, very easy and relaxing. Pointman-You hold the the space bar for hint arrows and right click when you come upon a block and left click to use it later for a good bonus score. Double Vision-You can play with a friend or by yourself. You use two crafts on a ride and try to get a really big score since your points are pretty much doubling. Challenging by yourself but still fun. One person can use the mouse while the other the arrow keys or specific keys on the keyboard. Pro: Note: Pro non mono modes use four colors-Red, Yellow, Cyan and purple Mono Pro- An upgrade from mono where the speed is faster and there are more gray blocks. You push right click to jump and left click to widen your block grabbing ability so you can hit three lanes at once. My personal favorite. Vegas: Hold right click to shuffle the board once your start collecting all sorts of colors. Helps generate powerups to make amazing bonuses! Eraser- Pick a color and make it disappear with right click then bring it back with left click for good bonuses when your have alot of that same color. Pointman Pro- An upgraded version of pointman, you capture the blocks and store them for later. Pusher- You hold right click or left click to move color blocks left or right into the column you want. DV Pro- An upgraded version of Double vision thats faster and more challenging. Highly advised to play with another person ^^ Elite -cue epic music- Note: With elite non mono modes all five colors- Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Purple Ninja Mono- The hardest difficulty on mono in which right click you shoot the grays you collect as shurikens(not advised) and the left click you spread your fins to collect out of reach color blocks. Very hard and fast yet still fun. Its insane with the ironman mode on. Eraser Elite- Hardest difficulty for eraser, same as the first. Erase your mistakes and bring back colors to make good chains Pointman elite- Hardest difficulty for Pointman, you left click the blocks to capture them and put them where you need them. Pusher Elite- Hardest difficulty for Pusher, you push the blocks from side to side to create the chain you need. Very challenging yet insanely fun. DV Elite- Hardest difficulty for Double Vision, insanely hard to do by yourself since your eyes are everywhere but! Not impossible to do by yourself. Visuals Warning: NOT FOR PEOPLE WITH EPILEPSY!! YOU WILL HAVE A SEIZURE FROM THE COLOR CHANGING!! They also have a warning screen before the game starts up. I just had to put this by itself. The graphics are stunning! The colors themselves will leave you in awe and inspire you to continue to playing. In the options menu you can change the way you see the colors. You can change the screen affect from Negative, Rust(dark metallic colors), Outline (colors are outlined, kinda looks like a coloring book, and Paint(everything looks watercolor like but still amazing. With also four different graphic details: Minimal, Normal, Enhanced, Premium. You can also change the background color from White, Black or Gray. Mix and match background colors with screen affects to make even more amazing visuals. They even have a free ride mode where you just watch the screen change colors with either the classic mode in which you use, I assume from what it looks like, the first ship they made and you dodge the changing color blocks while listening to music of your choice. You can toggle auto pilot with spacebar. Or you can pick Visualizer where you just sit back and watch color changing visuals and listen to music. Very relaxing ^^Its just hard to explain how amazing it looks and how smooth the colors just flow, its like swimming in a wonderus paint swirl. Reception: Audiosurf was positively received with the broad majority of critics. On Metacritic, the title holds an average of 85 out of 100, suggesting favorable reviews.[7] 1UP awarded Audiosurf an &quot;A&quot; rating citing the massive replay value.[8] IGN gave the title an 9.0 out of 10, and stated that &quot;[Audiosurf is] one of those games that offers something for everyone.&quot;[9] Eurogamer were slightly less impressed, giving the game a 7 out of 10, criticizing its rough edges, yet remained convinced that the title had enough potential to become &quot;a bite-sized obsession.&quot; From wikipedia Final thoughts: I had saw this in a trance video by Dj Sharpnel, someone was using this program. I went to find out what it was and discovered something purely amazing. Though it costs to play the full version its worth every penny. The demo just teases you with only four to six songs of your choice to ride with a few game modes, All of casual and pusher D: . I just couldn't wait to buy it, it kept me up all night and I bought it as soon as I found out how much money I had through Steam. Its also a big fan of Jrock and Jpop since its Jpop week right now so Japanese music fans should be happy about that :3 Its just a purely amazing and addictive game that will keep you entertained from the most serious of gamers to those who like to go along for the ride ^_^ Xenosaga Episode 1 Mon, 27 Jul 2009 05:28:53 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Xenosaga_Episode_1.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Xenosaga_Episode_1.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: FLawEdmiNd<br /><br />Description: Xenosago Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht is a sci-fi RPG released for Playstation2 developed by Monolith Soft and distributed through Namco. Der Wille zur Macht is a reference to the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who published many books, three among them lend their titles to the Xenosaga trilogy. 'The Will to Power' in English. Many things are going on at once in the story of Xenosaga. Three separate storylines that converge into one make for some great gameplay. In the beginning there was a ship, floating in space and temporary home to Shion Uzuki, head of the KOS-MOS project. On a transport mission to deliver a Zohar Emulator to the Galaxy Federation the mysterious beings known as Gnosis attack and successfully get away with the Emulator. After much drama Shion and co. are rescued by the Elsa. While that all is going down, orders have been given to Ziggurat &quot;Ziggy&quot; 8 to find and rescue a prototype realian containing ultra-valuable information from the U-TIC Organization, one of the main villains. After obtaining MOMO, Ziggy is then instructed to head for Second Miltia. Except that's not allowed. More fighting which eventually leads Ziggy and MOMO to the Elsa, where both forces team up on U-TIC. After which they combine forces and go on their merry way. Encountering a huge Gnosis on their way Shion and co. are aided by Jr and the Kukai Foundation, which is being charged with the destruction of the Woglinde (above mentioned ship). Diving into the Encephlon to retrieve KOS-MOS' black box proves the Gnosis attacked and that the Kukai Foundation is not guilty. A pivotal character is met during their dive, one whom dictates the next phase in the stoy. In the shortest amount of words: the great villain of Xenosaga managed to capture MOMO is a staged attack on the Kukai Foundation and hides her away in the Song of Neplilim. In his madness he calls Proto Merkabah (from seemingly nowhere..) to destroy Second Miltia and the Kukai Foundation, of course the party breaches the space station and retrieves MOMO ultimately destroying Proto Merkabah. However, the damage has already been done. To explain the story more would leave me at risk of spoiling the whole game. This is the definition of RPG. Playing the game for the story. Ultimately the goal of Xenosaga is to protect the Zohar, an ancient relic discovered on Earth before it was destroyed, and to ensure the Y-Data does not fall into the hands of those who wish to meddle with the universe. Throughout the game the implication of such defense may anger the player, as this means you must travel long and far aided by few save points, fewer item boxes, and much stronger enemies. The battle system is classic turn-based fighting with little alterations; enemies hold fixed positions on the map so the player can usually choose which battles they would fight, though the enemy will chase you if you're spotted. For the purpose of leveling it is wise to fight each foe on the map. In battle characters have ether, tech, and skill options to help them defeat whomever. Ether is the magic of Xenosaga and is rarely necessary beyond healing until your characters aren't so weak. HP is so scarce that wasting a turn with something like +speed is useless unless it's part of a plan and the character is boosted. Or it's the boss and you have some time. The boost gauge fills during battle which allows the player a choice of giving an immediate turn to whichever character they chose i.e. it's Jr's turn and Shion is boosted. Right after Jr is finished his actions regardless of who's next in line, Shion plays. You can continue like this for as long as your boost gauge allows . Tech refers to special attacks characters can make during battle, at a certain AP cost. These attacks vary between characters and sometimes hit harder on certain types of enemies/carry status effects. AP, or action points, dictate the attacks available to player. At different periods in the game the player controls A.G.W.S. pronounced 'eggs' which are small mechs that don't have really have anything special, besides the fact they can't use ether or items. Their stats may be higher but the limits placed on them almost ruins the experience. The graphics of this game are relatively under par showing many jagged edges and things that could simply be designed better. One might wonder why so much attention was given to the story line and less time spent on arty stuff. Seeing is believing you. That aside, the massive space battles against crazy aliens look great and the more important cut scenes look very appealing too. They could be considered a little treat to the player for enduring the confusing puzzles only to be met with 10 minutes of filler cut scenes. I wasn't very aware of the music in Xenosaga except during oh-my-gosh battles or the frequent scenes involving death, angst, wtfness, revelations, admonitions, confessions, and that one cut scene were everyone was happy was for a change. Those times when I heard the music it was very fitting of the atmosphere and sounded amazing. Xenosaga has a bad reputation for it's mighty cut scenes I heard. It is true that once a cut scene starts you can get up, fill your drink, grab a bag of chips and sit back but it's worth actually watching whats going on instead of driving yourself nuts with impatience. The story is so rich with detail that skipping ahead to the better part isn't relevant. Overall I would say the best part of this Xenosaga is the story. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES Fri, 12 Jun 2009 00:30:19 +0000 <a href=""><img title="persona3fes.JPG" border="0" src="" alt="persona3fes.JPG" /></a><br /><br />by: Tano-kun<br /><br />Description: [B]Story[/B] Somewhere in the heart of Japan, a great catastrophe that happened years ago has greatly affected the victims of the mysterious incident responsible by the Kirijo Corporation. After the main character has been away for ten years, he comes back only to find out about the Shadows and world of Tartarus. The SEES (Special Extracurricular Execution Squad) recruits him after a sudden ambush of the school dorm, which unlocks the main characterís Persona. Can the SEES group make amends for the mistake of the Kirijo Corporation and find out the root of the cause for this incident? [B]Review[/B] Itís very accurate in the daily routine of school. Of course, thereís some difference only because itís based on the school system in Japan, but other than that, it does have certain dťjŗ vu feeling. From waking up in the morning to taking tests, the game gives a great taste of school life in different point of view. The Persona interconnected with social relationships (social links) make this game very elaborate. In a sense, the idea of strengthening ourselves through relationships actually makes a good point. As human beings, we are born to the socially active. During the battle sequence, there is a very useful list of various commands used. Moving around finding enemies has some advantages. For instance, commanding your group to split up to either search or attack. Sometimes, it can be useful; but if your members are weak when battling Shadows individually, then itís not a wise choice to use this command. In addition, I love the knock down move that happens after all enemies are down. [B]Final Thoughts[/B] Overall I had a great time with playing Persona 3 FES. Considering this was probably my first RPG/Simulation game (actually it was P3), Atlus has done an awesome job with combining various things that make the game special. I commend their efforts and hope they will continue with this series last for at least a couple of decades. [B]Rating[/B] Ė 10/10 World of warcraft Mon, 19 Jan 2009 19:54:23 +0000 <a href=""><img title="world-of-warcraft-1.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="world-of-warcraft-1.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Little negi sensei<br /><br />Description: Ok this is truley a great game and un-like alot of mmorpg's this game has a story.You get the story when you first enter the world.Dont worry you dont have to read.This game has an ingame chat channel and an out of game chat channel.Millions of people play so you have no problem finding people to help you.There are 10 diffrent races.Humans,gnomes,dwarfs,night elfs, dreni,undead, blood elfs, tarun,trolls and orcs.And from there theres diffrent classes.Hunter,mage,warrior,warlock, ect.If you still think im jivin ya you can get a 10-day free trial at WARNING-------This game is highly addictive it will cause you to forget everything you love in life if your not careful.Or it will make your house VERY dirty as you can see from the picture.and yes people actually have houses lookin like that because they sit day and night playing it. In my perfect world this game gets a 100,000,000 out of 10.Yes its that good. Fable II Sat, 25 Oct 2008 09:27:15 +0000 <a href=""><img title="fable2_051908_15687.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="fable2_051908_15687.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: aceman67<br /><br />Description: [b]Outline[/b] Fable takes place in Albion, 500 years after the first game. The Hero's Guild is no more, done away with centuries ago when the fabled hero's became complacent and useless. The old ways of Strength, Skill and Will are all but a memory. You start the game as a penniless street-urchin, who, with your sister, buy a music box from the &quot;Old Kingdom&quot; era that has the magical power to grant its users one wish, which is to live in a grand Castle, like the one they can see over looking the now vast city of Bowerstone. But when they use it, it disappears. Disappointed you and your sister go to sleep in the cold winter night, only to be awakened by the Castle guards, having been summoned to the Castle to speak with Lucien Fairfax. Lucien is researching old kingdom artifacts and history, especially those pertaining to Heroes. After having you and your sister step onto what appears to be a Cullis gate, it begins to glow. Lucien informs that both of you are of a special bloodline, that you are the &quot;Fourth&quot;, and that neither of you can be allowed to live. He shoots your sister then turns his gun on you, and you fall from a window to the streets below, where Theresa, the blind seeress cares for you. Ten years pass and you set out on your own with your trusted canine companion to forge your own destiny and get revenge for the death of your sister. [b]Gameplay[/b] The gameplay in Fable 2 is a huge improvement over the first installment. All combat was reduced to one button for each talent, X for strenth, Y for Skill (If you develop this skill, you can use the left trigger to select which parts you wan to shoot while doing an aimed shot), and B for will (If your hero learns more then one ability, the Left trigger can be held down to select different spells). The combat itself is very smooth. Melee combat is very easy to master and is actually remenisent of the Prince of Persia series. Raged combat with Pistols, Crossbows or Rifles is well executed and very intuitive. All will ablities default to Area Effect which can be turned into a directional by pointing the left control stick towards an enemy. My only beef with the Will Abilities in fable 2 is that they removed a heal spell, making you rely on potions and food (Which is another beef I have since 2 thirds of the games food make you fat (And only one type of food, Celary, makes you thin, and its very hard to come by) and most of them give an Alignment bonus, either pure or currupt). All weapons in Fable 2 are in different quality classes, rusty, iron, steel and master. Melee weapons have Longsword, Cutlass, Katana, Mace, Axe and Hammer. Ranged weapons have Pistols (Weak but quick reload), Rifles (Powerful but slow reload), and Crossbows (A balence between the two). The economy in the game is amazing. whether you spend or perform jobs in a town can directly effect whether that town prospers and grows (And grow it will). Another cool thing is that every property, houses and shops, with a few exceptions, can be purchased, making it possible for the player to literally buy everything, which can make you mayor of a town, or emperor of Albion. Gone is the minimap, and to replace it, you have a dog, and a pretty realistic one at that. Your dog will follow you where ever you go and can even assist you in combat, and help you track down treasures, if you give him enough training. Because the minimap is gone, Lionhead saw fit to give you some kind of assistance in finding things in the game, which is 10 times larger then the original fable, by giving a golden pixie dust trail to quest objectives, making it virtually impossible to get lost if you take a wrong turn. This doesn't always work with some quests (Like the Archeologist quests), in these instances, you have your dog to help you out. Family life in Fable 2 was greatly expanded. It is possible to get married, have multiable children, and even have more then one family if your skillful enough. Because of this, Lionhead also added protected and unprotected sex, and along with it, STD's if you're not careful. [b]Finishing up[/b] All in all, Fable 2 is a excellent game. The story line is great and isn't a handholding experience like the first game. You really are free to do things your own way, and everything you do has lasting effects on the world around you. A solid 9/10. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Fri, 19 Sep 2008 05:37:20 +0000 <a href=""><img title="148241_wallpaper_star_wars_the_force_unleashed_03_1280_1.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="148241_wallpaper_star_wars_the_force_unleashed_03_1280_1.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: aceman67<br /><br />Description: I just got done playing the game, and I have to say, its not what I expected, but its far from a terrible game. Worth the $59.99 I shelled out for it. Its a good button masher and the visuals are amazing. The environments could have been a little more destructable but when you get down too it, using the environment against your opponents all the time will actually get you killed, especially later on in the game when youíre facing hordes of them and the only things you can rely on is your lightsabler, jumping, and force lightning. The story was pretty decent, kept you wanting to finish the story just to see how things ended. Voice acting by the main characters were good, but more work could have been done on the secondary ones. I also wish they had James Earl Jones doing the voice of Vader, but the guy they got (Matt Sloan) did a believable job. The best voice acting I found was done by Jimmy Smits, who played Bail Organa in the game and the Movies as well. As for gameplay, some parts of it are well executed, like the jedi duals, while others, not so much, like some of the camera work in some areas (It can work against you in some areas which can get you killed), and your characters interaction with the environment while walking around (You occationally get stuck on some invisable little bit on the ground that you have to jump over to get around). All in all the game comes off as polished and complete with some minor jaggyness around the edges. An 8/10 in my books. Crisis Core: FF7 (US Version) Sun, 07 Sep 2008 05:53:23 +0000 <a href=""><img title="925138_69620.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="925138_69620.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Trunks<br /><br />Description: [img][/img] First off I will just say I loved the game, but there are a few areas I'm going to note on in my review that could have used a bit of work. So don't think this is any sort of hate-bashing review, because it isn't. First I will cover the scales. 1 is the worst, 10 is the best [b]Story: 10 - [i]Accurate and informative. Takes you back and reveals the FF7 history[/i][/b] [b]Battle System: 6 -[i] I will explain this in detail below as to why it is a 6[/i] Game Mechanics: 8 - [i]Decent convenience factors added such as stores and missions from the main menu[/i] Replay Value: 5 to 8 - [i]situational based, will explain below[/i] Graphics &amp; Visuals: 10 - [i]Top notch for a hand held[/i] Game flow: 8 -[i] This is how often you actually get to play the game without being interrupted by cut scenes or movies[/i] Mini-games: 7 -[i] Some are enjoyable, others are very tedious after a while[/i] Over-all: 8.5 - [i]Extremely enjoyable, has a few faults, but none detract too much from the overall enjoyment.