Archive for the ‘Busy Gamer 3’ Category

Game Review: Brink

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Brink slides in with a Busy Gamer 3

First Glance:
Objective based FPS that incorporates a parkour movement system which should change the way battles play out.

Short Story:
The objective based combat system has been hit or miss in the past and is a gamble on its own but now Bethesda and Splash Damage are throwing in a level based class system and the parkour movement scheme. Battlegrounds are confined to running in a straight line and in multiplayer, the team that doesn’t have a decent mix of classes played by people who understand their skills are going to suffer. A big risk game in a market flooded by CoD and Battlefield clones.

The Score:
A lot of people have come down really hard on this game for a variety of reasons. Chokepoints that are reportedly “insurmountable??? and being “forced??? to change classes during single player missions in order to get past a level are two of the major ones in regards to gameplay. There are still some lingering issues in regards to online play with friends with lag being a major issue in some games. There’s definitely some polish needed here but what we have at the heart of this game is everything Bethesda promised us.

Even in single player, this game is a bit of a time investment. Online matches can be quick and to the point in some cases but drag on and on depending on the mission objectives in others. Escort missions can be especially time consuming in the right circumstances. That being said, if you’re looking for a new FPS that doesn’t follow the “run for 30 seconds, get shot in the face with a pistol, respawn, repeat??? philosophy, you might just be interested in this one.

Due to the potential for drawn out matches even in single player and an iffy matchmaking system in multiplayer, Brink slides in with a Busy Gamer 3.

Body of Review:
The Reckon Crew has been waiting for Brink since we saw it at PAX ’09. We’ve watched the videos wondering if the game would live up to its promise and our admittedly high expectations. As other gaming sites began reporting in on the issues they were having, we started to despair.

Then we played it.

I’m not saying this game doesn’t have its issues. It has some and they can be doozies. But all of the reports coming in saying Bethesda shipped a “broken??? game are badly exaggerated.

When the Heavy hits the door, you'd be smart to duck

Character creation is a major part of any game for the Reckon Crew. As Crutchboy stated in his article about Daggerdale, we’ll spend hours tweaking the way our character looks until we have it just right. While there are some limitations on how much customization you control in regards to your character (notably color combinations), there’s a fairly good likelihood that you’ll be able to tweak your character to look different from everyone else if the mood strikes you.

One of the complaints that I haven’t been able to agree with in this game has where the gun sounds are concerned. I’m suitably impressed when I hear the whir of the gatling gun spinning up or the thump of the grenade launcher firing. When I run around with a submachine gun, I don’t expect it to sound like a cannon when it fires. Even with a silencer, many of the guns sounded impressive to me when they fired. Perhaps it’s the surround sound system giving the effects some oomph.

I would have liked to have seen some more customization with the weapons in regards to the cosmetics but there’s enough that I’m satisfied when I’m building a load out for my character.

The three body types (heavy, medium, and light) will modify how you play. Personally, I prefer the light body type on my Soldier. While most of the world likely wants to use the heavy weapons as the workhorse of the Brink classes, I like being able to move quickly, getting into spots the other classes can’t. Being able to scale a wall quickly at a point where resistance is light can change the outcome of a battle quickly.

The Heavy body type is particularly suited for my Medic in Brink’s gameplay. Slow and plodding but with substantially more health, I hang back with my heavy weaponry and help support my teammates with a hail of lead and move up to heal as I am needed.

The engineer is particularly deadly in this game. Where the class is often portrayed as a support class in many other games, a frontline Engineer in Brink can be very successful, particularly since there are machine gun nests that require an Engineer to build them before they can be used. With the turrets they have available, as well as the landmines, an Engineer can help quickly advance the offense in any type of match.

Last but not least, the Operative introduces a bit of chaos into the matches. Able to disguise himself, the Operative is able to often slip behind enemy lines as he doesn’t trigger enemy landmines or turrets unless another operative marks him as an imposter. Combined with the sticky, caltrop, and EMP grenades, as well as the ability to hack enemy turrets, Operatives can overcome a stalemate rather quickly when played by an experienced player.

Sadly, the single player campaign isn’t nearly as fun as playing with friends. The AI on your team seems intent on performing as poorly as possible until the last moment, causing matches to drag out for as long as possible. Even the enemy AI seems less polished even with the difficulty cranked up.

Rule #1 of Brink: Keep Moving. Stationary targets are dead targets.

There have been some serious lag issues since the launch of the game. They seem to get better with every patch and the Reckon Crew saw very little lag in matches where we played cooperatively against the AI in matches where there were four people on each team.

