Archive for the ‘Busy Gamer 4’ Category

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale – the good, the bad, the button mashing

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Since most of us here at BG come from a heavy pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons background this was a title that peaked our interests a few months back. This franchise is well overdue for a revamped series that is accessible in multi and single player scenarios. Atari and Wizards of the Coast seem to know this but can they bring our dice rolling fantasy to our console/PC and do it justice? Lets see…

The Bad
I want to end this on a good note so just let me get the bad stuff out of the way. I’m not going to fill you in on a story background, this is a ‘hack and slash’ game. The story seems sort of back seat to you runnning around looting barrells and killing goblins. We all could expect this from an ‘arcade’ type game. So don’t expect heavy dialogue (just heavy dwarf grunting), and missions like – go kill these guys here, go destroy that mine shaft there, escort this fella over here so he can make you a new shiny sword..etc. Very lack luster, but like I said, I don’t care much about that here, what I wanna know is if it’s fun for me, or worth my time to invest the 1200 microsoft points to satisfy my RPG fix on our occasional sober weekend nights.

Im a stickler on customization of my character, I will spend much too much time making my toon. Like hours if I can’t get it right. Outfitting and gear are a big part of RPGs for me. That was my first big dissappointment here. You get to pick one of four basic D&D Class/Races. Elf rogue, Dwarf cleric, Human warrior, and a Halfling mage (with corn rolls). No hair or face options, just what you see is what you get. They could of given us a few Male/Female options atleast. Big minus for me…

This was suppost to be a transfer of 4th edition rules right? Well at 3rd level I seem to have acquired 145hp (If I remember I should have around 25hp). The weapon damages are all accurate why wouldnt the players HP reflect that also? Maybe too many dots or since it’s not turn based combat they decided to give us a nice cushiony buff. Probably for the better, but still… D&D nerds will notice their numbers not adding up.

Button mashing. The combat is lots of hitting ‘X’ over and over with the slight special attack thrown in there…somewhat repetitive. It does work, and well we all kinda figured we’d be spamming and spamming to see how much we ‘crit’ for, or how much our ‘backstab’ hits at. It would of been nice to include some tatics here and there, and maybe multi-ing it with friends could lead to flanking mobs, or kiting strategies to handle some of the swarms of mobs that are hurled at you. Respawns of critters seems to be fast also, for those who are into blind ‘XP farming’.

The Good
Once you get past the button spamming and getting over the “I wanted to play a female dwarf to see if she could have a beard”, this game has some nice appeal for the BusyGamer. Quick runs with your friends, levelling up and searching for new gear I will never get tired of. The weapon and armor merchants have random items that are level based, they do change between saves it sorta seems, since I was frequently returning to vendors to see what they may have added. And these items reflect well on your character, better swords glow, bows have fire around them that do ‘fire damage’, and armors change your appearance accordingly. This is do like. When I upgrade my weapon, it should make me feel ‘upgraded’. I see that instead of adding character options, they just added a ton of different loot.

Blood and stuff. The fighting animations are very stylized. Nice blood splats and poision clouds from deadly arrows were a nice touch. Fireballs look like fireballs. Ice spells keep you rooted with ice shards coming out of the ground. It’s good to see the power of these smaller DL’d games be used, and they didn’t skimp on the effects.

The level maps are pretty big. I found myself really looking at the UI map of the cave areas to see what spots or treasure chests I may have missed. They are well marked with quest givers, vendors, and objectives so you wont get lost and caught back in a horde of respawned baddies.

Levelling seems adequately rewarding, not too fast, actually seemed a bit slow, but over all will make the game a good 12hrs or so to finish. Which is pretty fat for a DL.

The Overall
Good if you want a quick jump in and loot some mobs and try to get some upgraded gear. Good if you like a game that you could probably have fun with over XBLive with your buddies while drinking a beer at the same time. Good if you like attention to detail with some nice casting and magic item effects, that reflect well on your playing style, and good if you understand this is not a Dragon Age, or even Baulders Gate caliber of game. Bad if you want good story, indepth character customization, combat tactics, turn based strategy, or a game that requires you to think a whole lot more than past your ‘X’ button. It’s a quick ‘hack and slash let’s see how fast we can dps this mofo down’ type of game, and that’s exactly what I think WOTC and Atari set out to do.

Game Review: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions swings in at a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
A new standalone Spider-Man video game title from Activision aside from the movie tie-in games.


Short Story:
The sinister master of illusion, Mysterio, is in the process of stealing the Tablet of Chaos and Order, a mystical artifact able to give its holder unlimited power. Luckily, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man shows up in the nick of time to thwart Mysterio’s evil plan. Unfortunately, in the process of stopping Mysterio, the Tablet gets shattered into multiple pieces. Madame Webb appears and informs Spider-Man that the pieces have been scattered among four different dimensions, and the Spider-Man from each dimension must work together to reassemble the Tablet before the dimensions are destroyed.

The Score:
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension was an absolute delight. Featuring a great original story and a wonderful combination of cell shaded comic book style graphics and wonderfully detailed scenery, Spider-Man is a great title to play. At times, the levels can get a bit lengthy, but over all, it’s a pretty quick game and it has a great replay value. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimension gets a Busy Gamer 4.