[/i][/b] ------- Further Explanations of above noted sections, note these are going to be the faults I found, that doesn't mean this game is bad, it just means it has these faults as any game has a few: [b]Battle system-[/b] You may be asking why I rated this so low, well... while the non turn-based elements that they incorporated into this game are good in theory, in practice they are a bit cumbersome in places. The first place they missed a bit here, was the DMW system. Now you might be thinking, &quot;Yes, I have read about how people don't like the system&quot;. The problem is, it is not that I don't like the system, I just think that they could have polished a few elements with it. I will name these polish points as &quot;smudges&quot;. [b]First smudge - 'phase modulations'[/b], you will on countless occasions run into a situation where you are JUST about to finish off the last monster and end a battle when you get forced into one of these phase modulations. Sure it's cool the first few times to finish off the monster with a cool attack, but after this happens 20+ times it will start to irritate you because you just want to kill that last monster and move on. A lot of the times when this happens you will get either a useless result out of it, No result, or a longer attack that finishes off the monster but was a waste of time since you were just about to deal the killing blow with your sword. The useless result factor comes into play when you get a buff to an element that was already maxed/buffed before the phase modulation. They also on occasion added flashing images while the DMW is spinning the middle image. These images cannot be bypassed after seeing them a first time, which wastes even more of your time. This also leads into my next area to cover. [img][/img] [b]These seem to pop up at very inconvenient times.[/b] [b]Smudge two, Phase Modulation Attacks[/b] - Aside from not being able to skip the aforementioned images the attacks that come from the DMW also cannot be skipped. The summon attacks you get can be skipped, however only certain ones. Why SE (Square-enix) chose to punish the player like this by making them watch the same attacks over and over without the option to bypass them after the first few times is beyond me. It just adds even more wasted time to what could have otherwise been a good idea, if only they added an option to skip these after the first time it would have been MUCH better. Do you as a player honestly -WANT- to sit through the same 5-10sec long attack sequence over 50 times throughout the game? I didn't either. You can also land a 'late' phase modulation attack which will occur after you've killed all the monsters. That means you will have to watch the sequence anyway, even after the battle should have ended. [img][/img] [b]Can't be skipped, why can't it be skipped?[/b] That is it for the things that could have been fixed with the DMW, the next aspect that didn't seem to work quite as well as it could have, would be the pace of the battles being too fast to actually execute needed commands. You will be left running and dodging just so you can use a healing item, or curative spell. It isn't hard to scroll over to items or a spell, but with the speed of the battles and the constant attacks coming from the monsters it makes it very difficult to pull off. Far more difficult that it needs to be. This adds to the 'cumbersome' factor that I mentioned above. [b]Replay Value elements mentioned above:[/b] This game has replay value, that I won't deny, however depending on how you played the first time through it could either have great replay value, or almost none at all. If you went through the game the first time just to see the story and play the game casually then the second play-through with the New Game+ will be enjoyable. However, if you spent time getting levels, powerful items, and doing all the missions then your second play through will be so easy that most replay value will be taken out. The only remaining value at that point would be to watch the story a second time. While this is enjoyable the rest of the game will have almost all of the challenge removed. I don't recommend a New Game+ if you went through and made your character a powerhouse. If you fit this category then you will get more replay value if you simply start the game over from scratch. [img][/img] [b]A very young Cloud, if my time-line for FF7 is correct he is supposed to be 16 in CC.[/b] Finally, I am going to cover missions. Since this is one of the major side-quests/mini-games in CC. This is also why that section only received a 7. Mission, these were a GREAT idea, HOWEVER, poorly implemented. Why do I feel these were poorly implemented? I feel SE wasted far too much time working on the quantity of missions, but didn't spend as much time working on their quality. As you play through them you will notice there are only about 10-15 maps total that get recycled over and over again in different ways. There are some places where dialogue is also recycled. However there are very few missions where you actually get dialogue, and only one mission where you get dialogue scenes in every sub-mission. The lack of dialogue adds to the fact that they didn't have any real storyline added to the missions. It was pretty much just: Accept mission, collect items in a recycled map, find and fight mission objective boss/monsters, rinse and repeat. After the first 150 or so missions of doing exactly what I just mentioned it will get painfully tedious. All tedium could have been removed had they just cut the missions in half, to say 150, and used the rest of the time adding quality to them. In other words, adding storyline or making a larger selection of maps. Personally I don't care if they recycled the maps, but I wish they added some sort of storyline to missions so that they weren't just the same exact thing repeated over and over again x300. In fact, after the 153rd or so mission I started to get more enjoyment out of reading the Shinra briefs you get when selecting the mission than doing the missions themselves. ----- Phew! Now with all of that out of the way (Sorry I am long winded) I'll get to the actual review since I covered a lot of things above this might be shorter than the above areas. CC, being the prequel to the very famous FF7 delivers what I consider to be a KO punch as a game. The storyline does not disappoint you, if you were playing this game in hopes to learn what happened before FF7 then you will not be disappointed. The flow of the story I felt was very smooth and well organized. From the development of bonds such as you will see Cloud and Zack form, to Sephiroth's descent into insanity. All of this in recognizable locations from FF7 that have been redone in stunningly beautiful graphics. The game starts out right away grabbing you firmly with a great action movie sequence done in what can only be described as PS3 quality graphics. I was shocked at just how detailed and realistic this was for a hand-held system. The real-time graphics (what you see when you are running around fighting, etc) are not as high quality as the movie sequences, but they are still amazing. The movies give the graphics a 10, while the real-time graphics get an 8. They are still visually amazing for a hand-held system. [img][/img] CC has also added something new to familiar elements such as materia. They have added what they call a materia fusion system. While I found this system to be a bit more confusing that it needs to be you can easily find information about it online and it adds a bit of an interesting twist and gives you something to work toward in strengthening a certain materia with specific stats. If you just wish to experiment it will provide plenty of that. However if you plan to seriously work on it then I'd highly suggest reading up on it because it is very difficult to figure some things out on your own. Phoenix downs in this game have also received a slight change in functionality. Since you are the only one that will be fighting monsters and bosses instead of using it on a fallen comrade you either use it on yourself during battle, or out of battle. What this then does is give you a buff called &quot;raise&quot; that does not go away until you die. When you die this buff instantly revives you with full HP. Very helpful for certain bosses, what this basically means is, if you have enough phoenix downs you can survive indefinitely as long as you always keep one active on yourself. The battle system, as mentioned above, goes off of the new DMW system. Which is something like a slot machine. Most of which consists of random results and overall not one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. Adds a bit too much of a clunky and at times very interrupting element to the game. It is also incorporated into how you level up. Now, while I was not overly thrilled with how you level up in this game, I've learned that it is far from random. The level up system goes based off of what would seem like random DMW spins, but there is still hidden EXP that comes into play. When you get a certain amount of EXP over what you need for your level the DMW will have a 100% chance to hit the level up spin. This was confirmed when I was cursed and fought for about an hour, then after the curse wore off leveled up 5 times in a row. A level up is gained when you get a &quot;jackpot&quot; or 777 on the modulating phase screen as shown below. [img][/img] I didn't much care for the &quot;Activating Combat Mode&quot; and &quot;Conflict Resolved&quot; messages before and after every battle. Had they given you the option to enable or disable these then it would have been alright. The problem here is that after these messages happen for the 500th time they will start to either get stuck in your head, give you a headache, or just become -really- irritating. CC brings back an old element that you might have seen in other games you may have played. The ability to break the traditional 9999 values that we've been accustomed to, with the use of special accessories and materia fusion. With the right items you can get your HP to 99,999, and your MP and AP to 9999. Furthermore you have the ability to do upwards of 99,999 damage with a single attack. It all depends on what you have equipped and what abilities you use. In CC you get two combat bars other than your HP. The other two would be your MP, and your AP. MP should be self-explanatory, it is used to cast magic spells. Your AP is used for special attack materia, one such example is an attack materia that has you spin in a circle and attack all enemies around you in a 360 degree strike. There are many many other different types of attack materia that do all sorts of things, but you'll have to find out for yourself. The musical score in this game has been mixed up a bit. There is old and recognizable themes, some that have been revamped, and others that have not been. This is mixed with a all new musical score that personally I found to be enjoyable. I am one for nostalgia, so I personally would have liked to see more of the old FF7 music in this game, but that's just me. Another nice aspect is how much they pack into the main menu to make things easier. You can shop from the main menu, accept missions (if you are at a save point), and do materia fusion. Adds a bit more of an easy access to the game, though this also means at the same time it takes out a bit of the exploration you do in games where you would run around different places to do said things. Though that isn't missed to terribly with how well the game flows from location to location. [img][/img] So what this all boils down to is a very solid game, it has a few places where it could have been improved upon, some places where painful tedium could have been removed, and a few irritating elements that could have either been redone, or completely removed. However no game is going to be perfect in every aspect, this one makes up for the few issues with a compelling and immersive storyline, an overall nostalgic feel, high quality and breath-taking graphics, and a cast of enjoyable characters, new and old. You can actually connect with the characters in this one on an emotional level, which you don't get very often anymore. You know, the kind of connection that you made back in FF7 with Aerith, and as you know what happened with her. This holds true in this game, even for those of you who already know how this one ends. For those of you who don't, I won't spoil it. I highly recommend this to anyone, as it is one of the best games for the PSP. I highly recommend this to anyone, as it is one of the best games for the PSP. [img][/img] [b]Amazing graphics for a hand-held, just wow.[/b] [i] Image copyright: All images used for review have their rights reserved by their respective creators and have been used only for example and display purposes. No claim of ownership has been placed on any images.[/i] Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Sun, 13 Jul 2008 04:07:25 +0000 <a href=""><img title="metal-gear-solid-4-portada.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="metal-gear-solid-4-portada.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: All legends must end. Such was the tagline for the game in the trailers, but I think most of what was legendary ended with MGS3. [b] Plot[/b] To explain the plot in detail would be massive spoilers and would substitute as a college senior thesis, suffice it to say, Snake, Otacon and the Colonel are hot on the trail of Liquid after his disappearence from the Big Shell incident. [b]Gameplay[/b] I must say, the game play is an interesting blend of MGS3 stealth, and modern FPS controls. MGS4 eschews the typical control scheme for something a little more enabled for gunplay. It programs everything quite well, and maps a lot of environmental actions to a central action key (triangle). The Octocamo, snake's main uniform, will take the hue of those around it, which is an interesting change from dozens of different uniforms. The arsenal arrays literally over a hundred different weapons ranging from the standard issues (M4's, M9's, Mk23's and the like) to truly unique gun geek easter eggs (like the flintlock rifle, or the affinity for the entirety of H&amp;K's catalog) The controls are [fairly] smooth, only suffering in some parts when you want to hug up against a wall, and forwhatever reason you are too far/close/verticle/horizontal to trigger the action toggle. My biggest complaint is in how Konami's own hype machine boasted how new the combat would be. Each soldier supposedly has an emotional predisposition which is visited on the battlefield. Soldiers will be scared, pumped up, or depressed, and allegedly, this would make a difference in the game. Not only is it nearly impossible to affect, but it is only really featured in the first act. Similarly, the &quot;moral&quot; dynamics of choosing to aide, or not aide a side of a conflict are only seen in the first two acts. All of these things that were toted as being new and revolutionary, like the expansion card in Perfect Dark, or the Geomod from Red Faction, are actually surprisingly limited in their scope. [b]Sights and Sounds[/b] A+ on weapon sounds detail. A+ on military manuevers and detail. However, having lauded it, I have to complain about what everyone else is complaining about: the cut-scenes. We simply do not need forty-five minute cut-scenes. MGS4 was in a hurry to tie up all of its loose ends, and did so at the sacrifice of actual time behind the controller. The only good news is that they have virtually eliminated codec conversations in their previous form, and have made them at least a little more bearable, the few that did stick around. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] Perhaps it is expectation, perhaps it is precedent, but as solid (hur hur) as MGS4 was as a game, MGS3 still trumps it in my mind. MGS4 has wonderful gameplay, and a lot of Easter Eggs, but it borders on being a little bit too self-referential, especially when it does not have to be. It ties everything together in a way that seems to be convoluted for the sake of being convoluted, and goes out of its way on several occasions to tie in one more joking reference to one of the first games. Final Verdict: 8.7/10 Blue Dragon Thu, 17 Jan 2008 06:04:06 +0000 <a href=""><img title="425px-Blue_Dragon.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="425px-Blue_Dragon.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: Three titans of the Japanese RPG: Hironobu Sakaguchi, legendary designer of the Final Fantasy Franchise, Akira Toriyama, famed character designer of Dragonball and Chrono Trigger, and Nobuo Uematsu, brilliant composer of the Final Fantasy games, all come together to create this star studded bucket of fail. [b]Plot[/b] Every year, a purple cloud descends over the land and terrible destruction is left in its wake. For this village, it comes in the form of a land shark. Of course, this year, plucky young protagonist, Shu, has decided that he's going to stop it! He doesnít. One thing leads to another, and he leads a party of miscreants on a quest of good natured vengeance. [b]Sights and Sounds[/b] Being so used to playing RPGs on the PS2, it's hard then to remember that games can look as good as they do on the Xbox360. Still, having said that, I always feel like I'm being cheated when I see a game that relies on cell shading. There is just so much potential working behind the system. Technical griping aside, the game does look pretty good. One of the biggest things that bugged me about the game, other than the cast, which will I will address in a moment, is the voice that constantly feels like it has to narrate the dumbest details: every time your characters part for even the most brief span of time, when they come together again, a subtle female voice will mechanically whisper, &quot;join&quot;. Whenever you end a cut-scene, she will say &quot;playable&quot;. When you check something, and there is nothing, she will say, you guessed it, &quot;nothing&quot;. Of course, if there is an item there, there will be a text prompt. Nonsense. My next biggest complaint, or perhaps my valid complaint, are the characters. In fact, I venture to say that there is nothing about the characters I like. The main characters all look decidedly generic, wearing mostly earthen tones. Most of their clothes look like they come from another one of Toriyama's works. I donít have the room here to illustrate comparisons, but look at Neneís design and tell me that he doesnít look like a geriatric cross between Freiyza and Piccolo. Tell me, I dare you. Anyway, looks are only skin deep, right? Well, that may be so, but annoying cuts straight to the core. Shu is one orange jacket away from being quite possibly one of the most frustrating main characters in the history of shonen. Hyper and an attitude greater than the entirety of the Bronx, he pulls his cocky Saturday morning cartoon show lines off without even the skill or ability to back them up. Donít. Even. Get. Me. Started. On. Marumaro. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] It was supposed to sell the Xbox360 in Japan. It was supposed to be a return to old school RPGs. Itís largely forgettable except for the most die-hard fans. The scenery looks nice, the music is ok, and if you can get beyond the simplest plot ever, the combat system is actually pretty cool without being overly complicated, but thatís about all I can say for it. [b]Final Verdict: 6.8/10[/b] Official Website: Bioshock Thu, 17 Jan 2008 05:41:46 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Bioshockcoverfinalcropped.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Bioshockcoverfinalcropped.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: Hype is something I donít really ascribe to, which was when Bioshock came out, I was more than a little bit suspicious. As it turns out: I was wrong. [b]Plot[/b] Itís 1960, the Cold War is still in high gear, and America is in the middle of its Red Scare phase. In the midst of all of this, one man, Andrew Ryan, sought to create his own utopia under the sea. Of course, all is not good in paradise (or, rather: Rapture), and the world is slowly coming apart. The basic forces that hold the city together are being wrought apart by the pressure of rust and erosion, while something is slowly driving the whole place mad. [b]Sights and Sounds[/b] Wow, just wow. I am addressing this first, because you have to address this before you talk about more technical issues. From the get-go, the game immerses you in an immensely dystopic vision of the world in 1960. Art deco styled buildings and furnishings fill every corner of immense corporate sky rises, when in the recesses, the basements, you find bizarrely technical gadgets and rusted pipes everywhere. You walk into a bar, or at least you think it was a bar based off of the sparking, shorted-out neon sign. As the door slides open, the sounds of some wobbling 1960ís lounge fills the air. You hear then in a corner, something else, &quot;Jesus loves me, this I know, because the Bible tells me soÖ&quot; the deranged voice sings. Shadows dance in the corners of your eyes and suddenly the background music is playing a haunting chord which does not distort the music playing in the jukebox, but rather just makes it seem very insidious. From the ceiling, a bloody, ragtag figure jumps down out at you. It's wearing a beaten up rabbit mask. You swing your crowbar, hitting the creature across the eyes, killing it and knocking off the mask to reveal a face warped, cut, and covered in lesions similar to nerve gas poisoning or severe burns. He is called a splicer, and you will see much worse than him. [b]Controls (for the Xbox360)[/b] Iíve tried a lot of games that try to do magic with conventional weaponry, and often it is with mixed results. It was good to see then that this system worked fairly well together. It is convention FPS fare, with the main difference being that you assign a plasmid, or magic-type attack to your left trigger, and a weapon to your right. In this way, you switch between the two not by pressing a hotkey, but simply by pulling the trigger once to bring it up, and then again to use it. You switch between powers and weapons on the fly using the shoulder buttons which call a menu up that also pauses the game, so you donít get killed switching from your wrench to your pistol. My only complaint is how awkward they made switching ammo types, which use the d-pad. This almost forces you to take your thumb off of the movement stick, which makes changing from anti-personnel to armor piercing rounds a real pain when you accidentally clipped that Big Daddy when you were fighting off splicers. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] This game has at least two points where you think you're going to be done with it, and youíre wrong, it keeps going. Just when you think you're going to get a resolution, you donít. Needless to say, walking into Andrew Ryanís office is one of the most ground breaking days of your gaming career. Solid gameplay with a few bugs. The controls were good, though the scaling system for difficultly makes the lowest peons take several shotgun shells to the face later on in the game before they die. Also, your dependence on hacking everything really slows the game down. Plus, you get tired of playing the hacking mini-game. [b]Final Verdict: 9.5/10[/b] Offcial Website: Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (Japanese Version) Sun, 06 Jan 2008 05:50:51 +0000 <a href=""><img title="cc.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="cc.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: tsurara<br /><br />Description: (this review is based on the Japanese release of the game. Some things may change with the Western release) It's hard to deny the power of the Squeenix marketting juggernaut. Final Fantasy remakes and spin-offs saturate the market to a point where it's difficult for other big-budget RPG franchises to exist at all. I'm convinced that Squeenix could package dog turds in attractive Final Fantasy collector's boxes and sell them for a substantial profit. For better or worse: VII is the most popular Final Fantasy installment, so it's gotten the most rehash: Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus, Last Order, Before Crisis, Snowboarding, Ehrgeiz... The latest in the &quot;Compilation of Final Fantasy VII&quot; series is a PSP original by the name of &quot;Crisis Core&quot;. In the interest of full disclosure, I must make a confession: I don't think Final Fantasy VII is the best RPG of all time... and I actually think it's one of the worst Final Fantasy storylines there is. It was fun, it was revolutionary, and I remember playing it fondly: but the characters were animated turnips and I had a very hard time caring about any of them. The spin-off's have, so far, left me cold; convinced more than ever that VII isn't the Fantasy for me. Taking this into account: I fully expected to hate this game. But I love it. [b]Characters/Story:[/b] Zax is everything that the characters in Final Fantasy VII failed to be. He is personable, funny, interesting, sympathetic and incredibly charming. He's a joy to watch... and just as fun to play. Silent protaganists (like our turnip friend, Cloud) suck. We don't WANT to be spikey-haired versions of ourselves when we play a game: we want to be heroes. And Zax is a hero we can really root for. The story in Crisis Core is essentially the story of Cloud's sword and Sephiroth's wing. There are other origin stories and subplots scattered here and there, but the real emtional uderpinning of the game is Zax's relationship with his mentor Anjeel and Sephiroth's interaction with a new, incredibly annoying supervillain: Genesis. We learn, through the progression of cut-scenes and a series of Soldier missions, how Anjeel's beloved bastard sword makes it's way into Zax's (and eventually Cloud's) hands and how the Soldiers became &quot;monsters&quot;. Zax and Anjeel have a genuine, ocaisionally even sappy, relationship that will probably make this game doujinshi fodder for the ages. Meanwhile Sephiroth becomes an even more loveable villain, wading waste-deep in a river of anti-hero angst. Speaking of doujinshi... Boys, I have some bad news: this game was tailor-made for fangirls. Not to say that it isn't enjoyable for guys, there's still plenty of over-the-top &quot;awesome&quot; combat moments and badass displays of bravado. It's just that, as of the 5 hour mark: there are a total of four women in this game, with all but Aeris accounting for about 3 minutes screentime total. Aeris gets a good chunk of screentime, a remarkably likeable personality and a MUCH better outfit... if only she had something more significant to contribute. Apparently SOLDIER isn't exactly forward-thinking about women's rights... because there aren't any women in the organization. Consequently, there are next to none in this game. What the game DOES have is hot, plasticy-looking, spikey-haired men. Lots and lots and lots of them. One of them (Genesis) is even voiced by and modelled after a real-life plasticy-looking spikey-haired man (the Japanese pop singer, Gackt). And while they're all cool enough, sometimes the whole thing just seems like... a very pretty sausagefest. There are no ugly people in this game. Even relatively minor characters are hot. And I'm sorry, but who thought it was a good idea to have characters flying around on single wings? One-winged angels can't fly (which was sort of the point in the quote that originated them). I'm sorry, it's not aerodynamically possible... and it just looks silly O_o; But um... just pretend they have two wings and one is invisible... that seems to be working for me. [b]Gameplay:[/b] Buyer Beware! In spite of the &quot;Final Fantasy&quot; label, Crisis Core is NOT a turn-based RPG. It's an action hack-and-slash in the vein of the &quot;Sangoku Musou&quot;(Dynasty Warriors) games. As Zax, you will take on large groups of enemies with a small selection of materia, items, block, dodge, and attack commands at your disposal. While the game begins rather easily, the difficulty can ramp up quickly if you're not a veteran of action games. And without difficulty settings to adjust the strength of your enemies, it's likely that more casual gamers will not be able to finish the game on their own at all. Meanwhile, fans of action games could also benefit from difficulty modes. The hardcore will be able to breeze through Crisis Core in a matter of days. Even so, the system is fun... and while the enemies lack variety within stages: the battle system provides a certain level of unpredictablity missing from turn-based encounters. It's fast-paced, fun and requires a bit more interaction on your part. Summons, limits and experience points have been combined into a remarkably useable slot system. Lining up the faces of your allies or icons of your summons will reward you with various power ups, special attacks and help in battle while lining up certain number combinations will power up Zax and his materia. Materia can also be combined to form stronger materia, materia with bonuses and on occaision, materia that can't be aquired elsewhere. Weapons and armor are not available. Instead you are limited to two accessories (which, in true Final Fantasy VII form, can totally nerf the bosses as long as you equip the right ones before the right encounter). Shopping has also been simplified and is accessable through your menu, online-shopping style. While the combat system is usually tight, I did find myself a little annoyed with the small areas to which some battles are confined. Barriers aren't always marked... which means you won't know you've gone as far as you can until you've been backed up by an enemy trying to chop your head off and get sandwiched against an invisible wall. On the plus side: there are save points every few feet. Meaning you'll rarely have to lose progress just because your commute's over or a boss blindsides you. [b]Graphics/Sound:[/b] The graphics are amazing, the cinematics are flawless, the voice acting is fabulous and the music is wonderful. I can hardly imagine anyone taking issue with anything about Crisis Core in this department. This is easily the most polished game to hit the PSP... ever. [b]Overall:[/b] Crisis Core is both a satisfying prequel and an entertaining stand alone game. The combat system, while lacking some amount of depth and variety, is still quite fun. The presentation is flawless. The characters are much more interesting than their FFVII counterparts and there are quite a few nods to FFVII fans scattered throughout the narrative. Those expecting a free-roam turn-based RPG system are likely to be dissappointed, but fangirls and Musou fans will rejoice. If you don't mind the action-RPG combat system: this is a must-own. If you're wary of it, try before you buy. Soldier of Fortune: Payback Mon, 03 Dec 2007 15:31:59 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Soldier_of_Fortune-Front.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Soldier_of_Fortune-Front.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: I don't know what they're paying back, but I think they owe me something too. No, that's not fair. SoF:P is a good game, it is, but we need to cover some things: [b]Plot[/b] You are Thomas Mason, mercenary soldier who is assigned to protect a Chinese official who is being hunted due to his knowledge of the illegal slave labor trade in China. After the mission goes horribly awry, Mason is on a hunt for vengeance. [b]Audio and Graphics[/b] I must say, the game has some pretty impressive graphics - for last year. Yes, the standard is still high, but some of the models just bother me. Almost every surface, slick or not, shines. There isn't a really gritty feeling, like you would expect from a game that is set in the worst parts of the world. It sort of feels like Perfect Dark: Zero all over again. Also, it tends to be a little too ambitious, I think, as plant &quot;pop-up&quot; is something that is pretty common, annoying, and just generally distracting. The sound does get some recognition from me. The sound of the weapons are pretty accurate, but that is not really a new thing. The game's selling point, as it has been for the past installments, is the amount of gore. You can blow legs, arms, torsos all off. The bothersome part about it is that they'll take off limbs for injuries that really wouldn't. It feels like they made it so easy to blow off limbs for the fifteen year old boy population, who might not complain at more technical assets. The voice acting is fairly good, considering that the script could use some work. The actors don't seem to be phased by the hackneyed writing. [b]Controls[/b] SoF:P is your standard FPS fare. The only annoying thing is that the Left Shoulder Button switches to underslung grenade launcher as alternate fire - even when the weapon you're using doesn't have a grenade launcher. It ends up just ruining things when you mean to throw a grenade and you end up doing nothing because your weapon is canted towards the sky. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] The worst part about the game is that it happened to be released a week after Call of Duty 4, which by all counts, except notably for voice acting, is a far superior game. It's a decent game in its own regard, and in some cases, more realistical than CoD4, but on the other hand, the one man army feel is getting old. Also, the checkpoint system is ridiculous. The load times (see: ambition), are decently long, or at least too long if you're dying every fifteen seconds. Also, the checkpoints save the exact point you were at when you hit it, which means, in some cases, you will come up from a checkpoint and there will be a bad guy right in front of you. Since all of the AI seems to be programmed for &quot;GET IN CLOSE AND BASH THE BRAINS OUT OF YOU&quot;, you are pretty much guaranteed to die at least once more while you adjust to this, and while they bash your brains out, like good AI. Also, what ever happened to life bars? [b]Final Verdict:[/b] 7/10 Official Webste: Call of Duty 4 Sat, 10 Nov 2007 22:09:06 +0000 <a href=""><img title="call-of-duty.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="call-of-duty.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: Russian Nationalist Imran Zakhaev is Hell-bent on returning his country to its former Cold War glory, and he has recruited some powerful allies to help him in his quest to topple the Western world. That is, unless the West's most elite special forces units have anything to say about it. [b]Sights and Sounds[/b] Wow, just wow! The line is blurring between video game and reality. Of course, people have been saying that about video games for years, and then when we look at those same games after a few years, we see how flawed they are, but I think Call of Duty 4 might have set a new standard. Straying away from World War II (Finally), and choosing instead to do a modern game with an imaginary war, Infinity Ward accomplishes quite a bit considering that they more or less started from scratch. The first thing that you notice is how realistic the faces, expressions, and animations are. very infrequently do you see anything that seems out of place: like avatars floating up stairs, or pathing glitches. The second thing you notice is how detailed the weapon avatars are. Okay, you might not notice that as much as I would, or the fact that when you go into nightvision mode, there is a infrared laser targetter coming from the AN/PEQ-2 at the end of the M4. MILITARY GEEK OUT! Okay, you might not think its cool, but I do. Infinity Ward consulted OIF and OEF (Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom) veterans to ensure accuracy. The third noticeable point are all of the sounds. From the sounds of bullets whizzing near your character's head, to the differences in caliber from the m1911 pistol to the AK-47, there is meticulous detail in recording these weapons as they really sound, rather than using canned sound effects that were left in the studio. [b]Controls[/b] It is your standard FPS shooter fair for the most part, so I won't bore you with details. The one cool thing is that you can &quot;snap on&quot; to a target by just being near the target when you hit the aim button (the left trigger on the 360). In this way you can quickly and efficiently snap from target to target, instead of flailing around trying to hit a target father than twenty yards. [b]Gameplay[/b] Intense, challenging, but original. There are occasional interludes where you either are not in a combat situation, like when you see life through the eyes of the President of a middle eastern country. You see the injustice of this new military regime through the back of the car of your captors. Also, the game takes a minute to show you a few of the elements of a full combat force, including a mission where you render air support in an AC-130. [b] Could it be better?[/b] Yeah. My only complaint is in the way the scripts were done. I don't know about the SAS, but I know Marines are rough around the edges, loud and profane individuals, just like everyone else in the US Military. A little more cursing, or an enthusiastic &quot;Ooo-rah&quot; would have been nice, but you can't have everything. [b] Final Verdict[/b] 9.9/10 Official Website: Dreamfall - The Longest Journey Fri, 25 May 2007 21:32:48 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Dreamfall_cover.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Dreamfall_cover.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: aceman67<br /><br />Description: [b]Initial Thoughts[/b] I was hesitant to get this game at first, but I thought, what the hell, so I got it. With in the first hour of playing it, I was hooked. The story line was amazing, the characters were wonderfully detailed... And the graphics! Damn, were they good. [b]Synopsis[/b] - See [url=]Wikipedia - Dreamfall - The Longest Journey[/url] [b]Graphics[/b] These are some of the best graphics I've seen in a recent video game to date (with the exception of bigger name titles). The environments are explicitly detailed, the visual effects are amazing. Characters are rendered amazingly well and with very human like emotions and movements. [b]Voice Acting[/b] Dreamfall - The Longest Journey has a stellar cast of voice actors who all did an amazing job voicing their characters, making the already rich and amazing story line that much better. [b]Awards[/b] Dreamfall won a host of awards: From Gamespot: [list] [*] Best of E3: Best Adventure Game (2004) [*] Best Voice Acting [*] Reader's Choice Best Xbox Game [*] Reader's Choice Best Game No One Played [/list] From Gamespy: [list] [*] Best of E3: Best Adventure Game (2004) [*] April Game of the Month [*] Editor's Choice [*] PC Adventure Game of the Year [*] Xbox Adventure Game of the Year [*] PC Best Music [*] PC Best Story [*] PC Adventure Gamers' Choice [/list] From IGN: [list] [*] Best of E3: Best PC Adventure Game (2004) [/list] [b]Final Thoughts[/b] This game is amazing. If you're a fan of adventure games and enjoy a good riveting story, get Dreamfall. .hack//G.U. Vol. 2 - Reminisce Tue, 22 May 2007 23:51:00 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Reminisce.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Reminisce.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: Completion without satisfaction is what this game is all about, but that isn't a bad thing. [b]Plot[/b] In 'The World', players are promised an unlimited fantasy experience, but over the past few years, the game has turned into a shadow of its former self. Player Killers (PKs) are taking over in great numbers, hurting the game for new players, but there is something much more insidious under the surface. Part two of three in this new chapter of the .hack franchise, Haseo continues his hunt for the legendary PK Tri-Edge, the character who killed his friend Shino in game, sending her into a real life coma. Old friends become dire enemies while old grudges heal to fire tried alliances in this chapter, and while it may be slow to start and filled with jargon, the game's emotional side quickly shows itself and redeems itself as a marvelous new kind of RPG. [b]Visuals and Audio[/b] The graphics, while the same as the first volume, prove to be a little less impressive this time around. The thirty second cut scenes using the highly rendered art are a thing of the past. The most disappointing thing about this entire game was how they left behind the evocative facial imagery for drawn out scenes where the character models would stand fast in one spot talking to each other without motion. [b]Experimentation[/b] While this episode may lack a bit in stunning visual imagery, it more than makes up for in cajones. The first .hack game series was plagued by what may be called a final sort of outer boundary or fourth wall. While terrible things happened within that world, they were isolated and scarce. This version of &quot;The World&quot; has a much more insidious outlook, where the powers of this malignant AI are not only senient, but predatory. While the OVA series .hack//LIMINALITY hinted at &quot;The World's&quot; ability to reach out and touch the real world, .hack//G.U. makes it perfectly clear, between the rampant losses of players to comas, system anomalies and the news show &quot;Online Jack&quot;, that this AI is out to learn and control the outside world. It [sometimes unabashedly] jumps outside of even the farthest reaches of what would be programmed in a game for the sake of plot development, and the result is something completely and wholly human, which is the subtle subtext. The surprises at the end, of friends, foes, and Haseo's gradual change into a likable, if rough, hero, leave us itching for the final volume: .hack//G.U. - Redemption. [b]Final Verdict[/b] - 8.9/10 Gears of War Sun, 22 Apr 2007 07:41:27 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Gearsofwar.JPG" border="0" src="" alt="Gearsofwar.JPG" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: Gritty, brutal, and absolutely awesome! [b]Plot[/b] Aliens called &quot;The Locust&quot; have been attacking humanity from underground. Marcus Fenix, a former soldier, rotting in some prison, is brought back into duty to save humanity, but more importantly, himself. [b]Audio / Visuals[/b] You can buy a 360 and not own an HDTV. You can even enjoy games with a 360 and without an HDTV, but you cannot truly appreciate Gears of War without an HDTV. Period. End of Story. Gears of War sets the standard for delightfully gritty games. While the armor, weapons and faces of the characters are perhaps baroquely defaced, it is all rendered in such beautiful detail, that it's hard to keep from losing your head just to the marvelous detail. [b]Controls[/b] I must admit, for a console shooter, Gears of War offers largely the same dual-analog fair that most other shooters do, but it adds something that the Ghost Recon games try, but do not execute as cleanly: tactical movements. Largely centered around the &quot;A&quot; button, you can sprint, hit cover, blindfire, tactically fire or jump from cover to cover. It is miraculously intuitive and does not require feats of incredibly manual dexterity to perform, especially since you need to use those abilities to survive. It is so intuitive, in fact, that I think WHEN Metal Gear Solid 4 is released for the 360, that it would use a very similar control scheme to master several of the same techniques. [b]Gameplay[/b] The game features quite a bit of replay value, giving you several options as to which way you are going to tackle certain situations, in addition to giving the ability for co-op play. The game is mercilessly, and might I say, gleefully gory. From exploding bodies, to chainsaw bayonet kills that splatter blood on the TV screen, Gears of War drowns you in an entirely new war: free from pretension or very poorly veiled allegory (I'm looking at you, Ghost Recon). [b]Final Verdict:[/b] 9.6/10 Official website at S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Sun, 22 Apr 2007 07:26:01 +0000 <a href=""><img title="STALKER.