The holiday finally, well looks like I'm taking my arm bands and my passport and going on holiday... for 2-3 weeks! Yes I'm saying two to three because on the third week i will (hopefully) have Internet, but as i am an extremely sexy man i may well be hanging out will some Spanish girls (yes i am going to Spain and i don't want to see a single one of you!). However the moment has been prepared for, I've left two highly trained monkeys to look after the site which hopefully will work. The monkeys are called J.J. and Wittyreviewer.So as i said I've go a plain to catch byeeeeee!
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
"I'm back, what'd I miss?"
Many moons ago I reviewed the game King Arthur: The Role-Playing War Game. I greatly enjoyed it, and recently I was given a free copy of the new expansion pack The Saxons. So thanks Neocore! This one is for you.
The Saxons breaks away from the mould set by the original game by takeing out a 'plot', so to speak, entirely from the equation. Instead, it goes back to the format so popular with franchises like the Total War series. You play as the saxons (duh) in their effort to...kill things. All the usual stuff is in there, the various other nations, who remain unchanged, you have Knights to go out and lead armies, you have food and money, you have the odd quests to complete and everything comes together nicely. In it's fundementals, not much has changed. My appologies, but this will be a short one.
Major changes exist however, gameplay changers in some ways. For instance, you now have greater control over diplomacy within your kingdom. You can send gifts and do other things to help boost your reputation with other nations and request peace treaties, trade agreements and stuff like that; it's a nice little addition. Aswell as diplomacy with other kingdoms, you can interact with theives, marauders, priests and even the Sidhe to get them to help you. The priests and the Sidhe can give you units if they like you enough but for some reason it decreases your reputations, while I'm not gonna fault it on that I do wonder why? Speaking of whys, King Arthur is still in the game. Yeah, King Arthur can be your enemy. Talk about a switch eh? Other than that, we have a few new unit types. All the old favourites are back obviously, but we also have our feathered friend above. Sadly, at the time of this review I am unable to account for it's prowess but by the looks of it, it could kick my ass every which way I care to look. Although I can't help but noticed the illuminati eye on it's shield, hmmmmm. You now can stipulate how the campaign will end, much like Total War, this is a nice edition if you, like me, enjoy CONQUERING ZE VORLD one province at a time.
And really, that's where the major differences lie. It's a nice little expansion though, I have to say, I hope in the future they release an expansion where we may play as the Sidhe, that'd be awesome. Perhaps with it's own mini story. Other than that, I'm just happy to have more King Arthur to play, although it doesn't add too much so the score is gonna have to be:
Final Score: 3.5/5
Get it, have some fun!
Are you on the light side, or the dark side? Now, I'm not talking about Starwars here, I'm talking about Fable 2. This game is one of the most interesting games I've played this year. Growing horns from your head, or gaining a halo around your head. Turning corrupt from jacking up your rent prices, or becoming pure from being kind to all sorts of people. Fable 2 is probably the one RPG game where I really feel like I can customize my character to my standards.
Fable 2 lets you explore the land of Albion, lets you set off on a multitude of quests, and lets you control your characters social behavior along the way. That's the thing I like about Fable 2. It's a humorous game, you can kill anyone, people will say funny things, and your social expressions that you can preform are just awesome. Moving on though, the land of Albion is quite large, though I can argue with many friends that other RPG's (Namely Elderscrolls IV, Oblivion) have a far greater landscape. The quests you encounter in fable 2 are fun, very easy to solve quests that usually let you decide between being good, or evil. An example would be: A group of slaves has been captured, you can either free them, or let them be taken my bandits. Each choice effects you and the people around you in someway. Your choices can even destroy towns, or rebuild them, let them flourish, or make them a pit of desperation.
Your companion in this game is a faithful dog. He will tromp around, find treasure, sniff out buried items, and alert you to enemies. He can be taught how to do tricks, and how to get better at fighting and find items. He will be virtually everywhere with you, except on certain quests and at the end of the game, if you make a difficult choice. His appearance changes with yours, be evil and he will look truly fearsome, be neutral and he will look like any normal dog, be kind and good and he will look as shown in the picture above (Golden and dashing). After playing this game, I really do hope that a dog, any dog, will be your pet in Fable 3!