The story isn’t going to win any awards but the concept is just enough to keep my interest. I would have liked to have seen more of the Ark’s Council ordering around Security or Chen interacting with the Resistance rather than having them as bodiless voices present only through the comm system as I performed my mission tasks.

The AI is a little chatty for my taste but it does make the battles seem more intense with the comm chatter that goes on during firefights. Hearing someone yell across my comm that they’re wounded adds an element of intensity when I am playing my medic and I’m pinned down behind cover.

Many reviewers felt the weapon damage was insufficient but in conjunction with the parkour system, it means that a moving target is harder to put down. You might do some damage as someone slides behind cover but there’s definitely a feel of fierce combat when you are facing off against the enemy in Brink.

There are some things that need polish here. The multiplayer is still a bit underwhelming at times but when you land in a lag free match, Brink begins to shine. I’ve always enjoyed objective based FPS games and Brink did a lot of things right in this regard. I’m hoping the early DLC we see come from Bethesda will expound on the objectives currently in the game, building beyond “capture this point” and “escort this guy over there”.

My most sincere hope, however, is that Splash Damage and Bethesda don’t give up on this title. For a first outing into multiplayer territory, Brink is a good example of what can be done when you stray from the tried and true formulas of a genre. I don’t want to see this game degenerate into a Deathmatch downward spiral but rather stay true to the ideal set forth in its launch, building on team based combat and the parkour inspired movement I’ve begun to enjoy so much.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Game Review: WWE All Stars

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

WWE All Stars rings in with a BusyGamer 3

First Glance:
The next installment of THQ’s WWE wrestling video game series.

Short Story:
Featuring over the top action and ridiculously over exaggerated character models, WWE All Stars features your favorite current and legendary WWE superstars. You can either play as the superstars of today or be nostalgic and play as the superstars you grew up watching.

The Score:
WWE All Stars is a pretty fun game to play. If you’ve played any of the old arcade games (WWF Wrestlemania on the SNES) you’ll really enjoy this game. The game features over the top action that’s similar to the gameplay of the old arcade games that you played as a kid. Unfortunately, the game does lack in terms of features though. If you’re a wrestling fan, both old and new, at least play this game. WWE All Stars gets a Busy Gamer 3.

Body of Review:
I’ve been a big fan of the WWE for many many years (since back in the WWF days). And of course, since I’m an avid gamer, I’ve played pretty much every WWF/E game that’s been released. Some of my favorite wrestling games have been the WWF/E THQ games. Starting with WWF Wrestlemania 2000 all the way to the Smackdown vs. Raw franchise, THQ has been making some pretty solid wrestling games. They gave us a taste of what this game offers us with 2009′s WWE Legends of Wrestlemania, which was decent, though it had a more grounded feel to the game play. WWE All Stars gives us what Legends of Wrestlmania gave us as far as the roster of WWE Legends are concerned, and then combined it with the over the top action and crazy physic of the wrestlers on the roster similar to that of the old arcade and SNES games of our childhood.

The game has a pretty impressive roster. It features current WWE superstars including: Triple H, Kofi Kingston, The Undertaker, John Morrison, and the recently retired Edge. And also your favorite WWE Legends: Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and for the first time in a THQ/WWE video game, The Macho Man Randy Savage.

The game offers two different “story modes.” One is the Fantasy Warfare mode, which pits a current superstar and a legend of similar fighting styles against each other in a match. What makes this mode pretty cool is that they splice together clips from interviews or live in ring rants of each superstar and turns them into an impressive little match set up. To me, I was really impressed by the amount of work that went into putting those vignettes together.

This looks like it might be illegal in most states...

The other mode is Path of Champions. This mode includes three challenges, where you can chose to challenge The Undertaker for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, or Degeneration X for the WWE World Tag Team Championship. Each championship path will start with the respective champion addressing you and then you go on your way through 9 matches and then the championship match. For example: The World Heavyweight Champion is The Undertaker. Now, his path starts out with Paul Bearer, yes, Paul Bearer, The Undertaker’s long time manager back in the old days, welcoming you to the Funeral Parlor.

For those of you who were WWF fans back in the day, The Funeral Parlor was a segment that would usually feature Paul Bearer talking to the superstar that The Undertaker was in a feud with and then The Undertaker would show up, usually out of nowhere either working on a casket or coming out of a casket, and scares you half to death. Randy Orton just talks about how much better he is than everyone else, and DX just makes fun of you and plugs merchandise (they plug the WWE All Stars game, yes they plug the game you are currently playing). It’s pretty fun to do.

Other than those two modes, you have your normal exhibition matches, 1v1, tag team, extreme rules, and cage matches. Unlike the Smackdown vs Raw games, All Stars does not include Ladder Matches, or my favorite Hell in a Cell match, but what can you do?