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="STALKER.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: I came out of retirement for this one, kids, so find something to hold onto, because this one merits a review. [b]Plot[/b] A second nuclear accident in Chernobyl irradiates the land irreparably, but in the ashes of &quot;The Zone&quot;, artifacts of great power (and more notably, monetary value) have begun appearing. You, as a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with amnesia, have the world as your oyster. [b]Gameplay[/b] The game (henceforth referred to as Stalker) prides itself on the depth of gameplay of which it represents. It runs an entire ecosystem. All of the bandits, other stalkers, military, as well as the mutant creatures all eat, sleep, hunt and gather in real time. As a result, strategy is key, as well as negotiation. You'll get nowhere killing everyone for their stuff. In a tradition of &quot;Doom&quot; like proportions, you must forge your worth, starting with a lousy pistol. There are quests, of sorts, and missions that you can do for personal profit, in addition to just free-adventuring, but be advised that you can really get lost in the scenery if you choose to just wander aimlessly. [b]Computer Problems[/b] Having mentioned the scope that Stalker tries for, I must now mention how it fails. The game requires a pretty uber system to run, and an even more badass system to run well. Fortunately for Stalker, the graphics on the next to lowest setting only look a few years old. Screen shots promise Doom 3 or better graphics, but those are on gaming rigs, where the weight of AN ENTIRE COUNTRY isn't nearly as big of a problem as my off the shelf Vaio. [b]Execution[/b] Unfortunately, I still have some critical things to say of Stalker. The game's navigation often lacks direction, and the AI seems terribly simple. The military can often kick your tail by weight of sheer numbers, while your sparse allies, including ones that you probably have to protect, run headlong into the shooting. Constant respawns of creatures, bandits, and anomalies may seem to keep the game fast paced, but it seems often enough that there is never a time to stop, take a break, or even go back to complete your missions. I will give the game props that it manages to pull out a few scares with some of the little mutants they manage to place in some of the darker corners of &quot;The Zone&quot;. It's worth mentioning that this game had been MANY years in the making. It was supposed to be contemporary with Half-Life 2 and Doom 3, but as we can see, that did not happen. Perhaps my anticipation affects my judgment, but I had high hopes for this game. Unfortunately, it seems like it will become another very forgettable shooter with an extraordinarily large draw on PC power. [b]Final Verdict:[/b] 7.2/10 Official website at Tales of Symphonia Thu, 22 Mar 2007 16:58:01 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Tales_of_Symphonia.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Tales_of_Symphonia.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Mattness<br /><br />Description: Two worlds exist, unaware of each other. Mana, or life force, is shared by both worlds and while one world thrives, the other suffers and falls to the brink of death. [b]Plot[/b] Lloyd Irving (thatís you!) lives on Sylvarant, a dying world where nothing is as it seems - a fact he hasn't yet realized. With a strong set of justice, incredible bravery, and a particular loyalty to his friends, he joins them in a very important quest: a journey to save their world. Lloyd's close friend, Colette Brunel, is the Chosen One, destined to save the dying world as a descendant of the Mana bloodline. The chosen are an angelic cross destined to become the host body of a god. You will find your magic casters in Genis and Rain Sage - the village intellectuals, and both are talented magicians. Their personalities differ and you'll grow to love them. Together, they set on this dangerous journey together - to unlock the seals of the world and bring the balance back to their dying town on Sylvarant. [b]Graphics and Audio[/b] The game is a bit cartoon-like with big-eyed anime characters during battle. However, the anime style cut scenes are top-notch. The music gives a heroic feel to the battles and differs throughout the many different dungeons. The travel music changes as you move but gets annoying when you pass through the same place a few times in a row. You adopt an overhead view reminiscent of old Final Fantasy games as you explore the map. [b]Game Play[/b] The real-time fighting has been a staple of Tales games since the beginning. The system has been refined to allow for blocking and combos. The skill list is impressive but can take a long time when you have to use the same move 50 more times to unlock the next one. The weapons system is well refined and the use of Grade requires you to complete battles quickly in order to purchase better items. The chatter that comes with your attacks is a bit annoying but the unison attacks are very cool. Abilities can be upgraded through the use of Ex. Gems; these grant effects such as increased movement speed and evasion. They also can speed up the casting time of spells and make the longer spells allot better. These all increase the deepness of the game but you can buy most weapons without suffering. Life bottles, which heal your party, are very hard to find and expensive to buy so you must spend time to make sure that you don't waste them. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] The 80+ hours of Tales of Symphonia flies by as you move from one world to another and meet a rich cast list. As you find the truth about the human ranches and fight to save both worlds from the terrible decline that sucks the life from them. Loyd and the gang live up the Tales standard and deliver a massive RPG for the lacking game cube. Official website at Kingdom Hearts Wed, 21 Mar 2007 20:59:15 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Kingdom_Hearts.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Kingdom_Hearts.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Naruto1988<br /><br />Description: Kingdom Hearts is a story that revolves around Sora, a young 14 year old boy living on Destiny Islands with his best friend, Riku and the girl he loves, Kairi. On a fateful day Sora has a dream which places him into a dream world. In this world he encounters a voice telling him to open a door. He then awakens on the shore of his island both with Kairi and Riku. All 3 of them decide to leave the island the next day. However, when they prepare to leave, that night a fateful storm approaches and Sora meets with an unknown dark black enemy. Sora is also equipped with a new found weapon - the Keyblade. Sora then heads out to find Kairi who has vanished. Riku later meets up with Sora but then decides to leave as the darkness takes over Sora. Sora awakens in an odd world and meets Donald and Goofy. An adventure then unfolds that will change the very life around him. The fate of others are now in Sora's hands. [b]Gameplay[/b] Like many traditional role-playing games, Kingdom Hearts features an experience point system which determines character growth. As enemies are defeated, a player gains experience leading to a &quot;level-up&quot;, where the player characters grows stronger and gains access to new abilities. Unlike many other games of its genre, Kingdom Hearts allows a certain degree of character development and customization. By choosing certain options, the player is able to manipulate how Sora learns abilities, grows statistically, and even gains levels. Depending on how you start will affect when and how you learn certain abilities. [b]Combat[/b] Combat in Kingdom Hearts is in real time and involves complete interactivity with the character on-screen. A menu found at the bottom left of the screen provides other combat options such as using magic and items. In addition to Sora, your two party members Donald and Goofy are usually present who also take part in combat. Though these characters are computer-controlled, you can still customize their behavior to a certain extent through the menu screen. [b]Graphics[/b] This installment in the square games houses tremendous graphics. The in game scenes are truly something to be admired. The first opening scene rivals graphics such as Halo and other strong graphically modern games. [b]Sound[/b] The soundtrack of Kingdom Hearts is calming and yet still strong. Many people have said it was and still is the best soundtrack for an RPG title. Kingdom Hearts fuses classical music with upbeat tempos, and J-pop from Utada Hikaru. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] I highly recommend this game to any RPG fan. I'm sure you may think Disney and Square... are you serious? I thought the same of the game until I got it in my hands. There's a great amount of replay value. Go and get yourself a copy if you haven't already and get into the KH fandem. Official website at Worms: Open Warfare Tue, 20 Mar 2007 17:06:27 +0000 <a href=""><img title="worms-open-warfare.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="worms-open-warfare.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Mattness<br /><br />Description: [b]Gameplay[/b] Worms: Open Warfare is a portable edition of the long-running strategy game from Team17, allowing players to command war with those wily worms anywhere they go. In Worms: Open Warfare, players command an army of worms into battle against others, and try to take them out by employing an array of lethal and quirky weaponry. The game features traditional weapons, such as grenades, pistols and rocket launchers, as well as non-traditional arms and gadgets including a sheep launcher and teleporter. Each worm has health points, and by successfully using weapons, players can take out the individual worm threat by whittling down their heath. When they finally die, these worms aren't pushovers, and if an innocent worm gets in the way of a defeated worm, they could potentially take damage from the impending explosion when another worm pulls a suicide bomber and blows itself into a better place. [b]Music and Graphics[/b] The music is cute and doesn't disrupt the gameplay but the graphics make the worms look more like pink blobs with eyes than a worm. The voices are high pitched and can be annoying but some of the battle cries are very funny. [b]Player Mode[/b] The single player missions are difficult but the game shines in it's multiplayer. Single-card download play makes this game perfect for trips or just playing with friends. The guns, grenades, and exploding sheep will keep you entertained for hours. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] I liked Worms: Open Warfare but unless you have a few DS's in the same room, the game is sub-par. If you enjoy the previous Team 17 games however, the worms are back and ready to rock! Official website at Metal Saga Mon, 19 Mar 2007 15:38:37 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Metal_Saga.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Metal_Saga.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] In your village, your father was known as a hunter, a man who fought against the robots and monsters of the outside world. You're his successor. Now it is you against an entire post-apocalyptic world. That's it. Really. I'm serious. [b]Execution[/b] Metal Saga just goes to show that you cannot grow a classic in a test-tube. There is a brilliant message about divine creation somewhere, but I can't find it. Metal Saga tries, tries, TRIES to be a classic RPG, from dated graphics that seem really grainy, to a painfully tiring combat system, to a lack of voice-acting, to a drab story, Metal Saga just fails. In an age where the console RPG is quickly being forgotten, Metal Saga only serves to reinforce an age of mediocrity. What MS has going for it is the &quot;unique&quot; vehicle system. You find and acquire several different tanks over the course of the game, most of which, history buffs, are WWII era German tanks. You can customize all of these tanks with all manner of different weapons and decals. Unfortunately, that is about the coolest thing about the game, and it is hardly even worth playing to get to your first vehicle, which turns out to be a Dune Buggy. Maybe Iím being a little critical, but turn based combat shouldn't take forever. It should be fast, especially if every couple of steps you are running into a new enemy. Also, the game sports a pretty steep learning curve, and unless you hunt down the items and garbage all over your first town to buy useful armor and weapons, then you are going to get royally screwed when you go out into your first dungeon. [b]Sights and Sounds[/b] I already touched on this a bit, but it is worth mentioning in its place. I am an old school RPG fan, and while I don't feel like validating my credentials here, know that graphics are not a disqualifying factor in my mind. However, in this day and age, poor graphics are just disheartening, especially when a game lacks just about everything else. The lack of voice acting, or even tonal beeps and squeeks for a character's voice during dialogue, was also off-putting. Perhaps I'm spoiled, but I expect SOME voice acting somewhere. I mean, even if it is just in an animated opening video, I hope for something. Instead, all that is there, is a mediocre soundtrack. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] I wanted to like this game. I did, trust me. I want to like everything I buy, because I already bought it, but this game just seems like it was pushed through production too soon. It lacks plot and direction, but that would be alright if there was really something to do. The combat system is complicated, and that would be okay if it were fun, but it really isn't. I'm not going to say to avoid this game at all costs, but I will go as far as to say that you should wait until you can pick this game up for 9.99 at your local Gamestop. [b]Final Verdict:[/b] 5/10 (with a resounding, &quot;meh...&quot;) Official website at Steambot Chronicles Sun, 18 Mar 2007 21:16:28 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Steambot_Chronicles.jpeg" border="0" src="" alt="Steambot_Chronicles.jpeg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] Stop me if you've heard this one: a guy wakes up on a beach to see a beautiful girl in front of him who needs to be taken home through a valley of bandits. Oh, and he lost his memory. Okay, so Steambot Chronicles starts off like every other RPG, what makes SC unlike other RPGs is that it is much farther reaching in its gameplay than most games like to admit. There really isn't much definitive plot, since you can approach the game in completely different ways in each play. [b]Gameplay[/b] How you play the game, and what you want to accomplish are huge parts of this game. While you have a wide variety of things to do, you can only really progress the storyline one particular way per play, largely concerning your decisions in the beginning of the game. As a result, to understand the full breadth of the game, you are going to have to play it several times. This isn't really a bad thing considering how well crafted and how beautiful the game is. Do you want to be a trotmobile fighter? You can do that. Do you want to be a musician? You can do that too. In addition to trying to figure out or solve whatever problem may be ahead of you, depending on your choices, you have various ways of going about it. Basically speaking, this is one of the best examples of a sandbox RPG that I've ever seen. It manages to give the players choices without seeming generic, and that is what it's all about. [b]Controls[/b] As far as mech handling, imagine Katamari Damacy with legs. The controls are a bit hard to get a feel for at first, though unlike most control systems, familiarity does not really breed mastery. The camera angles often hinder you, though it is inventive. Dual analog just seems like such a bad idea for a giant robot. The musical mini games are simple enough, but with a few interesting changes compared to most rhythm mini-games. These mini games are actually challenging enough for an entire facet of the game. There are various instruments that you can pick up and play each tune with, different ones being more difficult than others. [b]Visuals and Sounds[/b] I'm usually against cel-shading, but in this case, it gave the entire game a very clean feeling, which suits the nature of the adventure. The voice acting seems a bit off, but that is often a problem with voice acting in video games, particularly ones without cinema scenes or clear cues. The pauses aren't quite as bad as, say, Thousand Arms, but there just is not enough emotion in the voices to really convey much of anything. [b]Efforts of Atlus[/b] This past summer showed that Atlus had been working for a long time to bring out a collage of new games, and Steambot Chronicles is probably the best one out of the crop, especially when compared to Deep Labryinth and Metal Saga, two games trying desperately to be classic in their own ways. Steambot Chronicles has inventiveness on its side, and that is more than enough to, in my mind, forgive the flaws in controls and voice acting. A game can't be perfect, but it can be fresh. [b]Final Verdict:[/b] 8.4/10 Official website at Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes Sat, 17 Mar 2007 01:32:17 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Marvel_vs_Capcom_ps2.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Marvel_vs_Capcom_ps2.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: FLawEdmiNd<br /><br />Description: [b]Overview[/b] Marvel vs. Capcom II boasts an incredible array of 60 heroes and villains, from both the Capcom and Marvel universe. The basic mode of game play is arcade. You can choose any three characters that are unlocked and fight through seven stages until you have a chance to fight the final boss. The storyline is very vague. The only real clue the player gets as to the storyline comes in the form of a short congratulatory cutscene at the end of arcade mode. As far as the cutscene says, an evil force had arisen and threatened the world. Setting aside their differences, the heroes and villains teamed up, along with characters from another dimension (universe?) to quell the evil force. Once the force is defeated, they all rejoice and set sail into the sunset on a flying pirate ship. [b]Enjoyment Value[/b] With very unmemorable graphics and music, this game is only enjoyable from the first time you pick it up until the time you realize you're doing the exact same thing over and over again, which doesn't take very long. Although it is easy to play for the most part, the CPU will anger beginners and provide little challenge to the pros. A game worthy of renting, not buying. [b]Character Controls[/b] The character controls are a little tricky to pick up at first. Many of the special moves have button sequences that are hard to get the hang of. Also, the moves list for each character is incomplete, only detailing around three special moves for a character when in truth they have six to ten at their disposal. [b]Arcade Mode[/b] At the start of Arcade mode, the CPUís are mildly difficult to beat on normal difficulty. Thankfully, as you get closer to the final stage, they become more challenging. So challenging, that it almost feels like you're fighting against another person, with the exception of linear moves. This mode tends to lose its zest the longer it is played. The benefits of beating the mode wane and the CPU become frustrating as they always manage to kill off your characters with only one person. Many times, in the heat of battle, the CPU will bust out a combo, and continuously use that combo until you have a chance to break the cycle. Also, whenever the CPU has built its power gauge to maximum capacity (level 5), it has a tendency to use a string of hyper moves. Adding to the frustration and making the game that much more linear. That aside, the A.I. (artificial intelligence) is very good, but not great. [b]Vs. Mode[/b] Standard Vs. mode is where you and one other friend can fight against each other. You may use all the characters you have unlocked up to that point as well as any additional stage. Arcade stages are also available. [b]Other Modes[/b] There is a Standard Training mode in the game which allows players to hone their skills and learn how to better fight against particularly dangerous enemies. Whilst using this mode, you can gain a small amount of points by any means. The Secret Factor mode is the shop where you may buy additional characters, stages, and other things. It is flawed in the sense that it has a very difficult loop. Once you buy a certain number of characters, a &quot;sold out&quot; icon appears instead of a new character. Also, as you buy things, the price goes up at an absurd rate while the reward point's players earn for buying items continues to go down. The Normal Option mode is where you can tweak the game difficulty and the amount of damage inflicted upon yourself and your opponent. Others aspects of the game may also be changed here, such as audio, video, and button configuration. There is also a mode that allows you to see your battle rankings in Arcade and Score Attack modes, as well as character rankings. This