Magic looks awesome on the screen, and swordplay and archery are totally cool. The third person view fits perfectly for fighting tons of enemies. Yet if Fable 2 were to have been made in a first person mode, then you could never have been able to fight the quantity of enemies that come at you at one time on this game. The team that made this game understood that, so they made the wise decision to make fable 2 a third person game. Battles on Fable 2 start out as mere skirmishes, but later on into the game, they turn into large, very destructive, clashes. You get xp from every kill, and you can use that xp to buy new abilities, like being able to shoot people in the head or groin with a rifle.
Fable 2 is a great game. It lets you customize your character to the greatest you can. It makes you the head of an impossible, and epic adventure. It brings the best out of a third person RPG. And almost everything Fable 2 lets you do, it lets you do it perfectly. Yet, sometimes I found myself wondering how many times I could hit a bandit on the head with a HUGE hammer without him dieing, it seems the answer is "many...many times".
Overall Score: 8.25
Evangelion episode IV: A New Hope
Anyone who cares about Feral Entertainment (all....none of you) may recall the rather ribbing review I gave of Neon Genesis Evangelion. I'll be the first to admit it was ass, I know it was, but let's face it, I was younger and wasn't really taking it seriously. So, now here's the REAL Neon Genesis Evangelion review!
Ok, first of all, let me make it very clear. I. HATE. Evan-fucking-gelion. I'm yet to find anything in anime that grates my nerves more than Evangelion. But! Fair is fair, I'm even minded and willing to give it a fair review. I'll try to keep the spite and venom to a minimum but keep in mind it's hard to praise something you have a personal vendetta against.
Before I get into the meat of it, let me give my brief explanation of what I have against it so badly. In itself, I found the series to be boreing, near pointless, extremely long and unsure of what the hell it's trying to be. But I can live with all of that, after all, I don't like School Rumble either but I don't go on about that, what REALLY gets me about Evangelion is the sheer amount of fandom the thing generates. I mean, why!? What do they see in it? I mean, yeah, they harp on and on about the 'deepness' of it (which I don't see) which is fine and also about the religious references; these I do get, but still don't see the point in. I am dead serious people, not one seccond of this series gripped me. At all. It was not gripping me, I am totaly and utterly ungrippeded! Anyway, I also find it amazing that so many fans will defend Evangelion to the death! My only conclusion is that it's so boring that by the time it's over those of us with poor mental resistance must be desensitised to the point where not only does Evangelion appear to be good, but also appears to be fight worthy. I mean, I'm a diehard Haruhiist but even I will admit it's failings, to these fans Evangelion can do no wrong. I'm not saying they're all like that but come on! This is something that people have complained about since even Naruto came into the picture, the Otaku really need to keep a leash on our own people. But that's a debate for another time, for now let me just say you have been duely warned! Please for god sake don't message me with hate mail, hear me out first.
"Ok guys, aaaaaaand POSE!"
Ok, so the plot is difficult to gather and can be confusing at first glace, it is really one of those anime where paying attention is key. In general, the plot revolves around a boy named Shinji Ikari during some time/thing. He goes to New Tokyo to meet with his father Gendo Ikari and quickly becomes wrapped up in the activites of NERV, what's NERV? Well, you see, strange alien creatures known only as Angels are attacking the Earth and NERV is the organisation built to fight them. To this end, they have created the Evangelion program. In this program, under age, mentaly unstable kids get to pilot homicidal weapons of mass destruction which can barely be controled at any given time called Evas. As you can tell, we are in safe hands. The fact that these machines are near impossible to control doesn't seem to be much of an issue though, as the Angels only send down one at a time to fight them. Yes, it takes 3 Evas to take down 1 alien, lord help us if multiple Angels appear to fight. If you're wondering why they need the Evas, keep in mind the world is protected only by NERV and the Godzilla Military are the only things keeping the post-apocolypse world safe. Oh yeah, can't forget that, the world is in a state of post-apocolypse thanks to something called First Impact. What is that? I have no idea, all we're really told is that it has something to do with Angels and that's about it really. To aid Shinji in his quest to whine and moan about his lot in life is the almost as whiney Asuka and the Yuki Nagato-esque Rei, or is Yuki like Rei-esque? One or the other. 26 episodes all based on that, there's more to the plot but it's sort of confusing and really only gets going towards the end of the series. Why does it last so long? Most of the series is devoted to character development, I know, I feel it to. Ok, I'll fully admit it's not the worst plot in the world, in fact if it was edited slightly it would be pretty good. And there is two things about Evangelion that I do enjoy, but I'll get onto that in a moment.