The best thing about this is probably to ridiculously over the top action in this game. There’s nothing like playing as The Rock against John Cena, and giving Cena The Rock Bottom, and jumping about 20 feet in the air to deliver said Rock Bottom! Everyone’s moves and finishers are as ridiculous as this. Plus, on top of that, the character models are extremely overdone. I’ve always said that the wrestlers physics are over done in the games and this one takes it to a whole new level. The Undertaker, for example towers over his opponents and his hands are about as big as most peoples heads. It’s completely unrealistic and it’s awesome!

There were some problems with this game though. The game play gets pretty repetitive, but that’s pretty standard with a fighting game, the thing is, is that you can barely win a match by anything but a knock out. Even if you take out your opponent’s health after delivering a finisher, they will more than likely kick out of the pin. As much punishment as you dish out on your opponent, you have a really hard time getting a pin on them, which is a little annoying.

Another thing that bothered me would be the super stars entrances. First of all, they don’t have their full entrances, they stop at the top of the ramp. THQ has always done a great job putting together video game versions of the superstars entrances. If you look at them from previous games, their video game entrances and pretty much exact to how the superstars come out to the ring in real life, would it have killed them to give us full entrances?

Cena and The Rock demonstrate their methods of pest control

Probably the worst thing about All Stars was the “Create a Superstar??? mode. THQ has always made an incredibly in depth create a superstar mode in their wrestling games. All Stars made it painfully simple. As far as the look of your superstar, your choices of clothing and body features are very, very slim. And it’s no different with selecting your entrance and move set. You don’t get to select individual moves, you only get to choose a superstar’s move set as your own, which sucks. I’ve always enjoyed being able to pick my favorite moves from my favorite superstars and combining them into one to make the ultimate badass, but not in this game. The only individual move you get to pick is your finisher, and it’s the same with picking your entrance, you don’t get to pick your individual music or entrance animation. What was great about previous THQ/WWE titles is how detailed the “Create a Superstar??? mode was. Anything was possible with that system. You could have your superstar come out to Triple H’s music with Shawn Michael’s entrance, or have your superstar weigh 300 pounds and see him fly off the top rope with a Swanton Bomb. I was really disappointed with this part of the game.

WWE All Stars is a decent game. It brought back a lot of memories from playing the old WWF arcade games when I was a kid. But at the same time, I left me wanting more as far as some of the game modes and customization is concerned. If you’re a current or old fan of the WWE, play this game, you will enjoy it.

Till next time Busy Gamers, happy gaming!

M-Dawg out!!

Game Review: Red Dead Redemption

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Red Dead Redemption blazes in at a Busy Gamer 3

First Glance:

Play a rough and tumble cowboy in the final days of the Wild West. Shootouts in the street, breaking horses, bounty hunting, train robberies, pretty much whatever you can think of to do in a time when cars are just appearing in the world.

The Short Story:

You play as Marston, a former outlaw who is trying to walk the straight and narrow after having misspent his youth in a gang. Marston got out after being left for dead by his former compatriots and has eked out a living only to have his past return to haunt him. In order to set things straight and return to the life he has picked out, he must saddle up one last time and hunt down his former friends, not for revenge but to satisfy the government agents who have forced him to work for him.

The Score:

I don’t know that Rockstar believes in short games. The Single Player experience is phenomenal but is going to take a large chunk of your time if you want to fully enjoy it. The multiplayer, however, is very well put together and may be worth the price of admission on its own. The storyline is utterly engaging, the graphics are gorgeous, and the voice acting is stellar. But with so much to do in the single player, the Busy Gamer will have a hard time squeezing in single player time and staying on top of the learning curve. Quick games abound in multiplayer, however, and if you’re careful, you can squeeze in a decent play session with a limited amount of time. As such, Red Dead Redemption scores a 3 on the Busy Gamer scale.

Body of review:

I can’t say I know many people who played the first game in the Red Dead series, Red Dead Revolver. In fact, I know of only one person that can say they beat it. I didn’t feel the draw of the first game after renting it but after seeing the ads and videos of the gameplay for Red Dead Redemption, I was on board.

Forget the fact that this is the same company that brought you the Grand Theft Auto series. There’s very few similarities to this game and the GTA franchise. Yes, you have the choice of being a hero or a villain as you make your way through this rendition of the Wild West and instead of cars, you can steal horses. This is something completely different. (more…)

Game Review: Bayonetta

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Bayonetta: BusyGamer Score 3 of 5

First Glance:
Sexy character, sexy action and gameplay, A varied world full of pretty environments and visually well-designed enemies. Hails of bullets mixed with fighting game-style hand to hand combat, mixed with God of War or Prince of Persia-style adventure, delivered by a colder-than-James Bond English witch.