mode is called Score Rankings. The last mode, which is Score Attack, is a mode that lets you challenge the CPU in a match of skill and endurance. The option rules do not apply in this mode, therefore the setting that allows you to fight easier opponents does not work here. The CPU is very challenging in this mode right from the very beginning, so would only be suited to intermediate / semi-pro players. There are seven stages as well as the final boss, just as in Arcade mode. This mode is only there to let you try and obtain a high score. The number of battles you win does not affect your score, how you fight does. If you continue to use the same moves, your score will not climb as steadily. Varying your attacks, assists, and hyper attacks will result in a higher score. Using air combos and tech hits will also raise your score if you interchange those attacks with others. [b]Character List[/b] Ryu Strider Hiryu Spider-Man Venom Jill Valentine Sonson Megaman (Rockman) Sakura Kasugano Hiyakenshita Sakura (Sakura transformation) Zangief Mecha Zangief (Zangief transformation) Guile Morrigan Aenslade Anakaris Cyclops Wolverine Psylocke Iceman Rogue Captain America The Hulk Doctor Doom Tron Bonne Hayato Kanzaki Ruby Heart Amingo Marrow Cable Chun-Li Roll Akuma B.B. Hood (Beretta) Felicia Charlie (Nash) Dan Hibiki Cammy Dhalsim M. Bison Ken Masters Gambit Magneto Storm Sabertoothe Sentinel Shuma-Gorath War Machine Silver Samurai Omega Red Spiral Colossus Iron Man Thanos Blackheart Gouki Jin Saotome Captain Commando Adamantiumless Wolverine Servbot (Kobun) Vega Juggernaut [b]Release Date:[/b] 2000 Shadow Hearts: Covenant Fri, 16 Mar 2007 20:59:45 +0000 <a href=""><img title="shadow-hearts_covenant.JPG" border="0" src="" alt="shadow-hearts_covenant.JPG" /></a><br /><br />by: Descended From Darkness<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] The year is 1915 and with the assassination is thrown into a world of chaos and war. The German army advances to take over a small quiet village called Domremy. Things don't go as planned, and the German forces are defeated by the &quot;Demon of Domremy&quot;. The German forces, headed by young Lieutenant Karin Koenig, with the help of what appears to be a Knight Priest of the Vatican, Nicolai Conrad must try and defeat the Demon of Domremy. But to their surprise, the Demon of Domremy is Yuri Hyuga, the main character of the first Shadow Hearts game. Yuri and Karin's fates are now intertwined as they become involved with a secret organization bent on taking over the world and the infamous …migrť Manuscript, a tome that brings the dead to life but for a price. [b]Gameplay[/b] Unlike traditional role playing games that use the old control time based system - Shadow Hearts: Covenant uses the Judgement Ring. It determines how many attacks you can make, magic and special skills (minus fusion) used, use of items, and purchasing of weapons. The Push Rings and Event Rings have been removed. You can also customize the Judgement Ring to your own liking. There are three new items for the Judgement Ring: [list=1] [*] Hit Area Expand which expands the hit areas. [*] Strike Area Expand which increases you strike area. [*] Attack Boost which increases the number of areas on the Ring. [/list] The Judgement Ring will also test your hand-eye coordination and patience. [b]Graphics and Sound[/b] The graphics are simply breathtaking in the movie cutscenes. Even in the regular cutscenes, the graphics are good. The playable graphics have definitely improved since Shadow Hearts was released in 2001. The sound has even improved dramatically. Even though in every town you go to in Europe and Japan has the same soundtrack, there are minor differences. The music of minor battles in Europe are the same. Overall: 9 out of 10 Official website at Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day Thu, 15 Mar 2007 19:13:52 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Brain_Age_game.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Brain_Age_game.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Mattness<br /><br />Description: Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day for Nintendo DS is a fun, rewarding form of entertainment that almost everyone can enjoy. Brain Age was inspired by the research of Professor Ryuta Kawashima, a prominent Japanese neuroscientist. His studies stress the impact of performing certain simple reading and mathematical exercises to help stimulate the brain. Brain Age presents quick mental activities that help keep your brain in shape. Before you read the rest of this review, this isn't just another ploy to get you to study harder. Brain Age takes little more than 15 minutes to finish your practice but over the course of a few weeks, you will see the effect that this simple once-a-day game will have. You will see increases in your reaction time, ability to remember recent information, and basic math skills. [b]Wide Variety of Activities[/b] Brain Age has a wide variety of activities such as quickly solving simple math problems, counting people going in and out of a house simultaneously, drawing pictures on the Touch Screen, reading classic literature out loud, and much more. [b]Graphics and Music[/b] The graphics are nonexistent besides a floating head of Professor Kawashima. The pictures that you try to recreate are quite well drawn (obviously without the touch screen). The music is limited to allow you to play quietly. I had a lot of fun playing this, partly because my parents couldn't use the excuses that video games are bad for me because it made a difference in my calculation times. Brain Age is a game for both young and old players. My 70-year old granny enjoyed it as much as my 6-year old sister. This may be the start of games that are aimed not only at gamers, but the rest of the population. Official website at Guitar Hero II Tue, 13 Mar 2007 23:21:02 +0000 <a href=""><img title="lg1519404.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="lg1519404.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Naruto1988<br /><br />Description: [b]Gameplay[/b] Guitar Hero 2 showcases up to 64 songs (including bonus tracks) most of these songs have been done just for Guitar Hero with a stronger emphasis on the guitar. Gameplay is based on the original Guitar Hero - where the player must use the guitar controller to play scrolling notes by holding the corresponding fret button on the guitar and simultaneously strumming in sync with the notes. [b]Career Mode[/b] In Career Mode, your able to create a band name and select a guitar player from the given characters. Only the lead guitar is available to be played in this mode of course however you can play bass in other modes. Throughout career mode, your band plays at eight available stages. After completing the required songs, three or four depending on the difficulty, fans in the crowd will yell and chant for an encore. If you pass the encore song you will unlock the next set of songs. [b]Multiplayer[/b] Well you've got 3 separate ways to play multiplayer they are: [list=1] [*] [i]Co-operative mode:[/i] Each of you play different notes in the song however you can each play the guitar or one can play the guitar while the other plays base. [*] [i]Face-off mode:[/i] Each player can select their own level of difficulty. The scores are weighted at the end so that a player who hits more notes on the easy setting than an opponent on the expert difficulty will win the round. [*] [i]Pro face-off:[/i] You have to play the full track on the same difficulty against your opponent. This mode is only available after completing Career Mode on medium or higher difficulty levels. [/list] [b]Practice Mode[/b] Practice mode is a new addition to Guitar hero ^_^. It allows you to miss all you want and not fail the song. Basically you can train on a song you may be stumped on until you've gotten the hang of it. You can slow the frets down or speed them up depending on your expertise. [b]Opinions[/b] Guitar Hero II is just an overall amazing game! I loved every minute of it and now have my very own copy and 2 guitar controllers. You wont get bored of this game as it leaves a ton of new challenges and more things to unlock as you progress the stages. Most likely though you will find yourself just playing random songs. I highly recommend this game to all rock fans. Don't expect an easy experience though - it's not that easy to just pick up and play. It will take a while to get used to, but once you do... Rock On!!! [u]Track-List[/u] 1. Opening Licks - &quot;Shout at the Devil&quot; - MŲtley CrŁe - &quot;Mother&quot; - Danzig - &quot;Surrender&quot; - Cheap Trick - &quot;Woman&quot; - Wolfmother - &quot;Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight&quot; - Spinal Tap (Encore) 2. Amp-Warmers - &quot;Strutter&quot; - KISS - &quot;Heart-Shaped Box&quot; - Nirvana - &quot;Message in a Bottle&quot; - The Police - &quot;You Really Got Me&quot; - Van Halen - &quot;Carry On Wayward Son&quot; - Kansas (Encore) 3. String-Snappers - &quot;Monkey Wrench&quot; - Foo Fighters - &quot;Them Bones&quot; - Alice in Chains - &quot;Search and Destroy&quot; - Iggy Pop and The Stooges - &quot;Tattooed Love Boys&quot; - The Pretenders - &quot;War Pigs&quot; - Black Sabbath (Encore) 4. Thrash and Burn - &quot;Cherry Pie&quot; - Warrant - &quot;Who Was in My Room Last Night?&quot; - Butthole Surfers - &quot;Girlfriend&quot; - Matthew Sweet - &quot;Can't You Hear Me Knocking&quot; - The Rolling Stones - &quot;Sweet Child O'Mine&quot; - Guns N' Roses (Encore) 5. Return of the Shred - &quot;Killing in the Name&quot; - Rage Against the Machine - &quot;John the Fisherman&quot; - Primus - &quot;Freya&quot; - The Sword - &quot;Bad Reputation&quot; - Thin Lizzy - &quot;Last Child&quot; - Aerosmith (Encore) 6. Relentless Riffs - &quot;Crazy on You&quot; - Heart - &quot;Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart&quot; - Stone Temple Pilots - &quot;Rock This Town&quot; - Stray Cats - &quot;Jessica&quot; - The Allman Brothers Band - &quot;Stop!&quot; - Jane's Addiction (Encore) 7. Furious Fretwork - &quot;Madhouse&quot; - Anthrax - &quot;Carry Me Home&quot; - The Living End - &quot;Laid to Rest&quot; - Lamb of God - &quot;Psychobilly Freakout&quot; - The Reverend Horton Heat - &quot;YYZ&quot; - Rush (Encore) 8. Face-Melters - &quot;Beast and the Harlot&quot; - Avenged Sevenfold - &quot;Institutionalized&quot; - Suicidal Tendencies - &quot;Misirlou&quot; - Dick Dale - &quot;Hangar 18&quot; - Megadeth - &quot;Free Bird&quot; - Lynyrd Skynyrd (Encore) Bonus tracks - &quot;Raw Dog&quot; - The Last Vegas - &quot;Arterial Black&quot; - Drist - &quot;Collide&quot; - Anarchy Club - &quot;Elephant Bones&quot; - That Handsome Devil - &quot;Fall of Pangea&quot; - Valient Thorr - &quot;FTK&quot; - Vagiant - &quot;Gemini&quot; - Brian Kahanek - &quot;Push Push (Lady Lightning)&quot; - Bang Camaro - &quot;Laughtrack&quot; - The Acro-brats - &quot;Less Talk More Rokk&quot; - Freezepop - &quot;Jordan&quot; - Buckethead - &quot;Mr. Fix-it&quot; - The Amazing Royal Crowns - &quot;The New Black&quot; - Every Time I Die - &quot;One for the Road&quot; - Breaking Wheel - &quot;Parasite&quot; - The Neighborhoods - &quot;Radium Eyes&quot; - Count Zero - &quot;Red Lottery&quot; - Megasus - &quot;Six&quot; - All That Remains - &quot;Soy Bomb&quot; - Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives - &quot;The Light That Blinds&quot; - Shadows Fall - &quot;Thunderhorse&quot; - Dethklok - &quot;Trogdor&quot; - Strong Bad - &quot;X-Stream&quot; - Voivod - &quot;Yes We Can&quot; - Made in Mexico Official website Tales of Phantasia Tue, 13 Mar 2007 17:07:43 +0000 <a href=""><img title="top_boxgbafront.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="top_boxgbafront.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Mattness<br /><br />Description: This version of Tales of Phantasia is a mix of both SNES and PSX versions. There are many features from both the PSX version in the SNES graphic package! [b]Overall[/b] The music is amazingly rich for a GBA game and the graphics are above par. The characters are diverse and add a bit of comic relief to the story. [b]Gameplay[/b] The two different versions have influenced the gameplay as Klarth can summon both Chameleon and Pluto, the character sprites. These skills are taken from the PSX version. The game also includes side quests that didn't appear in previous versions. The character list grows as you unravel the complex story. Tales of Phantasia is a lot like the older Final Fantasy games as you walk around the map very quickly. Most towns are within easy reach and this keeps the story moving at a reasonable clip. Throughout your quest, you will accumulate a diverse team including a summoner, ninja, mage, and archer. [b]Controls[/b] The controls are a bit hard to master but the intuitive real-time aspect is different from most GBA games. Because of the control pad, the player has to firmly press a direction to make sure that they will execute the proper move. However, the skill selection is easy to set and has been a staple of &quot;Tales&quot; games. [b]Character Equipment[/b] Character equipment is another important aspect of the game. As the player advances throughout the journey, weapons, armor, shields, wands, books, and about everything else can be bought. This is simplified with a green or red arrow on each character's picture. When it is green, the item is better than what they are currently using. If it is red, then you shouldn't buy it. You can develop very different characters by your gameplay in real-time battles, as this will effect which weapons you will buy. [b]Final Comments[/b] Bottom line, the game is a lot of fun and will keep you playing until the end. Cress (a young swordsman) and the gang supply a different and entertaining installment to the &quot;Tales&quot; series. Official website can be found at Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town Tue, 13 Mar 2007 00:17:49 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Harvest_Moon.JPG" border="0" src="" alt="Harvest_Moon.JPG" /></a><br /><br />by: NevesElocin<br /><br />Description: Harvest Moon is a cute game for the patient person. :). It is the second edition of the previous &quot;Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town&quot;. The main difference is that in this game, you are playing the role of a girl rather than a boy. [b]Overview[/b] It centers on farming and raising a family while making friends in a small town of close knit people. It also involves raising and caring for crops (duh) and various livestock. It may sound boring but it actually isn't. [b]Game Play[/b] Like I said before its for people with a lot of patience. You start out as, depending on which version you have, a city slicker (I for some reason like that word) or a simple girl. In either case you inherit an old busted-up farm and you are entrusted to revive it. You'll start by clearing the land. And that in itself is a full-time job as weeds (yep you got em) pop up every day. And once you have finally cleared the land, you plant your crops. Depending on how well you deal with the townfolk you get certain privileges. For instance, if you make friends (and stay friends) with the grocery store owner, then your prices will drop a little. There are also the Harvest Goddess and the Kappa to deal with. Make offerings to both and life will be somewhat easier for you. Also don't forget to go to confession to have your sins forgiven. After a while you'll want some company in your home and then you will have the option of getting married. To do this, you will need to build affection towards your intended person and once you've raised it enough, you can marry him. You of course have rivals in this department. Which is what makes it interesting. Once you do get married you have a child and the story goes from there. [b]Overall[/b] There are far too many facets of the game for me to tell you them all but it's great. Give it a try! Its probably more for people who like RPG's than others. Good luck and happy harvesting. Wii Play Fri, 09 Mar 2007 19:51:48 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Wii_Play.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Wii_Play.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Mattness<br /><br />Description: Wii Play is similar to Wii Sports and is a collection of 1 or 2 player games. It has cartoonish graphics that won't win any contest but they do give the minigames a care-free and funny feeling. The music is comical but has alot of flare and is reminiscent of older 16-bit soundtracks. Wii Play is centered on the games instead of stunning graphics or deep voice acting. The total of 9 games include: [list=1] [*] Table Tennis - The is basically a fancy game of Pong, rallying back and forth by moving the Wii remote. The Mii characters are supported, and are represented by the audience. As the game progresses, the audience grows larger and the ball moves faster and faster. [*] Laser Hockey - Played like air hockey, this is a two-player game where the players move the Wii remote to deflect shots and try to score in the opponents goal. Twisting the paddle aims the ball. According to developers, the physics engine used to calculate the velocity and position of the shots is extremely advanced, but can sometimes get frustrating when the puck gets trapped along the side. [*] Charge! - The player takes a bull (or cow) by the horns, and steers it by holding the Wii Remote sideways, as if gripping reins, and topples scarecrows to score points within a time limit. [*] Tanks - My favorite game! The player controls a tank with the Wii Remote, aims the cannon, bounces shells off walls, and blasts opponents in a block-like world. As the player progresses, the stages get harder with new tanks and tighter spaces. [*] Fishing [*] Matching [*] Billards (pool) [*] A shooting gallery [*] A &quot;Find Mii&quot; game in which the player tries to mind the charactors that is described it starts. [/list] Red Steel Fri, 09 Mar 2007 18:01:15 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Red-steel.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Red-steel.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Mattness<br /><br />Description: Red Steel is an action game of fighting scenes focusing around a blend of gunfights and swordplay. The game is PG-13 and has mild content so Red Steel is not suited for the younger players. In Red Steel, the player is [i]forced[/i] to engage in sword fights throughout the game which can get a little annoying at times. The player should be able to choose their own fighting style. [b]Controls[/b] The fighting styles are utilized by the unique capabilities of both the Wii motion sensor controller and nunchaku attachments. The player can also lob grenades in a more realistic fashion. Either underarm or overarm lobs are possible using the controller as the object being thrown. The weapons are diverse throughout the levels but you will find yourself using the pistol and Uzi submachine gun alot. [b]Graphics[/b] The developers tried hard to add fine details to the scenes, but unfortunately they are lost throughout the game as you rush through hallway and other passages that aren't swarming with people. The graphics are designed to show an artistic style rather than photorealism. [b]Music is a Giveaway[/b] The music is average and changes whenever you encounter gunmen. This takes away the surprise when you were supposed to jump around the corner and see six enemies well protected with shotguns. Instead, the player can simply throw a grenade around the wall (using the nunchaku attachment to control the method of delivery). [b]Multiplayer Game Mode[/b] In multiplayer game mode, Red Steel is fast paced and takes a while to get the hang of. Unless you have a huge TV, the targeting circle will once in a while get stuck on the side of the screen and the player will spin helplessly untill they manage to get it centered again. [b]Overall[/b] I liked Red Steel but if you are looking for more diversity in levels and enemies, look elsewhere. The official Red Steel site can be found at which also includes a trailer of the game. Jade Empire Special Edition (PC) Tue, 06 Mar 2007 08:30:49 +0000 <a href=""><img title="jade_empire_dh_wallpaper_1600x1200.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="jade_empire_dh_wallpaper_1600x1200.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: aceman67<br /><br />Description: [b]Outline[/b] Step into the role of an aspiring martial arts master and follow the path of the Open Palm or Closed Fist. In this multi-award-winning action-RPG, your choices and actions will determine the fate of an empire. Will you prevent the destruction of this beautiful land or crush it beneath your heel? Are you a warrior who uses strength and fighting mastery to bring peace, or will your power bring pain and ruin? [b][color=yellow]The Choice Is Yours![/color][/b] [b]Quality[/b] Now, I haven't played very much into the game (I've gotten as far as Tien's Landing), and so far, I'm amazed at the quality of the game, not only by the game play system, which is refined and stable, but the deep engaging story line. All of which is what I expect from Bioware, having been a fan of Baulders Gate and KotOR. All of that is well in good, but what amazed me the most is the visual quality, considering the system requirements are not what you expect from other games that have been released lately, and are pretty forgiving for gaming systems that don't quite have the &quot;oomph&quot; (I installed the game on my brothers computer, a 2 year old dell with a 128mb nvidia card, and it plays decently) required for games like Quake 4 or Rainbow Six Vegas. The game plays at 1600x1200 with all the graphical goodies maxed out on my computer (Custom built AMD Athlon 64 2ghz, 1 gig ram, 256mb ATi Radeon x1300), and I get silky smooth game play. KotOR 1 or 2 doesn't even do that on my computer. Needless to say, this isn't something I can't get my head around... Here's a Screenshot: [url=](link)[/url] [b]New Goodies Added[/b] But when you come down to it, this is just an X-Box port with new goodies added, which include new fighting styles and new monsters, increased graphics and visual effects, keyboard / mouse and gamepad support, and a world map. So if you have played the Xbox version, you won't find much new things to be had from the old game. [B]Load Times[/b] To Answer the question below, On my computer, which is a mid range gaming rig, the load times are actually quite short, never being more then 10 seconds. Part of this can be attributed that the game isn't loading off a DvD, but a hard drive. I would expect that if you had a hacked xbox with the game on its hard drive, the load times would be about the same as on my computer. Tales Of The Abyss Sun, 04 Mar 2007 08:09:25 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Talesoftheabyss.