The characters range simply on an annoyance scale. Mostly because every single one has some sort of issue that they love to whine endlessly about. The one you'll hear the most about is Shinji, who's dialogue ranges from "But I don't wanna pilot the robot!", "Noone understands me!" and my personal favourite "Yes I'll do the dishes". I swear, all Shinji does is whine, whine, whine. At least Asuka and Rei actualy DO something. Speaking of which, Asuka's issue is actualy understandable, but not really well executed. You see, Asuka really wants to outmatch everyone and everything, that's not bad except this desire causes her to go into a drug trip, have an affair with an older man and sit in a bath full of blood. I swear, that happens, in one scene she is in a bath full of blood just zoneing out into the sky. Which brings me to another problem I have, Asuka's drug trip scene is regarded as one of the key scenes in Evangelion, but all that happens is Asuka runs through doors, alot, sees her mother dead, flashes her flat chest and whines, whines, WHINES, WHINES! Rei is...Rei, she doesn't have an 'issue' like Shinji or Asuka but she is in herself a walking plot point. I suppose if she did have an issue it would be her seemingly illadvised obsession with Shinji's father but that is exaplained, sort of, later. Other than that, the characters aren't all that memorable and very rarely do they stray from the whineing theme of the show. Admitedly, they don't whine as much as Shinji of Asuka but they still give it a try.
And before you all complain about the over use of the word whine, I'm going to move on now to the movies. Yes, the movies. The first one is called End of Evangelion, which is in itself a remake of the final 2 episodes of the series. And you know what, I like it. Yes, I liked End of Evangelion, I admit it. And you know why? Because it shut up and got on with what it does well, robots beating the crud out of eachother! It's awesome! The plot is revamped slightly to actualy make sense and the ending is actualy pretty satisfying, instead of just Shinji realising that yes! Friends matter! Then there was Rebuild of Evangelion, ohhhh boy where do I begin? You know those filler episodes where they just recap the series so far? Rebuild is like that if the episode lasted over an hour! Ok, there are some minor changes but unless you are a diehard Eva fan or just someone who notices these things they'll pass you right by, I even refuse to rate it. And then, finnaly, there is Evangelion 2.0. This movie is a total remake of the series, begining to end. Cutting out all the filler and most of the character development. And you know what? It works. 2.0 is actualy very, very good in my opinion. They keep in the vital character development, edit out the fluff and give us relateable characters. Even Shinji doesn't whine as much, although when he does it actualy means something now. We also get the addition of a new character by the name of Mari. I like Mari, she adds new blood and new motivation into the mix. Shinji pilots Eva 01 because he feels he has to, Rei pilots 00 out of loyalty to Shinji's father and Asuka pilots 02 because she wants to prove she's the best. Mari pilots her Eva for no other reason than she loves it! Even in the heat of battle she treats her situation like she's in a video game, it's awesome. I mean, isn't that how you would treat a situation where you were in a giant robot about to clash with aliens? I certainly would, which is probably why the world would be screwed but whatever.