The Short Story:
Let’s address it straight off- yes, Bayonetta has a sexy female lead character. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not enough to carry a bad game. The good news: Bayonetta isn’t a bad game. The gameplay focuses on action and the execution of over-the-top combat moves to propel you on a tour of an eye candy heavy world populated with antagonistic angels that are both grotesque and stereotypically heavenly at the same time. The game is all about the battles, and the battles happen nearly constantly. But there are also scattered puzzles to solve, items to collect, secrets to find, and lore to unveil. It’s fun, it’s pretty, it’s full of action.

The Score:
Bayonetta’s gameplay is divided into chapters, which are divided into verses. The game will autosave at the completion of each verse, so even if you can’t finish the chapter, you can come back to it with a minimal amount of replay. However, your enjoyment of the game, as well as your performance, will suffer if you don’t have the time to complete a chapter continuously most of the time. A player with average skills should be able to complete a chapter in under two hours generally, but for optimal enjoyment, you will want to have time to play in longer stretches at least sometimes. You can also put Bayonetta down for a day or two without completely forgetting where you are and what you’re doing, and if you do, the fact that you can practice your combo moves on the loading screens should help you pick it back up. Because of this, I am giving Bayonetta a Busy Gamer 3. Players will enjoy the game most if they have the time to play about four three-hour sessions a week.

Reviewer Rika Stead by Jim Brown

Body of Review:
Bayonetta is one of the most pleasant gaming experiences I have had in a while, just for the simple reason that there isn’t much in the game that gets in the way of your enjoyment. It’s easy on the eyes, both Bayonetta and her world were designed with attention to detail. But the game also doesn’t err on the side of pursuing the philosophy of “sex sells.. so we don’t need anything else.??? While much has been made of Bayonetta’s sex appeal, she’s not just a cartoon sex doll. Yeah, she’s sexy, but she also has a uniqueness to her that makes her more of a real character, less of a vehicle to bring tits into the game. (BTW, in case you can’t use Google image search yourself, there are no flotation-device-like boobs on Bayonetta, and no perceivable boob bounce animations.) Bayonetta’s character is endearing in a way. Some of the lines they gave her are a bit cheesy, as are some of the moves, but they are delivered in a way that makes you feel like Bayonetta is quite aware of the cheese factor and is dropping her lines with just a hint of irony.

And the combat doesn’t suck either. Bayonetta executes over the top combo moves, and can learn special techniques, such as turning into a panther for bursts of speed or dodging while in the air as the game progresses. The combos are made up of martial arts-style moves accompanied by the constant hail of bullets from all four of Bayonetta’s guns. The most important concept in Bayonetta combat is the dodge. Not only is it necessary to avoid damage, but dodging at the absolute last second also triggers “Witch Time???- AKA time stops for everything around you, enabling you to pummel your enemies without risk of reciprocation or to make your way across obstacles that you otherwise cannot.


Game Review: Darksiders

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Darksiders rides in and gets a Busy Gamer 3

First Glance:
It’s a game where the first horseman of the Apocalypse extracts his revenge against those who wronged him.

Short Story:
You are War, the first horseman of the Apocalypse. During a battle between Angels and Demons in the middle of an Earth city, only War himself and not the other three horsemen are summoned to bring in the Apocalypse. While War is doing what he does best, he starts to lose his powers. Not knowing why, he then finds himself powerless battling a giant demon. He is defeated, and finds himself in front of the Charred Council, the ones responsible for creating the seven seals that prevents neither heaven or hell from causing problems for Earth. If all seven seals are broken, then the Four Horsemen will be summoned to destroy everything. Since War was the only horsemen summoned, the Charred Council believe the one known as the Destroyer is the reason for War’s summoning. Now, the Council has given War the opportunity to gain some revenge against the ones who wronged him. You now go on to clear your name and kill countless demons and even some angels on the way.

The Score:
This was a good game. Great graphics and a good story line go along with it. My only problem with this game is the length of it. Because of that, I give this game a solid 3.

Body of the Review:
I did enjoy playing this game. This game has aspects of at least three different games in it. The game play feels like Devil May Cry, the look is that of God of War, and the items and dungeons remind me of Legend of Zelda. I was really impressed with the music of the game. At a first glance, I half expected to start hearing some death metal, but to my surprise, the game was scored with some very nice orchestral music. Now, the dungeons you go through to take your revenge on a variety of demons remind me of The Legend of Zelda series. There are about 5 or 6 dungeons to go through in this game. One in particular is a water temple which is pretty difficult. Remind you of anything?  Another thing is the variety of weapons you find in the dungeons. One of my favorites is the Abyssal Chain. This weapon is basically the hook shot from the Zelda series, it can be used to reach far off places that you can’t jump to or to defeat certain enemies. Another Zelda aspect is a demon known as The Watcher(voiced by Mark Hamill). He is assigned to you by the Charred Council in order to “keep an eye on you.”  He acts as your “fairy,” and tells you certain things about the area. Probably what I liked the most about this game is the fact that the treasures and weapons you find in these dungeons are necessary to defeating that dungeon’s boss. But that’s just me because I’m a huge Legend of Zelda fan.