Body of Review:
First of all, I am a HUGE Spider-Man fan. Spidey is my all-time favorite super hero, so when a movie or game comes out that features the wall crawler, I’m there. And this game, by far, is the best Spider-Man game I’ve played. The story itself is so original and so good, and it’s a way to get fans of Spider-Man who aren’t familiar with any other Spider-Man book besides The Amazing Spider-Man exposed to the other Spidey universes. As I said in my quick synopsis of the story, you play as four different Spider-Men. You have the Spider-Man that everyone knows, The Amazing Spider-Man (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), the younger Ultimate Spider-Man (who wears the dreaded Black Suit, but Madame Webb has prevented the suit from trying to bond with Peter Parker until the deed is done), Spider-Man Noir(who comes from an alternate dimension set in the 1930′s. This Spider-Man primarily sticks to the shadows and uses stealth to his advantage.) and finally, the Spider-Man of the year 2099 (who is the only one of the four Spider-Men who is NOT Peter Parker). Assuming that the 2099 Spider-Man is the Spider-Man of the potential future, it is impossible for this Spider-Man to be Peter Parker, unless Peter Parker was cryogenically frozen and awaken in the year 2099, but that’s a little farfetched even for a comic book… or is it? The 2099 Spider-Man is a man by the name of Miguel O’Hara, who is an employee for the Alchemex Corporation. Alchemex started dealing in gene splicing and tried to splice human DNA with that of the DNA of a previous Spider-Man in order create an army, but no subject has survived the process. Miguel somehow becomes part of the experiment and manages to survive, and now he possesses the same powers of Peter Parker. He now uses his power to take down his former employers.

Classic web-swingin', butt-kickin' goodness

Each Spider-Man has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Out of all four Spider-Men, The Amazing Spider-Man is pretty much your all around Spider-Man, he’s got the perfect combination of power, speed and agility then the other three. Ultimate Spider-Man is a little more powerful because of the Black Suit and he has the ability to go into rage mode which deals more damage to enemies, but his health regeneration can be a little slow. Spider-Man Noir is not great with hand to hand combat and taking on enemies with guns, which is why he works best at stealth attacks and sticks to the shadows. To make up with his inability to take gunfire well, Noir has uncanny health regeneration. And the Spider-Man of 2099 is extremely quick and agile and has the ability to slow things down to dodge gunfire and homing missiles, but his attacks can be a little weak.

Each level takes place in a different dimension and features a different Spider-Man. And along with a different Spider-Man, comes each dimension’s take on classic Spider-Man villains. For me, my favorite villains were the ones portrayed in the Noir levels. They really brought a sense of realism to the villains back story, and it really shows how sinister and gruesome, twisted and demented the villains are. The villains in the Noir dimension are all carnival sideshow freaks who start a crime syndicate. In the Noir story line, the Vulture is the man that kills Uncle Ben, and not only does he kill him, he eats Uncle Ben alive, so that’s the idea that of what things are like in the Noir world. You will encounter every classic villain in the Spider-Man universe. Everyone from the master hunter Kraven, to the embodiment of fear and evil Carnage, the clinically insane Deadpool, and, of course, in the end, Mysterio.

Probably the coolest things about the game is that at certain parts during the levels, there are sequences where the camera will go to a third person over the shoulder view while Spidey is walking around and there is walking dialogue being spoken. Not only that, but certain cut scenes will take you into a first person view of Spidey and you’ll see what he sees as his villains attack him head on. What I really enjoyed during some boss fights is that for some bosses, they will go into a first person view as Spider-Man goes hand to hand with his enemy, and during these sequences, you get to dodge attacks and punch out your enemy. I really enjoyed those sequences because you get to see the detail on the bosses’ faces and every time you punch them in the face, they usually have something to say about said punch to the face.

The best thing about the game though… Spidey’s wise cracks. I’ve noticed what was missing in the movies and some of the recent games was the lack of Spider-Man’s classic wise cracks and trash talking while he fights. In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, the wise cracks are back in full force. My favorite is when Ultimate Spider-Man is facing off against Electro, and the entire time Spidey goes on and on about how Electro is not wearing any pants. It was one thing after another in that fight, and it was great.

A new take on classic baddies

Even though I had some great things to say about this game, there were some problems with it. First of all, when you are wall crawling, the camera is IMPOSSIBLE to work with. This has been a problem with every recent Spider-Man game to my memory. As soon as you start wall crawling, the camera goes haywire and it’s very annoying. Another thing that bothered me was that the levels get very repetitive. They usually consist of two boss fights, and in between the boss fights, you spend the levels pursuing said boss, either saving civilians, or taking down thugs.

All in all, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a wonderful game. If you are a Spider-Man fan, you will enjoy this game. If you’re not a Spider-Man fan, you will be after playing this game.

Until next time, happy gaming, Busy Gamers!!

M-Dawg out!!!

Game Review: Marvel vs Capcom 3

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 pummels in with a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
The next installment of Capcom and Marvel’s crossover fighting franchise.