Mari: Making Evangelion bareable since 2009
Now that plot and the characters are out of the way, let's talk technical. Animation wise, the series is very gritty. Towards the end of the series character sometimes stop moving entirely, leaving only their mouths to animate what they are saying. From what I understand, the production team had very little in the way of budget and decided to sink most of their time and effort into the mech battles, good move but leaves us bored out of our minds watching the endless speeches with almost nothing moveing (well it bored me anyway). The budget was greatly improved for the movies and it shows, the colours and nice, the movement is fluid and it's just nice to look at. The music, however, falls flat on it's face. It's dull, it's not very exciting and even during the mech battles it does little to get the blood pumping. Even the opening is boreing, the song has nothing to do with the series at all. It's almost like the creators just went to the people makeing the song, told them to write a song about a boy saveing the world, and used that. Bah.
All things considered, Evangelion isn't a bad series really. It has it's problems, and they're executed badly, but they're easily fixed in 2.0. If you want my opinion of course, instead of a reviewers opinion, it's long, tedious and full. The characters are annoying, the music is painfull to listen to and the less that Shinji says, the better. However, as a reviewer, I can't fault it on much so:
Final Score: 2.5/5
End of Evangelion: 3.5/5
Evangelion 2.0: 4/5
Check it out, it's worth a try, right?
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Story: You play as Guybrush Threepwood, someone who wants to look manlier then he really is to cover up his more feminen look. If you remember from the first game (and if you didn't play it then why aren't you playing it right now) we left Guybrush and Elaine (love interest) watching the fireworks for the ghost corps of LeChuck. Seven months later allot has changed, Guybrush is now looking for more fame and fortune looking for the legendary treasure of Big Whoop while boring anyone who asks the story of LeChuck.
There are allot of twists and turns in the story and the lines are very witty and all in all very cleaver being this is a Lucas Arts game and this is before they weren't fixed in making bad Star Wars games. Also this is when Adventure games where at the top of there prime so you know that allot of effort and work when it to the story.
Gameplay: Well before I start let me just say that back in the day PC games could only have one of two things; good gameplay or good story because of disc space so this may go all guns on this but just saying that there was a reason. Now back to the review.
Adventure games are all about the puzzles for example in the first game you needed to find away to get a monkey statue's head open. The way you did it was very funny this is the only way to make a puzzle game that has legs for example portal very funny game. So the reason why point and click games died out was because they where very dull and there was a better option the FPS, MK2 is not one of these games, why? Because the story made the gameplay bearable. Yes puzzles are fun but playing a game more than once with the same puzzles do get rather dull. So that's why story is key in point and click games.
So because of this the gameplay when you add it up is bad, however the story and the humor side of it with Guybrush the dog and the skeleton dance puzzle. So all in all Monkey Island 2 is a brilliant game and at the cost of 6 pounds it is worth a pick up.
Now with that out the way time to move on to the ending and the sequels.OK spoilers, at the end of Monkey Island 2 you find out that everything (and I mean everything) was all based around Guybrushes imagination (Guybrush was in fact a child which made sense about him wanting to look more manly) and that Big Whoop was a theme park that his parents had taken him to. Guybrush runs away in his excitement and his parents tell his brother Chuckie (LeChuck) to go after him and bring him back. The both answered allot of questions and left only one string to tie up but that was only because there was meant to be a third game but Ron Gilbert left Lucas Arts before that could happen. However that was OK because there was your imagination to fill in the blanks.
Sunday, 18 July 2010
"Get chance and luck!" - TK
It's a trope laiden, moe-ized, predictable plot boiled anime with just an ounce of weirdness in it...and it kicks ass!
Which is strange really, most of those things would put me off an anime straight away...mostly. I mean, yes, I'm a big moe fan, but I don't usualy keep an eye out for it. Angel Beats though, doesn't hammer it home, which is good. For what it's worth, Angel Beats sort of peaks near the middle and peeters out towards the end, which is never a good thing but it's still entertaining at the very least.
The plot follows Haruhi/Yurippe on her quest to kill God....yes you heard that right. Haruhi/Yurippe is fighting God, hard-fucking-core. Ok, seriously, the plot is actualy pretty cool. Your-average-guy arrives in a strange world which looks like a normal highschool, he is quickly greeted by a gun toteing Yurripe who tells him that he is 'Dead'.....ahem:
1. no longer living; deprived of life: dead people; dead flowers; dead animals.