We're pretty sure he's not here for a cup of sugar...

Speaking of weapons, your primary weapon is the Chaos Eater, which is basically a pretty big sword. You use this to unleash massive combos and cut in half any demon or angel that stands in your way. The next big weapon you find, the Scythe. You can use this as well, but when an action icon comes up when you wear an enemy down, the death strike will always be given with the Chaos Eater, which is kind of a bummer because I think it would’ve been nice to see some finishing hits with the Scythe, but nobodies perfect. Among those two, you will also obtain a power glove which will allow some ground pounds, a bracelet that you can use to create portals(which is pretty cool), and also, like I said, the hook shot like Abyssal Chain. You also get a horse and a gun in this game. When on your Hell-Steed, your sword strikes give double damage so it has it’s perks. Your gun doesn’t do much damage and when you get it, most of the enemies you shoot at will be able to block the gunfire anyway so I wouldn’t use it much. The more kills you get these weapons, that weapon will level up. You can also buy upgrades, moves and combos for the Chaos Eater and Scythe.

One of the best aspects of this game, is perhaps the voice acting. I felt the voice acting in this game was done well, but when you put someone like Mark Hamill in the mix, you know it’s going to be good.

Who knew War could catch air?

My main problem with this game has got to be the length of it. It took about two weeks for me to get this game done. I usually like to complete a game in at least a week, mainly because I rent games when they first come out. Although the story was good, and the end left it open for a possible sequel, I felt it could have been shorter. I felt there was a certain point between the last smaller dungeon, and you going into the final dungeon to take on the Destroyer could have been left out, but that’s just me.

Final Thoughts:
All in all I think it’s a good game. The cut scenes were well done as well as the writing, voice acting and, musical scoring. The game play is great and the story is pretty compelling but long. I would like to play this game again in the future. I think THQ and Vigil Games did a great job putting together a game like this.

Happy gaming everybody!


Game Review: Borderlands

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Borderlands earns a Busy Gamer 3

First Glance:
Gun down some baddies in a futuristic wasteland, level up, gun down bigger baddies.

The Short Story:
Borderlands doesn’t try to do everything all at once. At its core, it’s an FPS with role-playing elements and it seamlessly combines those elements for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. You take missions and bounties as you wander the Borderlands as one of four classes. Level up as you shoot your way to your goals, making your character more powerful for the bigger fights. Team up with up to three other players to get the full experience.

The Score:
This game has quickly become a Reckon Crew favorite and even made it into our top five picks for 2009. Hardly a night goes by without a quick round of Borderlands being played. Cel shaded graphics bring the world of Pandora to light and some of the best voice acting in any video game to date helps to unfold the story of four adventurers who have come to this world to search for treasures beyond imagining. There’s a well told story here and it’s worth the time investment to see it to its ending. The multi-player feature of Borderlands allows for short play sessions and the controls are easy enough to learn and not forget after an absence from the game. Unfortunately, it is ultimately the length of the game and the necessity of some form of time commitment to see the game to its end that bring down the score. An utterly fantastic game, sadly Borderlands scores a Busy Gamer 3.

Body of review:
I’ve mentioned on occasion that there are games I shouldn’t be allowed to play due to their ability to make me lose track of time completely and utterly. Borderlands may very well be added to that short list of games in the very near future.

I had seen the commercials back when the game was released and I knew I was going to pick up a copy eventually. When I did, I was expecting the gorgeous cel shaded graphics and FPS controls. What I wasn’t expecting was how engrossed I would find myself with the game after only a few hours.

When beginning the game, you are offered the choice of four characters, the soldier, hunter, siren, and berserker. As we’ve come to see in games where you have to choose a class, each character has their strengths and weaknesses along with a unique special skill based on your choice. For example, the hunter, Mordecai, is primarily long ranged with the ability to summon his companion Bloodwing to help him fight for short periods of time while Brick, the berserker, is a terror in hand to hand combat and can, naturally, go berserk which allows him to heal rapidly and deal massive damage with his fists.