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Talesoftheabyss.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: Naruto1988<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] This story takes place in the world of Auldrant. There is a young boy whom is highly nobile and has never once in his life left his mansion. His name is Luke Fon Fabre. The world is composed of fonons (a material energy found in all things). Luke has been hearing a odd voice in his head that sounds identical to him and it causes him to black out often. During his training in the courtyard, a mysterious woman who is a seventh fonist attempts to assassinate his master. Luke then precedes to attack her however he is teleported due to a hyper-ressonance (an occurrence when 2 or more 7th fonist collide with one another). He is then left alone in a different country away from his home and everything he knows. He is called the sacred flame and becomes engulfed in a story that will change the very world and his very life. [b]Gameplay[/b] The gameplay is one of the best I have played. It's identical if not the same as all the other games involving tales. Somewhat a side scroller, however in this game there is a motion called &quot;free run&quot; that allows you to move freely around the battle field - something that was first done in Star Ocean II. Many combos can be linked with your teammates. For example, if you do a &quot;rising fang&quot; which in this case knocks your opponent in the air and your magic ally casts a spell on the same opponent, it will become a combo attack. I have yet to see the limit of them because I have done up to 4 attacks at any one time (only 4 team members allowed on screen). This gameplay is overall amazing and i think its highly strategic in a way but you will have to see for yourself. [b]Features[/b] For all you anime fans, many of the events and important cut sense take place in a anime scene. This I think makes the game even better. [i]Skits:[/i] there are a few anime skits along the story - some of which have nothing to do with the story at all but are very fun and amusing to watch so check the game out. I recommend this game to all RPG fans. The official website can be found at Final Fantasy VI Advance Wed, 28 Feb 2007 20:31:12 +0000 <a href=""><img title="final-fantasy-vi.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="final-fantasy-vi.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] War has ravaged the land in the past, but the world, as it stands now, is mostly back to &quot;normal&quot;, however, despite this relative normalcy, there is a powerful wind of change blowing as the Gestahl Empire is looking to broaden its claims on the world. [b]HowÖ eccentric[/b] The thing I love about this game is how it balances on the knife's edge between the clichť of a &quot;divine mission&quot; to destroy the Empire, and the opposite of just &quot;falling into&quot; a plot to overthrow the Empire (I'm looking at you Suikoden). What I love, particularly, is how well crafted the story is. All of the characters (except for the two bonus characters) have a wonderfully crafted and intricate story, and often there are little Easter eggs in major conversations, depending on who you have in the party. [b]Audio / Visual[/b] The most major changes in the port of the game are how they revamped the entire soundtrack. It sounds a lot better than it did on the Super Nintendo, or the PS1. Similarly, they reworked the script so that several scenes make more sense, or just sound more natural. The Opera scene is a good example of this. Not only does the music sound moreÖ well, musical, but also the lyrics to the Opera have been changed to fit the music better. Also, the rhymes donít sound as elementary. Final Fantasy VI sets a new standard of what story telling should be like. Despite the limits of sprites, the emotional score and colorful script bring the characters to life in a way that extols the virtues of the human heart, while declaring the tragedy of war in a way that is so much more global, but yet so personal and moving. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] If you listen to one thing I ever say, or read any of my reviews and take heed, listen to this: [b][color=red]BUY THIS GAME![/color][/b] I have lived in an era where this was a largely forgotten game. Constantly in the shadow of FFVII, FFVI is a marvelous game that has always been both rare, and expensive because of it, but this is another version, and probably the best opportunity to buy it. It is portable, for goodness sake! I have NEVER met someone that loved FFVII and who did not love FFVI MORE after I recommended it to them. If that isn't enough for you, then consider this: there is all new content (a new dungeon) for even veteran player to test their mettle against. It is all around fantastic! The only downside to the same is that the magic system is a little simple, especially when you are used to playing games with tons of in-depth customization like in FFVII, but even still, it is a well built game. This was one of many of the largely forgotten RPGs that built the foundation, and stand better, than many current games of the same genre. The story sets a new standard for life, war, and tragedy. [b]Final Verdict: 9.7/10[/b] .hack//G.U. Vol. 1 Rebirth Wed, 31 Jan 2007 22:03:59 +0000 <a href=""><img title="dothackGU-vol1-rebirth.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="dothackGU-vol1-rebirth.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] After being PK'ed (Player Killed) on his first adventure in &quot;The World&quot; by people who pretended to be newbie helpers, and after his good friend Shino disappears after being PK'ed by a mysterious character, Haseo dedicates his in-game life to becoming &quot;The Terror of Death&quot; the legendary PKK (Player Killer-Killer). However just when he tracks down the player he believes PK'ed Shino, Tri-Edge, he too is killed by this unbelievably strong player. And what is this? His virtual armor and weaponry is being shattered into binary with each parry! Haseo wakes up and he is at level 1 again, and has made a lot of powerful enemies on his way to the top. [b]Controls[/b] The game plays similarly to Kingdom Hearts in the Action RPG style of game play. The people in your party cannot be directly ordered, but you can establish about how aggressively or defensively you want them to act using a series of grids similar to the interface from the SNES game &quot;Secret of Mana&quot;. The battle system was vastly improved from the first .hack games. There are combo techniques, and your skills are determined by your level with that weapon rather than whatever type of weapon you are using. There is a new &quot;morale&quot; system, which encourages you to fulfill certain parameters for a coordinated group attack. Different characters respond favorably to different things. Your kind-hearted cleric will be motivated when you use a healing item on someone. Your &quot;mentor&quot; will be inspired when you do combo attacks that land a lot of hits. [b]Graphics and Sound[/b] The in game videos use cell shading a lot more extensively than the first series did, which gives a much greater capacity for motion and expression. Furthermore, the entire look of the game has grown up considerably. This version of the world is an entirely different piece of software since the last game, and it looks it. For one thing, the characters are considerably more &quot;grown-up&quot; looking than in most of the other series. The soundtrack, as is par for .hack, is phenomenal. The entire score has a touch of darkness that permeates it, and instills in the gamer this feeling of dread that is just beyond one's sight. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] .hack//G.U. is so much darker than any of the shows that have come before it. The main character isn't altruistic; he isn't nice; he isn't weak. His experiences within the game, and his confidence in the power that he [i]had[/i] gives him this unrelenting arrogance which even might make the gamer a bit uncomfortable. Most of the characters themselves interpret this to him simply being a jerk, when in actuality he is driven by something much more important than what he often finds himself doing. The last .hack series had its flaws: long dungeons, boring combat, and a forgettable hero, but .hack//G.U. delivers a vastly improved tale of one player's determination to find the truth, no matter what the cost. [b]Final Verdict: 9.5 out of 10[/b] Mega Man Maverick Hunter X Wed, 31 Jan 2007 21:16:01 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Mega-Man-Maverick-Hunter.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Mega-Man-Maverick-Hunter.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] In the year 21XX and humans and reploids (extremely intelligent robots) have been co-existing peacefully, however more and more malfunctions have been appearing. These rogue reploids, called Mavericks, are running rampant and plotting to finally, and completely, shirk the yoke of their human companions. It is up to Mega Man X and Zero, and their Maverick hunter companions to stop them. [b]Controls[/b] If you've ever played a Mega Man game, you already have a grasp on the controls. In case you didn't already know, this is a remake of the first Mega Man X, and it handles about the same way, except that you have access to the analog stick, which facilitates a quick change of weaponry mid-level. Oh, speaking of mid-level, you can also leave a level without beating the boss, which is a welcome change if you want to go around collecting the power-ups before you tackle the bosses. Purists may see this as making the game too easy, and evoking, &quot;Back in my day&quot; speeches all around, but I think it just makes it less frustrating. [b]Graphics and Sound[/b] One of the coolest things about MMX:MH is the voice acting, and not only are the voices appropriate, but there was attention paid to giving the voices that metallic twang like you would expect a robot to have. The second coolest thing about the game is the re-done soundtrack. The X series has always been known for its heavy metal soundtracks, but they have been taken from midi format and re-done as befitting the capability of the Playstation Portable (PSP). I will say, that perhaps it is my conservative nature, but I was not too impressed with the 3D art at first, but the 3D rendering, while it lacks the nostalgic presence of sprites, allows for a wider range of animation within the story related segments of the game. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] I'll admit that I have always been a Mega Man X fan, but this game gets me pumped up. When I was 7, I picked up the original in its large SNES &quot;cart&quot; glory (some of you young whipper-snappers probably don't even know what a &quot;cart&quot; is, except for perhaps an instrument of vehicular tom-foolery). Beyond my fanboyism, the game boasts two really cool features for when you beat it for the first time. First, you unlock the OVA movie: &quot;Day of Sigma&quot; (in widescreen, of course), and also the ability to play through the game as Vile, who, if you have played the later X series games, plays similarly to Zero in that he has a plethora of moves acquired from the bosses instead of blaster weapons. I had my doubts about this game, but it came through. I donít know if this game should make you want to buy a PSP if you don't already have one, but I really tried to find something negative to say about it, and I really can't. Everything about this game was so masterfully improved from the original that I have no complaints. [b]Final Verdict: 10 out of 10[/b] Urban Chaos - Riot Response Tue, 30 Jan 2007 04:33:29 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Urban_Chaos_Riot_Response.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Urban_Chaos_Riot_Response.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: [b]Plot[/b] Former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran, Nick Mason, returns to a city in shambles. The &quot;Burner&quot; gang has been causing city-wide riots that the local law enforcement can hardly control. When Mason receives word that his father was killed in a surge of gang violence, he realizes that it is time for him to return home and reclaim the city he loves. To combat the all out war that is going on, out on the streets, a new highly armed and armored riot control unit is created: T-Zero. This unit is experimental and extremely controversial and YOU are the one who has to prove to the country that you are not only effective, but worth the tax-payerís money. [b]Control[/b] It is a standard dual-analog control pattern common to FPS games. However, the shield is built as a separate button from the weapons, giving you easy access for when you have a machete flying towards you. [b]Visual and Sound[/b] The graphics are good, but not spectacular. All of the gangers wear masks, which helps them from having the &quot;clone army&quot; feeling. The missions are tied together by news reports which are all done by live actors. It's bit of an unusual approach, but it works none the less. Urban Chaos boasts an electrifying soundtrack which keeps you pumped up during the missions, and is an awesome way to rock out in between. [b]Delivery[/b] The unique thing to Urban Chaos, is that as a riot officer, you have two particular tools at your disposal that are more uncommon among FPSs: Riot shields and a taser. The shield quickly becomes your best friend, allowing you to quickly stop a lunging ganger, or for blocking flying debris. The taser is [i]supposed[/i] to be used for the &quot;winning the hearts and minds&quot; part of the game. Instead of killing all of your opponents, you will be rewarded for just stunning them to bring them in for questioning. However, let it be known that if you hold down the trigger for long enough, they will light on fire, and honestly, if you don't think that's the coolest thing ever, you should probably check and see if you're not clinically dead. [b]Rated M[/b] This game defines what an &quot;M&quot; rated game should look like. The cursing and jeers of the gangers, especially as you progress through the game and gain some measure of notoriety, adds to the chaotic atmosphere of the game. This is certainly not a game for the weak of heart. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] Urban Chaos offers a surprising amount of replay ability and advancement with the medal system, giving you upgrades for fulfilling in-game secondary objectives. From higher damage pistols to smoke grenades, it would certainly be in your best interest to go back and clean up the streets after you accomplish your primary missions. This game is visceral and intense, but it rarely seems egregious; your city and your father were robbed from you while you were fighting to protect your country. Professionalism is for the beat cops. You are America's best, and you have a vendetta. Wii Sports (Wii) Sun, 28 Jan 2007 14:53:50 +0000 <a href=""><img title="wii-sports-nitendo.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="wii-sports-nitendo.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: I donít think thereís been a bundled game for a launch console since the original NES (Duck Hunt or Super Mario Bros). Maybe this is Nintendoís sign for its potential second coming as being the top dog in the industry. With the Wii, Nintendo is hoping to capture the non-gaming audience and Wii Sports is a perfect example of this. [b]Overview[/b] Don't expect much from this game, as it comes bundled with every Wii system. I would also say, donít be surprised if this is one of your most played games on the system. Wii sports is basically a showcase for Nintendoís new baby. The motion sensor is utilized in every game and does it quite nicely. There are 5 different sports to choose from; golf, tennis, boxing, bowling, and baseball. There is no online play, and I'm glad there isn't. I think that would've taken away the fun of multiplayer with people around you. Some friendly competition in the same room is always better than kicking some stranger's virtual butt. All the games can be multi-player up 4 people. [b]Controls[/b] The amount of control in each game is sparse, which is exactly what Nintendo was aiming for. The controls are easy to learn and you'll be able to figure it out the first time you pick it up, even if you've never played a video game before. Most things can be done with a slight motion of the wrist, or you can go all out and imitate you favorite sports star. Some games are harder to control than others. Golf and boxing, you'll be spending some time trying to figure out how to exactly do what you want. [b]Other Features[/b] Along with the 5 sports to choose from there is a training mode, which is just as fun as the main sports games. You pick a sport you want to train in and it will give you 1 training exercise at first, but will eventually be 3 for each sport. These are basically mini-games and are great fun. Trying to beat the high score will have you playing again and again. You receive different medals for achieving a certain score. These training games can get really addictive. I remember playing &quot;Power Bowling&quot; for hours on end one day trying to get the gold medal. That's probably my favorite training game. There's also the fitness mode that tracks your progression in the game. After making your Mii profile, Wii sports will graph your improvements over time and tell you your fitness age. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] With this game you have to be careful you don't hit anything or anyone. Our household hasn't had that problem and we've played plenty. Some games can get pretty intense in the heat of competition. This game is a perfect bundle game for the Wii. If you don't plan on buying any other games with the Wii, Wii sports will do a great job of keeping you entertained till that next great game comes along. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (MPO) Sat, 27 Jan 2007 22:30:50 +0000 <a href=""><img title="mpo1.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="mpo1.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: OdysseanPromise<br /><br />Description: Do you own a PSP? Do you like Metal Gear Solid? Well then what are you waiting for? [b]Plot[/b] 1970, the American war machine is hard at work in the jungles of Vietnam while politicians back in Washington are working tirelessly to make sure that they stay one step ahead of the Soviet Union in the grand scale of the Cold War. Deterrence and propaganda are more important than ever in this new war, but what does that matter to the legendary hero, Big Boss, who has been in retirement for several years now? Everything, because Big Boss, Snake, has been caught up in a military coup. FOX has taken over a military installation in South America that is not even supposed to exist, but when America's newest and greatest war machine is stolen, someone has to be held accountable. When Snake wakes up, he has no idea where he is or why he's there. After being &quot;interrogated&quot; by FOX's specialist, Lt.Cunningham, Snake has no choice but to fall back on his Special Forces training: Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape. [b]System[/b] In every way, this is a Metal Gear Solid game. No more cards, turns or &quot;soda can shaped&quot; Metal Gears. This is tactical espionage action and you'll only make it using all of Snake's old tricks. This time though, instead of having a Mary Poppin's bag which allowed players of the past to carry an M16, an AK, grenades, RPG's, Stingers, Claymores, rations, porno mags, extra clips, and your trusty Mach 3 Razor, you can only carry four items. Suddenly, you are much more limited on how you play. Do you run and gun with an M16, or do you sneak in with your MK22? Youíre forced to be resourceful and creative. What Would Snake Do? Expect to devote a lot of time to recruiting. Unlike the previous games, it pays to NOT kill everyone in your path. Knock out your opponents and take them back to your truck to have them join your party (after some backstage &quot;negotiation&quot;). You will be able to assign these members to spying, technical, and medical units, in addition to being on Snake's party. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] MPO pushes the graphical limits of the PSP, and while there is no room for complete voice acting, it does provide voice acting for the cut scenes. Naturally, David Hayter comes back for Snake. The controls require a little getting used to, due to working with fewer buttons, but the flow is pretty natural once you play for an hour or two. This is the &quot;missing link&quot; leading to Outer Heaven, and it is a tale frequented less of the occasional humor that the previous games had and focuses more on the inhumanity of war; Realities that Snake as a soldier might have been able to ignore, but as a leader cannot. Soldiers may be ready to sacrifice their lives, but a leader must not be so willing to sacrifice the lives of his men. Official Site - Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Sat, 27 Jan 2007 15:06:53 +0000 <a href=""><img title="donkey-kong1.