3. not endowed with life; inanimate: dead stones.
4. resembling death; deathlike: a dead sleep; a dead faint.
5. bereft of sensation; numb: He was half dead with fright. My leg feels dead.
6. lacking sensitivity of feeling; insensitive: dead to the needs of others.
Yeah I think he's alive kid.
Alright, in fairness, it is explained pretty soon...but anyway. Otonashi walks down and meets the slightly-mysterious, Angel. Otonahi, despite the complaints of Yurripe, asks Angel what is the first, and probably only, rational question of the show: "Are you really an Angel?". Angel immediately says no, she then stabs Otonashi through the chest with a glowy magic blade...totaly not an Angel.
Otonashi quickly discovers the Like-Hell-We're-Dead...club...brigade...thing, headed by Yurripe. The group consists of The-Average-Guy-2, Ninja Yuki, Insane-Guy-With-An-Axe, Wussy-Kid, Singer-Girl-With-A-Past, random fatish bloke who can fight and TK!!!! I could care less about most of the other characters, TK is where it's at! He speaks only in epic Engrish. Most of the series involves the organisations actions against Angel and her attempts to the do most horrific thing ever, MAKE THEM BEHAVE! Yes, you see, the world Otonashi is transported to is somewhere between Heaven and Earth (The highway to hell?). There are only 1 way to leave: Accept your fate and disappear. Am I the only one who doesn't understand the point of this? Going to Heaven doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me, I get the idea that they don't want to die but still, paradise, what's wrong with it? While they are in this state of limbo, it is impossible for them to 'die', this is illustrated pretty early on in the series when the gang try to get into thier manufacturing plant called Guild, if you can't remember that name don't worry, they go often enough, where most of them get crushed, smashed, cut up and stabbed and yet they just get up and walk away by the end of the episode.
The characters are bland, single typed tropes who do little more than the sterotype they are based on. And you know what? It's actualy not so bad, they're entertaining and as long as you don't think too much about it you don't really mind, or I didn't anyway. Angel Beats is deffinately one of those animes where thinking is a no go, just sit back and let the plot flow. And in terms of the plot, it's real enemy isn't the tropes or the inane babble some of the characters spout out. It's real enemy is time, it has to pack in it's twisty plot into a short time frame. "But Witty!", you're saying "Some of the episodes are fillers! They should have made every episode plot if that was the case!". Well, alright, I'll admit that, but I don't like to use the word 'filler' for anything unless it's one of those episodes where they just replay scenes from past episodes. 'Filler' episodes help build up the characters in some way, there's no point haveing a plot if we don't care about the characters and it's hard to compact character development and the plot into a 12 episode tiem frame. So sometimes, filler is important, helps keeps the flow. But enough of my rant, back to the bare bones. The only character (other than TK) that I really care for is Yurripe, probably because of my devout Haruiist nature. She's pretty badass when fighting Angel, she has the ability to command respect without actualy pulling rank, much like Haruhi, and she wears a beret, and as well know, berets are awesome.
The Haruhiism Crusade Movement
Although, now that I think about it, her plans don't make much sense. Most of them involve stealing meal tickets from the NPC students by distracting them with music from GirlDeMo, I mean come on, all she needs is a rogue with stealing maxed out and she'd be fine, right? Otonashi, the only other character he sort of gets developed, is actualy not so bad but not my kind of guy. He has good motivation, his methods are good but somewhere towards the end he seems to get this idea that only he knows the answer to getting out of this strange world, which spoils him a little bit if you ask me. Now, there are two certain characters who come in later who have a good amount of depth to them, but that would be spoilers on my part wouldn't it?
Angel Beats is nothing we haven't seen before animation wise, it's all very bright and prettyfull. The music is very nice, being performed by Girls Dead Monster and opening is very Clannadish which, although not really fitting the tone, leads nicely into the episode. In quick summation, Angel Beats is sugar in anime form, it won't blow your mind but it probably will tickle the funny bone. I'd say give it a watch if you haven't already.