Our character finds themselves outside of a settlement called Fyrestone where we are brought up to speed on what our ultimate goal is and a brief tutorial which allows us the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with our character choice and then it’s straight into the action. The control scheme is easy to learn and the HUD provided is informative without being distracting. The inventory set up can be a bit daunting at first but once you’re familiar with it, you’ll breeze through it quickly enough.

As you progress through the beginning of the game, the tone is set quickly with the voice acting. Each character you interact with is voiced superbly and there is a humor to the conversations that is endearing. It quickly becomes obvious that the planet you are on is akin to the Wild West with the only law being one of might makes right… and most of the people who inhabit the backwater planet soon begin to contact you with tasks and bounties to complete as you make your way through the impressive landscape.

Where Borderlands truly excels is the multi-player experience. Setting up a game session is quick and easy and you can choose whether to allow just anyone to join or if you simply want to play with friends. The more people you have in the game (up to four) the more difficult your enemies become. At the same time, however, the more lucrative the rewards become.

The multiplayer is where Borderlands shines

The multi-player also allows for lower level characters to catch up relatively quickly to friends who may be higher level. While the lower level characters won’t be much help in the bigger fights, the experience awarded is substantial and may be the easiest way to help a friend get to the same point in the game as you.

Missions and bounties are typically fast paced though there are a few that have you wandering all over a map. Areas tend to scale to the level of your character so you don’t struggle when first entering a new map. The areas are self contained which means you can’t accidentally wander into another area without meaning to but the areas tend to repopulate fairly quickly so any place you take your time fighting into may mean you have to fight your way out again.

The weapons available in Borderlands are numerous and are pulled from “loot” tables in order to provide variance. The names of the weapons will typically indicate what traits they have while still managing to look and perform differently. There’s enough weapons to choose from that you will very rarely see the same weapon in a loot pile more than once, excluding unique weapons. And even with the unique weapons, there may be an elemental effect on yours that your friend’s doesn’t have.

Time constraints may become a factor as you start to enjoy the games. Typical multi-player sessions for the Reckon Crew often go longer than an hour as we help one another complete missions or just load up and go patrol an area and lay waste to some baddies. There’s a good sized world to be explored here and you may find one playthrough isn’t enough. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t play this game but you may want to postpone buying anything else for a while if you’re a typical Busy Gamer.

Gorgeous graphics, excellent voice acting and sound effects, beautiful scenery, and two DLCs since the launch of the game with a third on the way this month make Borderlands a solid addition to any gamer’s library, Busy or otherwise.

Gritskrieg – End of Line


Wednesday, June 10th, 2009


Although it has awesome freedom of movement, intense combat, and a pretty good storyline, PS3’s release of Infamous left me feeling unsure on how well I like the game…

Gamette Mina Rose by Image K.

Gamette Mina Rose by Image K.

The choice between good and evil is in your hands, and having such powerful moral choices is one of the reasons I had to check this game out. The glitches in it took me back to Assassin’s Creed (PS3, not the 360 version). The graphics are also inferior to a lot of next gen sandbox games. I do however think the storyline keeps enough interest that it’s not something to immediately trade into Gamestop before finishing it. The buggy visuals and gameplay glitches can’t quite live up to the excellent action, but it is terribly annoying.

It’s engrossing story with a variety of interesting characters definitely makes Infamous a game that I would definitely recommend renting, however I wouldn’t go purchase a new copy.

I give this game a BusyGamer Rating 3 out of 5. The fast pace gameplay makes up for the serious glitches, but not enough that I’m going crazy about it.

-Mina Rose

Resident Evil 5

Monday, March 30th, 2009
Resident Evil Box Art, 360 version

Resident Evil Box Art, 360 version

First Glance:
It’s the latest entry in the Resident Evil franchise. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 15 years, that’s ’nuff said.

The Short Story:
Capcom hits it big with the latest Resident Evil 5. Great graphics, creepy music, grisly scenery, and all of the puzzle solving, zombie shooting goodness you’ve come to expect from the series.

The Score:
High replay value and the new online play allowing you to team up with a friend against a horde of creepies scores RE5 a few points. Unfortunately, a control scheme that you have to relearn after extended absences combined with the sheer amount of story and playtime possible have us deducting a few. It scores a 3 on our scale but it’s a very fond 3.


Body of review:
I’m a long time fan of the Resident Evil series. I played every version I could get my hands on, read some of the books, and yes, sadly, watched all of the movies. I know some of the characters from the franchise better than I know some of my extended family. One day that will earn me a place in the Hall of Geek.

Much of the feel of the old entries is here. The distinct lack of ammo you’ll have in early stages and the horror in the pit of your gut when you hear that hollow click when the chambers empty will all seem very familiar. Then there’s the fact that the zombies are considerably faster in this “episode” and the backtracking through rooms and hallways to give yourself some space to land a headshot just ends with you stuck in a dead end with a bunch of hungry zombies.