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="donkey-kong1.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Donkey Kong has always been a favorite for me. The old Donkey Kong Country games had me playing non-stop and DK 94í was also amazing. I canít say the same for DK64, which I thought was complete garbage. Good thing Nintendo came out with a refreshing innovative game called Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. [b]Game Control[/b] This game is controlled with a set of bongos. You can use the regular GC controller if you want but you wonít get the full experience of the game and will make it harder to control your character. The bongos are not a &quot;gimmick&quot;. You hit the right bongo to move right and the left one to move left. Hitting both bongos at the same time will enable you to jump up. You clap, or tap the side of the bongo for attacking and other actions. With this controller you can do everything you need to in the game. At first I found it frustrating, but with just a little time it really grew on me and made me realize exactly how innovative the game really was. Once you get the controls down, you'll be bongo-ing to victory. [b]Game Overview[/b] You control Donkey Kong collecting bananas to help your other little friends overcome evil enemies. The game is like a normal platformer with jumping and killing baddies, but with a intuitive combo system. Connecting your attacks, aerial acrobats, and other various moves adds extreme replay to the game. It's quite satisfying when you are awarded those shiny medals. More medals you get, more levels are revealed. Mastering each level by collecting bananas in a combo chain really makes you think of how to execute your moves. The game has a nice ascension of difficulty as you progress in the game. There are plenty of stages and with each stage there are 3 levels with the last one being the boss. Boss battles are intense and great fun. [b]Music and Appearance[/b] The game has a colorful array of differently themed stages which all look amazing. The music in the game is also another high point with scores that fit the stages impeccably. When you play the game you will notice the tempo of the music will speed up or slow down according to your action. I was always a fan of DK game music and with this game itís no different. [b]Final Thoughts[/b] Overall, this is definitely a game worth getting for any gamer. I canít imagine my collection without it. Such great controls and innovative gameplay is an instant win for me. It's just fun, which as of late hasnít been all that prevalent in the gaming world. Novices and hardcore alike, this game offers enough for anyone to enjoy the game. If you liked past Donkey Kong games or just need a refreshing experience, this game will do it. Official website at Animal Crossing (Nintendo DS) Fri, 26 Jan 2007 15:46:26 +0000 <a href=""><img title="animal-crossing-game.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="animal-crossing-game.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Animal Crossing for the DS is what I'd like to call a social game. Itís like living a virtual life in a little animal town. To compare this game to any other game would be unfair. It isnít objective oriented like &quot;The Sims&quot; or &quot;Harvest Moon&quot;, itís just living in a virtual world. I was expecting something along the lines of the aforementioned games but I was wrong. This game doesnít hold the same single player experience; it's a unique experience. [b]Game Plan[/b] You get to know the neighbors and you make little chit chat with them. Animals come and go; time goes on. Day by day you spend your time the way you see fit. If you donít want to do anything but fish all day, you can. You can go dig holes for treasure or go around catching various insects. You can go spend money at the store to buy some new threads or the featured items of the day. There really is a wide array of stuff you can do. [b]Excitement Missing[/b] With that said, this game is very bland. There isnít much to it. There are no levels and no great upgrades (besides your house). I know this isnít that type of game but I thought they needed more incentives in this game. I did play this game for a good while and got most of my house upgraded which is cool, but that was the only thing that I looked forward to doing in the game. Everything else is just collecting and selling items to make money. [b]The Store[/b] The other enjoyable element in this game is buying stuff. Tom Nook, the furry monopolizer, as Iíd like to call him, owns the main store in town, and your house in the beginning of the game. If you buy enough stuff from his store, heíll eventually upgrade his store. Checking his store for cool new items, and items to complete your collections is a daily thing to look forward to. [b]A Social Game[/b] The key component to this game is the online play. Without it, I wouldnít have played for as long as I did. Human interaction is key, that's why I labeled this a social game. Talking to computer animals just doesnít cut it, when they only have 1-2 phrases a day. The ability to have fellow Wi-Fi'ers visit your town, or you go visit theirs, is a cool experience. You get to see what they have collected in their virtual home and how they decided to decorate it. You can trade items or give gifts. You build relationships and talk about your day. Meet new friends and so on. That's the best part of this game. Wi-Fi on this game was executed nicely, although waiting to enter other towns or getting kicked off because others have slow routers, sucks. [b]Overall[/b] The Graphics are very chunky, resembling games of the 90's rather than the current high definition games we are used to. It's an enjoyable game to just kick back with and to chill out with. It picks up as you get more money and items, but it's basically more of the same. If you make good friends online, or have friends that play this, it's a great experience. Most of the people I used to play with stopped going online so I also stopped. Collecting stuff and customizing your town isn't the same when no one comes to visit and comment on your hard work. The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess Sat, 20 Jan 2007 18:44:07 +0000 <a href=""><img title="legend-of-zelda1.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="legend-of-zelda1.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: If youíve played any Zelda game you know what this series is all about. Besides the few that stray a little from the classic Zelda formula, they all still hold a certain charm and experience that this series is known for. This excludes those horrible CD-I games that I won't mention due to my great disgust. [b]Overview[/b] So what is this world renowned recipe that so many have tried to imitate but only to be found themselves steps below? Itís an epic adventure action game, lead by our hero Link; off to save the land of Hyrule and the lovely princess Zelda. Itís clichť but it works, it works so well, Zelda is known as one of most popular series in the gaming world. But I donít need to tell you that, so onto the review. [b]Story[/b] Here we have one of the more complex stories in a Zelda series, but that says very little. Zelda hasnít really been known for its stories, so Iíll keep this short. We have two worlds, the land of the Light and the Twilight. Twilight is in trouble and that has affected the Light world. The land of Light is slowly being engulfed in darkness, headed by a mysterious entity named Zant. Of course with the world in grave distress, Link is seen as the chosen one, foreseen by the sages to save both worlds. A cute little imp named Midna accompanies him on this epic journey. [b]Visuals and Audio[/b] When I heard that Zelda was heading towards a more realistic direction in terms of visuals, I thought of the bland and overdone imagery in so many other games, but this is not the case. Fully fleshed out in a more realistic art direction, Twilight Princess has one of the most engrossing worlds I have ever played. Everything is done very nicely; characters, dungeons, and the overworld all hold great beauty and style. The graphics aren't on par to what some would consider &quot;next-gen&quot; but the artistic style of Twilight Princess, or of any game, holds so much more value than the graphical output. You have your classic Zelda music and sounds only enhanced by the Wii-motes little speaker which ups the level of game immersion. I commend Nintendo for adding such a cool little feature. Although the sound from the Wii-mote is a bit jarring and loud at first, you get used to it and only intensifies your battles. [b]Controls[/b] FlawlessÖ Ok maybe not flawless, but damn close. I didn't have a moment where I was troubled by the Wii-mote and it all seemed very natural. The aiming with the Wii-mote is such a blessing to this game. Side stepping while taking out baddies shooting flaming arrows down at you is a great experience. Thinking back to the old days of aiming makes me shutter. The Z-Targeting system was great as usual and seemed even more on point than the previous games. The camera is auto but I have no complaints here. Before I played this game I read about complaints in this aspect but after the first 30 minutes I didnít even think about it. [b]Gameplay[/b] Here is where the game shines. I was anxious to see what Nintendo had done with Twilight Princess to make us wait so long, and after playing through the game it is understandable. Everything in this game screams classic Zelda but in a new refreshing manner. Itís the subtle nature of the world and dungeons are what impressed me about this game. The dungeons in this game were like no other in the series. The first few were simplistic and were what we expect from a Zelda game, but as the game progresses, we see Nintendo work its magic. You get in touch with the various characters you meet and you really feel like you are on an epic quest to save Hyrule. For example, when you enter the ice dungeon, you donít say to yourself, &quot;Hey it's the ice dungeon, where can I find my fire weapon and kill the master&quot;, instead you find yourself conversing with 2 friendly abominable snow beings that welcome you into their home; that has been infested with the evil from the Twilight. Differences like this make Twilight Princess what it is and not just another Zelda game. The weapons are also classic but refreshing. Unless youíve read about them, Iím pretty sure each dungeon will have you guessing a little about what you will get in that big treasure chest. Like I said before about the ice dungeon, this also applies to weapons. To say the least without any spoilers, you won't be getting a fire weapon in the ice dungeon. [u]FINAL THOUGHTS[/u] This is definitely an instant classic, and sits right beside the other classics in this series. I do have a few gripes, such as the easy bosses, and overall linearity of the game, but these are minor compared to the good points of the game. The story, visuals, audio, controls, and gameplay all put together in an impressive package. I wouldn't expect any less from Nintendo. I was apprehensive at this installment but all my doubts were quickly drowned out by the beauty that is, The Legend of Zelda. Final Fantasy III (Nintendo DS) Thu, 11 Jan 2007 04:14:43 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Final_Fantasy_III_DS_Boxart.png" border="0" src="" alt="Final_Fantasy_III_DS_Boxart.png" /></a><br /><br />by: aceman67<br /><br />Description: Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS is a remake of the Famicom version back in 1990, and is the only version of FFIII to be released in the West. [b]Game Plot[/b] The game's plot involves four orphaned youths who come across a crystal, which grants them a portion of its power, then instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Shocked but heartened, the four set out to explore and bring back balance to the world. [b]Game Play[/b] The game play remains mostly the same as the original with changes being made to some of the outdated and unbalanced game play elements, such as upgrading the turn-based battle system and tweaking the job system to make them more balanced. [u]Job Classes[/u] There are 23 job classes (24 if you count the Onion Knight, which is hidden in the game). [list] [*] [i]Freelancer:[/i] Default class. Unlike the Onion Knight in the Famicom version, they are able to use a wider array of weapons and can use black and white magic from the first level. [*] [i]Warrior:[/i] A general purpose fighter, specializing in attack power. [*] [i]Monk:[/i] A barehanded fighter who grows in power extremely fast. [*] [i]White Mage:[/i] A novice white magic user. Cannot use level 8 spells. [*] [i]Black Mage:[/i] A novice black magic user. Cannot use level 8 spells. [*] [i]Red Mage:[/i] A novice mage that can use both black and white magic, as well as an impressive arsenal of weapons. [*] [i]Thief:[/i] An extremely fast warrior that can raise the defense of himself and his allies while running, open locked doors, and steal treasure from his enemies. [*] [i]Ranger:[/i] A warrior proficient in the use of bows. [*] [i]Knight:[/i] A general purpose fighter, specializing in defense. They are also capable of using level 1 white magic. [*] [i]Scholar:[/i] An extremely bright warrior who is able to determine the weak points of their enemies. They are also able to use the first three levels of white and black magic. They also double the effect of items used. [*] [i]Geomancer:[/i] A warrior that is able to channel magic power from their surroundings to attack their enemies. [*] [i]Viking:[/i] A slow-growing warrior that is proficient in the use of heavy weapons such as axes and hammers. [*] [i]Dragoon:[/i] A special type of soldier that fights with spears and is able to leap high into the air. [*] [i]Black Belt:[/i] The stronger version of the Monk, capable of concentrating their attack power to make double-strength attacks. [*] [i]Dark Knight:[/i] A warrior that is proficient in the use of Dark Swords, which causes enhanced damage to replicating enemies. Also have the &quot;souleater&quot; ability, similar to Cecil's &quot;dark&quot; ability from FF4A. [*] [i]Evoker:[/i] A novice user of summoning magic. Randomly selects one of the two weaker effects whenever a spell is cast. [*] [i]Bard:[/i] Warriors who can achieve magical effects through the use of a harp and their voice. [*] [i]Magus:[/i] An expert black magic user. They are able to use the higher level spells more often, and are able to use level 8 magic. [*] [i]Devout:[/i] An expert white magic user. They are able to use the higher level spells more often, and are able to use level 8 magic. [*] [i]Summoner:[/i] An expert user of summoning magic. When they summon a creature they will always use the most powerful attack available. [*] [i]Sage:[/i] A warrior that is capable of using every white, black, and summoning spell available. They have relatively low MP for the higher levels, but more MP in the lower levels than the Devout, Summoner, or Magus. They are unable to use the Summon magic effects, and randomly decided between the white and black magic effects, similar to Evokers. [*] [i]Ninja:[/i] The ninja is capable of using nearly all weapons and armor and also has the unique ability to use thrown weapons, such as shurikens. [*] [i]Onion Knight:[/i] Hidden in the DS version. The Onion Knight is the only class that can use the Onion equipment, and their attributes experience explosive growth between the 93rd and 99th level. They also can use any magic spells or equipment normally reserved for other classes. [/list] [b]Graphics and Controls[/b] The Graphics are a mixture of both 2-D elements and 3-D rendering and are similar to a toned down version of Final Fantasy IX. The two screens of the DS are used in the game, although not that often. You can use the touch screen to issue commands, move characters, but it is somewhat clumsy and not that accurate as using the controls and buttons. [b]Music[/b] The music, as always with Final Fantasy games, is top notch, considering the limits of the DS platform. Like the scores of earlier 8-bit Final Fantasy games that had been remade, the Final Fantasy III DS remake features a faithfully rearranged version of the original score by Nobuo Uematsu. The score was arranged for the remake by Tsuyoshi Sekito and Keiji Kawamori, under Uematsu's supervision. A remix of &quot;This is the Final Battle&quot; by Uematsu's rock group, The Black Mages, as well as a techno version of &quot;Eternal Wind&quot; by muZik, appeared on the DS game's soundtrack, which was released in Japan on September 20. [b]Likes[/b] The graphics are great for the DS, and are quite pleasing, along with the music. [b]Beefs[/b] I constantly hit the start or select buttons, only to realize that they aren't used in this game (The R shoulder button is used for menu access). This game is ***king hard. Be prepared to spend ALOT of time on the world map near an Inn, cause alot of leveling up is needed. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Sat, 16 Dec 2006 15:45:25 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Ghost_Recon_Advanced_Warfighter.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Ghost_Recon_Advanced_Warfighter.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter is the best-looking game to date on the Xbox 360, and arguably the best in the series. Even at normal difficulty, campaigns are challenging and adrenaline-pounding. [b]Gameplan[/b] Players take the part of Scott Mitchell, captain of the elite Ghosts and Special Forces. A light infantry unit with members renowned for skill and heroism, they are equipped with the Integrated Warfighter System Ė an integrated combat system combining advanced weapon systems, satellite communication device, and enhanced survivability. [i]Start of Game[/i] At the start of the game, you find Mitchell in Mexico City as one of the entourage assigned with guarding a summit between the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the US. Mexican insurgents attack, leaving the Canadian prime minister dead and causing the disappearance of both Mexican and US presidents. You'll explore the vast city, all the while battling renegade infantry, armored tanks and helicopters in between high-rise areas and dilapidated outskirt shanties. The city is amazingly vast and believable Ė you'll see this clearly upon taking your requisite helicopter rides throughout the campaign. [b]The visuals[/b] are so realistic you truly feel you're in the city. The city sprawls with buildings and streets all the way to the horizon, and fire and smoke from factories curls up into the sky. The sunlight in Mexico City is bright and intense Ė oppressive and annoying at times, but is faithful to the real city. Ultimately, what turned GRAW into a class of its own are the controls. To help you through the immense battlefield, GRAW allows you to control not only youíre your three-man support ghost team, but also the support vehicles. Commanding Robotic UAV recon units, calling for air support, changing the rate of fire, type of grenade, sidling up to a wall, and sniping are all fitted into one 360 controller perfectly. You can track enemies, teammates, and objectives alike with your digitally marked HUD even when they are not in your line of sight. Commanding your unit is pretty easy. They can be commanded as a unit and theyíll respond to attack, move, or regroup commands. They are effective at firing on enemies but not when they are placed around corners Ė they step out and expose their location. Medikits are absent in GRAW. You'll find ammo stations intermittently in the battlefield where you can heal yourself. [b]Variety of Missions[/b] Now GRAW offers more out of the single-player campaign. There are standard capture the flag and deathmatch modes Ė exciting and works well with the included 10 maps. Cooperative campaign, though, is the most interesting aspect of the multiplayer repertoire. 4 particularly designed missions can be played locally or online with up to 16 players involved. [b]Sound and Graphics[/b] Lastly, the sound of the game is a perfect complement to the incredible graphics. The SFX are very sharp and dynamic Ė each gun has its unique sound, and explosions are literally deafening as it simulates the effect when an explosion goes off near you. GRAW is as real as it gets Ė the graphics, sounds, and even the adrenaline rush. Tomb Raider: Legend Sat, 16 Dec 2006 15:32:04 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Tomb_Raider_Legend.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Tomb_Raider_Legend.