Final Score: 4/5
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Shuffling through the field in the dark of night, fearing each sound, losing your squad in seconds. Freezing in the arctic, blasting aliens to shreds with plasma weapons and getting pushed into a position where you are 1 vs. 5. Quickly flying ships around the world, spending hours pouring over statistics, spending days working on a base or squad layout. These are all examples of X-com UFO Defense, a great, very deep and interesting turn based strategy game. This game was made in 1993, and for standards back then this game was probably a pretty cool game. Now, in 2010, with games that are breaking the barrier of anything video entertainment has ever seen before, X-com UFO Defense is still an amazing game. Sometimes X-com UFO Defense can be one of the most frustrating games known to the universe, but for some reason that makes it very, very, VERY fun!
Overall Score: 9.0
AAAAAAH the weekend, no work to do, a whole afternoon... to write a review. Yep well at least it's a game I know off by heart. Deus Ex is one of these games where I played it as a child then forgot about it, then one day found the first one and the second one in a steam deal for £4. So did I like it or.... did I hate it? (what you think?)
Story: There's this plague that's killing everyone, and there's very little of the cure, so there is world wide panic, which means terrorist groups are starting to form and the world is slowly declining into chaos. You play as JC Denton a guy with no emotions, only the fact of reason. This makes it a little hard for you to get into the character to start of with, but after a few mission you start to get into his role and it gets good. You have a brother Paul Denton (your a clone of him), who looks nearly identical to you, but he has different ways of looking into reason. For one Paul is a more non-lethal person. While your more of a lethal person. This comes in later in the plot.
I've just noticed that I haven't even touched on the over hanging plot, I've only covered about 10% of the plot and I'm just going to keep it that way because it's truly an epic story. You all over the world to; New York to Hong Kong, this is an excellent plot with it's twists and turns and your involvement with the plot.
Gameplay: As JC denton (i.e. half machine half human) you get special skills which can be customised out to your liking. For example I was a stealth and computer hacking type of person, so I focused in electronics and lock picking, but how I like the skills is how they all stay constant threw out the game, there's always a way that one skill can be fully used throughout the game. Another thing is that you can play the whole game with out killing a single person (don't comment saying it isn't I've seen it done). Which is a cool feature. OK what I'm trying to get across is that you can do pretty much play it any type of style you want which gives you total freedom in some sense. You can also find special augmentation packs which give you a special ability such as seeing and the dark and having slower footsteps when you run.
However there are two certain things that totally break the game, one is a pick up and one is a augmentation. The pick up is this special type of lazier sword where it's almost one hit kills, but I will sort of let that one go because you have to get up close to use it. The augmentation is this healing factor where when activated you will slowly heal, doesn't sound like much well that's until you upgrade it to it's top level when that happens your pretty much invincible. That said in some ways the game is still challenging throughout the game. The inventory is a Resident Evil 4 style where you play tetris with you items. You may realize this review is very unstructured, well that's because there's so much in this game that I can't cover it all with out giving away the plot.
All in all I love this game it's probably one of my favorites and that's not from a nostalgia look. I would fully recommend a pick up of the game. It's £5 on steam so why not? (does not include Invisible War). It's been highly praised as one of the classics of PC gaming I can see why, but would I rate it that hight...no, but it is worth a look and I enjoyed it to bits.
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Well it looks like it's this time of year, where nothing worth my time comes out except for a few remakes (Monkey Island 2!!!!) so to stop me taking up my old habit of an extra long holiday I'm going to review some old games! (*applause*) how old you may ask well lets say round 1993 and 2000. Also thanks to steams fantastic deals ( Gabe another £10 please) i have stocked up on some rations including "Tales of Monkey Island" and "Civilization 4" pack. Also talking of holiday you may see a lot less of me over July the 12th-21st for reasons I'm not aloud to say. Anyway i know this is short but i hope i can get at least one or two reviews out before the 12th and i hope to see you lot soon.