In my pocket, there's a whole thing of Tic-Tacs.

In my pocket, there's a whole thing of Tic-Tacs.

The newer melee moves from Resident Evil 4 are back; head stomps, chest stomps, kicks, punches, and a really big knife help you feel a bit tougher when the baddies are gnawing on your ankles. Chris and Sheva can line up melee combos if you pay attention to the onscreen indicators allowing the two of them to hold their own in close quarters.

The single player mode may seem tough at first but you’ll soon notice something… Sheva isn’t a wimp. She’ll go toe to toe with the zombies, she’ll come to your aid when you’re getting your butt kicked, and she’ll heal you if she has any first aid goodies. You’ll notice a distinct lack of her cowering in a corner or running away to hide when the ghoulies round the corner. It makes for a much more interesting game.

There will be times when you’ll have to decide if you want her to run across a seemingly empty courtyard while you hold the door open while other times will see you giving her an assist across the alley from one rooftop to another and then providing covering fire. But keeping her close is always preferred since she can be the one to quickly turn the tide of a battle when you hear that “click” indicating you just burned through a clip of ammo trying to take down one baddie.

Sometimes it's best to administer innoculations from long range.

Sometimes it's best to administer innoculations from long range.

As is usual with the series, there’s a lot of game here. Linear levels make for relatively quick progression but going as fast as you can means missing out on goodies. There’s treasures you can find to sell for gold which allows you to buy bigger and better gear for your team and upgrades that you can buy for your weapons as you get them.

Fans of the series will recognize the upgrade process from RE4. And long gone are the days of the “inventory juggle”. You get nine slots on each character and for better or worse, you’ll find them quickly filled. On the plus side, guns will fit in one slot no matter how big they are. On the negative, ammo takes up one slot no matter how little of it you have and will only stack in the one slot to a certain point. Having more than 50 handgun ammo, for instance, means a second slot is required. Same goes for healing goodies, one goodie, one slot. I almost miss the inventory juggle in some ways. I was really good at squeezing every extra slot out of my backpack.

Replay value is high. Once a level is completed, you can go back in immediately to try and run it faster, gather more gear, or just straight up play a bit you really liked over again. Items, weapons, gold, and treasures are saved at the end of each level so if you pay attention and take the time to run through a level again, you can stock up on useful items while increasing your score on that particular level.

Sadly, the length of the game may find some shaking their heads. Online play allows you to team up which does add a social aspect to the game and allows for some quick matches. You’d be hard pressed to find a better game on the market if you’re a fan of the series but the overall time investment and non-intuitive controls make RE5 a shaky choice at best for the Busy Gamer.

Now if Capcom would just let us aim and move at the same time…

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Left 4 Dead

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Left 4 Dead - Busy Gamer Rating 3

Left 4 Dead - Busy Gamer Rating 3

First Glance:
The killer trailer and demo lead you to expect a lot out of this game. The effects and detailed texturing are amazing. Sounded like a good title for players of Dead Rising.

The Short Story:
You are one of four survivors attempting to fight your way out of the city while helping your other team mates. Fight together or die alone.

The Score:
I’m giving this title a BusyGamer rating of a 3. L4D was very visually pleasing but there was not much brain teasing involved. Valve spent a lot of time on the technical aspect of the game which made a lot of eyes open but when it got down to it, the lack of story line or varying goals kind of bored me.

Body of Review:
So far I’ve seen nothing but top reviews for this game. Many reviewers appreciate, or accept, the simplicity of the campaigns and compared it to some classic shoot-em-up titles. I, however, expected a bit more depth. One could simply run a straight shot from the beginning of the game to the end and miss nothing but maybe some hidden ammo. The goal of the levels were simple but I can say the charisma of the special infected keeps you on your feet. The lack of varying weapons and interactive environment left a lot to be desired. I, as a gamer, am into exploring and wasted a lot of time looking in empty rooms for something awesome to happen only to find nothing. You’re limited as to what you can use in your defense, guns and bombs only, plus melee.

L4D features a dynamic artificial intelligence system for game dramatics, pacing, and difficulty called the Director. Instead of set spawn points for enemies, the Director places enemies and weapons in varying positions and numbers based upon each player’s current situation, status, skill, location and alerts your team mates when you are injured so they may run to your rescue. A similar AI system was developed for Halo 3 in its campaign mode. Valve calls the way the Director is working “Procedural Narrative??? because, instead of having a difficulty level which just ramps up to a constant level, the A.I. analyzes how the players fared in the game so far, and tries to add subsequent events that would give them a sense of storyline.