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Gamers and non-gamers alike, when asked who is the top ranking computer game heroine, the answers would invariably be Lara Croft. The buxom English heiress-cum-adventurer exploded into being years back, and has captivated fans all around the globe. [b]Legend Brings Back to Life[/b] Since the original title, Lara is now embarking on her seventh adventure Ė Tomb Raider: Legend. Its previous title was a huge flop, a disgrace best left forgotten. But with locations spanning the Far East and the heart of Africa, Lara's latest raid could redeem her yet. Legend brings back to life the Lara Croft gamers around the world had known and loved Ė athletic, entertaining, and intelligent. She virtually comes alive with complex abilities, moves, and expressions. Laraís appearance and movements are shaped to be an innate extension of her abilities, motivations, and overall personality. And with the jump to Xbox 360, Lara feels right at home in a more stunning world with improved controls and more of the puzzles and level designs that caught the imagination of the gamers over the title in the first place. [b]Lara is as Hot as Ever[/b] Her features are clearly defined Ė natural composition, realistic textures, detailed facial features, and fluid motions Ė all causing her to blend perfectly with her living, breathing environment. Lara is armed with newer and &quot;badder&quot; equipment Ė binoculars, magnetic grappler, grenades, personal lighting device, and communications equipment. New character animations and controls permit her to move through her striking surroundings with grace and precision, without deviating from the title's original explore-and-solve adventure appeal. Mammoth rooms with poles and ledges have returned, sans Laraís frustrating original method of navigation. Exploration is freer Ė each new challenge is a piece of cake mobility-wise. The puzzles have evolved to include Physics Ė the need to painstakingly set up jumps or blocks is a thing of the past. Laraís athleticism is delightfully evident Ė her movements are faster and more effortless, and she shimmies and swims if you want to speed things up. She would often use her new grapple wire in the game, and her old twin pistols with unlimited ammo stages a comeback. The lock-on targeting is near where youíd hope it would be, but manual targeting can only be done if you remain immobile while using it. Combat is better Ė up-close combat is added to her arsenal. Lara has excuses to earn plus cool points doing physically impossible stunts with the interactive cutscenes, though riding a motorcycle isn't as effective Ė the driving mechanics are feeble, and is one of the [b]drawbacks of the game[/b]. To counter the demerit, one is again allowed to explore Laraís manor. It is now an ingenious exploratory section full of mysteries. A reason this could have been included though is because of the relative shortness of the title, possibly in the whole TR series. The save-anywhere feature and the abundance of checkpoints are welcome, but the loading time after you die is a pain. [b]Overall[/b] Tomb Raider is a gaming legend, and Tomb Raider: Legend iterates that. Bully (Canis Canem Edit) Wed, 13 Dec 2006 09:55:56 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Bully_game.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Bully_game.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Rockstar, the same company that released the hit series Grand Theft Auto, comes another equally satisfying if not better game entitled Canis Canem Edit a.k.a. Dog Eats Dog. The game is not the usual beat-em-up kind of game, although the majority of the game play mechanics would involve bullying other people in the school. [b]Story[/b] The story evolved around 15 year-old Jimmy Hopkins was dropped off by his parents at the school in order to go on a luxury cruise. [b]Look and Feel[/b] Although Canis Canem Edit may not blow away players in the graphics department, the overall look and feel of the Bullworth Academy is noteworthy enough as it utilized the power of the playstation beyond its limits. The in-game animation is a cut above the rest, while the sound track is greatly selected and distributed all through out the game. Voices of the actors employed during the game, are well suited to the characters they are voicing out. The frame rate is good as well, though the camera angle sometimes hinders the proceedings of the game. Well, this is common in most playstation games. [b]Story Concepts[/b] The best thing about Canis Canem Edit may not be on the technical side, but it is definitely on the overall story concepts and the unique game play mechanics that goes with it. Being a mission-based game, Canis Canem Edit is packed with many missions that are not different from each other. Jimmy has to attend classes and should not loiter around the school exploring its every area. Attending classes gives Jimmy the chance to learn about certain tasks and things to accomplish. Finishing these tasks awards Jimmy new weapons to use or perform other actions that would be very useful in doing other harder tasks. For instance, attending a language task improves Jimmyís verbal abilities. This improved verbal ability allows Jimmy to beg off from enemies or apologize to school authorities. In a chemistry class, Jimmy can learn skills for mixing and concocting stink bombs and firecrackers that he can use when bullying other students belonging to different factions of the school. Bullying these student factions is the main objective of the game and comprises the different chapters of the game. [b]Extras[/b] Like in Grand Theft Auto, Canis Canem Edit is also packed with extras that need to be collected and gives players incentives at the end of the game. There are a lot of packages to search and find all over the school. There are a lot customs that can be bought and mini-missions to complete. All this can be done during the game or even after finishing the game towards the end. Despite these features and extras, Canis Canem Edit, is still fairly easy to beat and finish. It will take around 10-15 hours to finish one run of the game. The replayability factor is also high since there are still other things to do even after completing the main missions. [b]Overall[/b] Overall, Canis Canem Edit is a fun game that is certainly worth every buck of its price. The title of the game has been renamed to Canis Canem Edit due to controversial issues in the UK. Official site at Splinter Cell Double Agent Wed, 13 Dec 2006 09:37:35 +0000 <a href=""><img title="splinter_cell_double_agents.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="splinter_cell_double_agents.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Splinter Cell: Double Agent heralds the epic return of stealth action hero Sam Fisher in the realm of international espionage. The fourth of the popular Tom Clancy franchise Splinter Cell, this game promises more action, more ground-breaking graphics, and many other superlatives meant to whip hard core gamers, novices and curious Georges' into a frenzy. [b]Availability[/b] The game is available in several platforms: PS2, PC, Xbox, GameCube, Wii, and Xbox 360. Single and multiplayer modes are available. [b]Core Strength[/b] The core strength of the latest installment is its entertainment value. The game is given a generous dose of Hollywood magic: sharp direction from Andy Davis; credible voice characterization from Michael Ironside; and a soundtrack of cinematic proportions courtesy of Michael McCann. While gamers are treated to the usual pleasures of stealth games such as multiple explosions and flying scrap metals and body parts, Double Agent takes gaming to the next level by testing its playersí hierarchy of values. [b]The Missions[/b] The missions involve decision making processes that blur further the fine line between which is evil and which is the lesser evil; situations akin to whether or not to save the life of one person while risking thousands of others or to ensure the safety of the majority while sacrificing an innocent life or two in the process. The enemies are more challenging than their counterparts from the previous installments; the have better aim, they actually warn each other from possible danger and so on. The game has three possible endings, depending on the choices made by the player from each mission. [b]Design and Feel[/b] The game does not stray far from the other Splinter Cell games; the design and feel is similar. The game is user friendly; from the pull down menus that provide the objectives of Samís dual missions, to the quaint light indicator located Fisherís back - although this effectively conveys the message when he is in danger, majority of Splinter Cell fans claim they look like traffic lights. [b]Feedback[/b] The feedbacks of gamers who have sampled the Xbox platform have been overwhelmingly positive; for them, the game lives up to its hype. Although they admit the game is nowhere near being revolutionary, the graphics go beyond the usual fare of stealth game eye candies and the Hollywood treatment (and influence) ironically provides a more human touch to Fisher and the game with its morally challenging missions. [b]Downfalls[/b] For PC users, the game has been nightmarish: numerous bugs, conflicts or errors in coding; poor frame rates, and hardware incompatibility. Discontent echoed throughout forums and message boards. It appears Double Agent upholds a double standard; one platform seems to outperform another. It is then up to the prudent gamer to decide how to maximize his or her pleasure; choose the best platform available or wait for the bugs of another platform to be fixed. LocoRoco Sat, 09 Dec 2006 07:54:23 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Locoroco.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Locoroco.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Locoroco is another original Japanese game created by Sony Computer Entertainment for its PSP series. While the game is quite simple, the storyline is what will certainly catch the interest of most avid game fanatics. A game that may be attractive to people of all ages, the mechanics of the game is quite simple, try to survive from invaders in the game by taking the environment of the game world into the playerís hands! [b]Simple yet Effective[/b] The graphics may not be as attractive as most online games, but considering the game play, the goal of the game is as simple as most games released before. Locoroco is tagged as a simple character that thrives on berries to grow in size. The game is based on gravity, where nudges from the left and right controllers of the PSP will tilt Locoroco to the desired place on the game screen. The twist is when a villain is placed in the whole perfect world scenario, the Moja Troop. Following the storyline of the game, Locoroco is not aware to handle such situation, leaving it at the hands of the player to guide him to safety through the changing obstacles and game environment. The purpose is really survival and dealing with the various characters created in the game. Among the characters to be encountered include the likes of Mui Mui, a friend of Locoroco hidden in key places in the game and provides house pieces that are relevant to the mini games included in the game. [b]Game Purpose[/b] The graphics presentation is quite simple. Not much sophistication is needed, and the purpose of the game is really to provide a simple adventure type of a game in arcade style. The game is similar like a maze where encounters with the different characters such as Moja, Ojya, the boss of Moja, and Ho ho. It is important for the player to gain knowledge on whether the characters in the game are friends or foes as it is really a mix of villains and colleagues in the course of game play. [u]Critique[/u] For avid game enthusiasts, the manner of presentation of graphic representation of the characters may come to be disappointing. However, whatever shortcoming that graphics may have done, the complement of the musical score makes up. Additionally, the game is similar to the usual plot of games, where advancing to next worlds or higher levels will make completion harder for the player. The various obstacles and the increase of more characters, especially in the villain roles will add the needed challenge that a player needs to go through in the environment that will surely change along the way. Simple and strategic wise, Locoroco is a game that should definitely be given a try for the avid gamers who want something challenging and worth their while. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Sat, 09 Dec 2006 07:45:13 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Grand_Theft_Auto-Vice_City_Stories.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Grand_Theft_Auto-Vice_City_Stories.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Take a colorful game. Spruce it up with a lot of action. Glaze it with a little blood and a lot of motion. After that, you may wonder what youíd get. Well, itís actually quite simple. If you ended up with something like [i]Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories[/i], then youíre in for a real success. This is the 4th of the grand Theft Auto franchise. Serving as a delayed prequel to the original game, this particular one has had quite a following even before it was released. In fact, over 4 million pre-orders were made before the release! Now that is an impressive number, even more than what most video games would ever achieve in a lifetime! [b]Quality[/b] In terms of quality, most of the brighter characteristics of the game are actually spin offs of the original hit. Just like it, it has the vital elements of colorful visual display, compelling sound effects, smooth level transitions and a decent story line. The impact of the other games also contributed to the mass anticipation. However, it was Vice City Stories' characteristics that didnít disappoint the world's players. [b]Comparison[/b] However, this game is also always compared to the other Grand Theft Auto games. The reactions on this kind of comparison are of a mixed blend. To some, Vice City seems to be so much like the other ones, thus making it lackluster in terms of new discoveries. On the other hand, there are also people who seem to think that this game is a very improved one. Reviewers and professional game critics even agree that it has taken to consideration common reactions and qualms regarding the previous franchises. [b]Graphics[/b] The undeniably impressive visual displays and graphics are also so popular, that it helped PS 2 to stay afloat despite the widespread releases of more advanced and modern gaming technologies. It has a flawless graphic character that it outshines even the latest games made for X Box and other advanced competitors. [b]Overall[/b] All in all, this game is a perfect mix. It makes owning a PS 2 unit worthwhile. It challenges both your mind without stressing you out. It also utilizes colorful graphics and brilliant sound effects without compromising the story line and other crucial elements. Whether you are a serious gamer, a wacky player or othersÖ only one thing is certain. Youíll certainly be in for one heck of a gaming treat. What are you waiting for? Grab a copy now and start playing like you have never played before. Indeed, an out of this world adventure awaits you with every copy. Enjoy it now and experience the ultimate gaming satisfaction. It can only happen with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Donít you ever dare miss it! Pro Evolution Soccer 6 Thu, 07 Dec 2006 07:36:28 +0000 <a href=""><img title="ProEvolution_Soccer6.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="ProEvolution_Soccer6.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: &quot;The beautiful game&quot; never fails to capture the imagination of the world. Whenever the World Cup is on, conflicts are temporarily ceased Ė the world is at peace as it beholds the talented and the daring, and waits with bated breath for the emergence of the deserving Champions. It is only logical then for the computer gaming industry to try and capture the spirit of the game. Pro Evolution Soccer was created for the fanatic and the curious, and tries to simulate the reality that is soccer - though that goal is yet to be realized, step by step it is getting there. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is the latest to come out of the video gaming series. Comparing with another game of the same sport, FIFA 07, it fails to surpass, graphics-wise. But PRE6 does for football simulation what none of the FIFA games could do. A major downside of the game is the issues with team licensing and players - many officially licensed teams are absent. An inferior menu notwithstanding (and with that horrid music), the actual game has simpler controls. It has a much more natural football atmosphere, and offers so much more fluidity and versatility. PRE6 is based on an uncomplicated concept Ė it works better and does more than the FIFA games wherein you rely on more button controls that achieve less. It allows the player to continually switch between varieties of attacking options. [b]Better than it's predecessor[/b] Comparing it with its predecessor, it is especially good to note that the referees are now &quot;calmer&quot; Ė they wonít blow you up for a foul when your player happens to graze another. It is one of the good changes in the game Ė the game flows much more nicely. You can even perform quick free kicks if you hit the correct buttons in time, and get the game on the move without having everyone get into position. The physics works better and much more naturally. Through pass is more instinctive, and you are given the option to use an array of formations to accomplish different offensive goals. Shooting has been fine-tuned Ė better timing is of the essence. The controlled shot-modifying button is more useful, and proper use will yield a larger percentage of your shots actually hitting the target. The way the ball and the player behave the duals is also more natural. Crosses from the wing are almost effortless, and can be one of the most powerful attacking weapons. Attackers appear more powerful and they really push through defenders when trying to get a header on the goal. The online play is lag-ridden Ė come corner kicks, the game turns into a slideshow. Play against an opponent on the other side of the world and you wonít be experiencing much of the game. One has to learn to play around the hellish delay. And to appreciate matter over style, on the whole. [i]This game is called Winning Eleven in the Americas and PES in Turkey.[/i] Nintendogs: Dalmatian &amp; Friends Thu, 07 Dec 2006 07:27:20 +0000 <a href=""><img title="Nitendogs_Dalmation_Friends.jpg" border="0" src="" alt="Nitendogs_Dalmation_Friends.jpg" /></a><br /><br />by: game4me<br /><br />Description: Cute puppies never really fail to turn on the charm. I guess thatís the very basis of the appeal of this online game. Thing is, you wouldnít have to deal with all the dirty labor that maintaining a real pet actually brings, but you can enjoy a portion of puppy love interaction through this game. This is probably what drives all the gamers crazy for Nintendogs. [b]Virtual Pet-Owner Relationship[/b] This game actually enables its enamored players to keep and maintain their own virtual pet in the form of a lovely Dalmatian. Although this is not exactly the first time that Nintendo released a game with this nature of making use of virtual pet companionship, it continues to make waves primarily because it provides that one something people never get tired of doing: virtual pet-owner relationship. [b]Choose your Pet[/b] The very first thing you will be welcomed with when you start with the game is an array of pets to choose from the Nintendo Dog Kennel. Six breeds are available which can serve to satisfy anyoneís fancy. Itís doubtful that no one will find at least one favorite to nurture throughout the gameís entirety. Even the pickiest of game players will definitely fall in love with these breeds, ranging from Yorkshire Terrier, Beagle, German Shepherd, Boxer, Retriever, and of course, Dalmatian. Like its real counterparts, these different breeds have their own personalities and quirks, strengths and weaknesses, if you may call it. Colors and personalities will also be available for your selection as you click each breed, which makes you narrow down your choice to the very kind of pup you would want to have as virtual pet. Like authentic pet owning, there is an adoption fee to pay for before you can take your new virtual friend home. [b]Develop a love for your pet??[/b] Nintendo has practically captured the very essence of dogs in these carefully created dog characters. You will definitely experience the online version of maintaining a pet as well as enable yourself to feel what itís like to have online companionship. They even look as accurate as what their real counterparts are known for. Itís so addictive in the sense that you will develop your own attachment to your chosen virtual pet, which, just like any other pet, knows how to wag its tail and seek for your needed attention. [b]Pet Names[/b] Another aspect, which Nintendo creatively captured, is the naming aspect of having a pet. You can actually assign your preferred name to the dog you have chosen and allow the voice software in your computer to help the dog recognize its name in due time out of consistent practice. You can also train your newfound friend after a short period of adjustment, and clickable icons can be used to tie certain words to certain commands you will like your virtual dog to have. [b]And even Pet Contests[/b] Eventually, you can allow your trained virtual friend to enter into contests with other dogs to test his mettle and improve in your labor of love together. There are various types of contests that measure your petís obedience, Frisbee-catching skills and ability to saunter off in rough terrain. Higher levels mean higher prizes and more opportunities for your virtual pet to grow. Your stylus will help your pet recognize what you would like it to do at certain points. [b]Overall[/b] Although this game has been creatively done, it can reach a plateau when all the possible ways to play with the dog have been done. There is no more beyond the rewarding interaction and some gamers with short attention spans might find themselves eventually bored. But given the amount of time that has been spent in rearing your virtual friend, you learn so much more from the game than just earning points. It truly is virtual puppy love at its finest.