One major feature that cranks this game’s rating up a notch is the ability to play online and through system link. This puts it ahead of past zombie titles in that aspect. When waiting for a lobby to fill during online play, you can choose your character; survivor, infected, or random. When infected, you choose your spawn position; not too far from the survivors, and not too close. You’re randomly placed as one of four special monsters – a Smoker, Hunter, Boomer, or Tank – and you are given special moves and tactic tips to help strategize your feast. Should you be killed by a survivor, you respawn again. If you happen to complete a mission without dying at all as a survivor, you could randomly respawn into anything. As a human, you are expected to help your team mates get to their feet when they are injured, give extra health or pain pills, and fend off any zombies that might have circled around them in order for your team to win. In campaign mode this is fairly easy and allows for the levels to pass quickly. But during online play, your team mates are not always available to assist and you might often find yourself killed. When respawning, there is a bit of a wait, 25 seconds the majority of the time, but sometimes you wait even longer before the countdown, so the survivors can either enter or exit the safe room. While this occurs you are switched to spectator mode and because of the wait, there is often more anticipation than actual gameplay.

Hopefully, in time, there will be more levels released in the Xbox marketplace at least for online play. The fact that they used the same maps from the campaign was a bit dissapointing, and once again, boring. Working with actual players instead of AI did make it a bit more interesting though. If it were not for the online ability of this title, L4D would have gotten a much lower rating from this gamer.

Miss Genocide – signing off

Star Wars : The Force Unleashed

Saturday, September 20th, 2008
The Force Unleashed - Busy Gamer Score 3

The Force Unleashed - Busy Gamer Score 3

First Glance:
Ok, it’s a Star Wars title, with like 2 years in the making, has the potential to be a really big hit – dazzling effects and a great demo to try out, sounds like a winner to die hard fans.

The Short Story:
You are Vader’s secret apprentice, raised from a child to possibly be the most powerful sith ever. No spoilers here, but the story is this game’s strongest point.

The Score:
I am giving this a BusyGamer rating of a 3. Making it an average bang for your buck. This games downfall (as sighted later) has dragged this down from being a top dog of your collection. Remember we are talking about time investment here, not so much how this game is overall.

Body of review:
Very sadly, this game has too many shortcomings that ultimatley bring it toppling down from all that its great genre has inspired. Die hard fans will buy this game, I bought it. I will keep it, and possibly replay it in the future. Lucasarts seems to have yet again screwed the pooch on developing a Star Wars game that can bring a long time of enjoyment to all gamers around. It hurts me to spit back out some thing with great storytelling and an enviroment that I could literally immerse myself in till doomsday.

The good. There is a lot of good stuff in this game, don’t get me wrong. The world is alive in Force Unleashed. The scenery is spectacular, the backgrounds response to your force abilities puts this game at the very top rung of the ladder as far as how the game looks and feels. The costumes are extremely detailed, as are the lightsabers which immediately appealed to me. The first 2 hours of gameplay I was jumping out of my seat, oooing and ahhing at how cool things looked and how I liked punting jawas 50 yards back.

I really think that the developers spent too much time on the reaction of the levels and the details of the worlds then the actual gameplay itself. Not a big suprise for these titles. And it really bums me out, I thought they may get this one right.

There are bugs within the first 5 levels that were hard to overlook. I would unlock costumes and find them relocked on the next levels making the achievement unfulfilling. I was awarded new lightsaber crystals after beating a boss and when checking the menus they were non existant. These two things frustrated me and made me cringe as I felt like I really gained nothing. How did these things get past beta testing? This has been a long awaited title too. I didnt see much power increases as I levelled because the enemies seem to also scale equally. Im not the memorize a ‘6 button combo move’ kinda person, as these were barely more effective than just hitting X (normal slash) repeatedly, so I would accumulate levelling points that would go unnoticed and unused in the combo upgrade section of my character.

Without giving spoilers, I want to say that the story is great. The game’s definite high point. Seeing young Princess Leia was awesome, the cutscenes were pretty good, better than average, great dialogue and enticing plot twists that did encourage me to get through the next level.

Overall after the niceties wear off this game doesn’t offer a whole lot. Replay will be low, there is no XboX live use at all. No co-op, no duelling, nothing that could have, and should have been included expanding some online playability. Bad bad bad lucasarts. I still revel in thought that this long awaited title may gather dust, I shall give it another try – I am a die hard fan, but I really hope a patch comes soon to fix some of its basic mechancial defeciencies.

Give it some time, buy it used and I feel you would enjoy it abit more, and atleast marvel at seeing more of the expanded universe of the Star Wars realm.

Crutchboy – Out