Short Story:
The biggest names in the Marvel and Capcom universes join forces to stop Victor von Doom and Albert Wesker from destroying Earth with the help of the destructor of planets himself, Galactus.

The Score:
Marvel vs. Capcom 3, for the most part, is a fast game to play through. The arcade mode is only 7-8 stages long, and those stages only consist of winning a fight. Most of your time will be consumed by beating the game with every character to unlock everything and playing online. For the Busy Gamer, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds gets a 4.

Body of Review:
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is your classic 2D fighting game. It features 38 different Marvel and Capcom characters, each with their own set of unique moves and character models. Like the two previous MvC titles, the format is a three on three battle between two teams. First team to have all three members fall loses.

I really enjoyed playing this game. It features many of my favorite Marvel comics characters, as well as characters that I remember playing as a child and also some characters that I don’t know from the Capcom universe. Visually, it’s a stunning game to look at. The graphics are similar to that of Street Fighter 4 but since there are the added comic book characters, there’s a little bit of comic book added to it, which is a nice touch to me. The fighting system is similar to the two previous entries, which is the same fighting system from Street Fighter 4, the same advanced fighting system and gameplay from the Street Fighter Alpha series. Complete with its signature over the top charged and team attacks, which are visually stunning depending on the team of characters that you choose.

Now with more Wesker goodness!

Each character is designed to the T, and each features their own unique fighting stance, moves, special moves, voices, and post battle celebration. My character of choice is Deadpool. I’ve recently grown to love the character of Deadpool and his character in the game is everything that Deadpool fans wanted Ryan Reynolds to be in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (keeping my fingers crossed for the actual Deadpool movie); a wise cracking, sword swinging, gun firing psychopath.
First of all, his “fighting stance” is just Deadpool bouncing up and down swinging his arms back and forth. He approaches his enemy by doing a Travolta style Saturday Night Fever strut, and moves away by simply moonwalking away from his opponent. For those who do not know the character of Deadpool, this is utterly his style. What he says is quite humorous as well. While most other characters will give a grunt while doing an attack, Deadpool (who knows he’s in a comic or video game at all times) prefers to yell out things like “Chimichangas!” or “Hot Dogs!” when he does an attack. My favorite is when he uses a special attack that requires him to just fire his guns at his opponent. Deadpool simply yells, “BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!”

My team of choice: Deadpool, Dante from Devil May Cry (who is Capcom’s answer to Deadpool in my opinion), and Iron Man. I suggest this team because they are a bit of a powerhouse combo. Deadpool’s attacks are fast and painful, Dante is a beast and can hit you a barrage of sword, magic, and firearm attacks, and Iron Man’s crossover attack deals a huge amount of damage. The three make a pretty solid team.

The arcade mode is pretty straight forward, choose your team, fight 7 other teams, then fight Dr. Doom and Albert Wesker, and finally, Galactus in a battle to save Earth. For the most part, the battles leading up to the final stage are pretty easy. It’s fighting Doom and Wesker that sucks because normally, team members will do assisted attacks and the assisting teammate will attack and then run back. In the Wesker/Doom fight, you’re pretty much fighting both characters at the same time. Luckily, they share one health bar.

"Shoryuken this!"

What makes this fight nearly impossible to win on any other difficulty besides Very Easy, is that after you lose one of your three fighters taking care of Doom and Wesker (which you probably will, but I suck at fighting games) you have to take on Galactus, who deals massive damage with every attack and is a colossal enemy to fight. I’ve only been able to beat the arcade mode on the Very Easy difficulty, but like I said, I suck at fighting games big time.

Along with the Arcade mode, you can play online (which I wouldn’t suggest doing unless you play fighting games 24/7 or else you’ll get destroyed). The game also features a Mission section. Basically, this is a tutorial for every character in the game so that you can get used to their moves and combos. It gets pretty ridiculous because it’ll get to the point to where you will have to string together a 5 hit combo and finish it off with a special attack. It can be difficult to say the least.

All in all, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is your classic 2D fighter. The added plus is that you get to play as your favorite Marvel and Capcom characters. For me being a comic nerd, especially Marvel comics, I’ve always enjoyed playing the MvC series.

Until next time Busy Gamers, Happy Gaming!


Game Review: Jam City Rollergirls

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Jam City Roller Girls gets a BusyGamer Rating of 4/5

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a game to come out. I had heard for a while that a roller derby video game was in the works, but hadn’t heard much more than just recently when I found out that Jam City Rollergirls was actually going to be released on January 24th. Naturally, I hijacked my dad’s Wii and downloaded it. (Side note: Dear Wii, please make it easier to buy points – it took me twenty minutes to enter my damn credit card information so I could get the measly 1000 points to download this game. Love, Me.)

Overall, I enjoyed the game. It was easy to play and only requires the regular control and nun chuck tether. (Another side note: stick to the inside of the track and you’ll get lead jammer status almost every time, it’s also the best place to pass your opponents and you’ll rack up tons of points.) I didn’t do much to change my character, though you do get options in the locker room to do so. As you progress through the game and finish your bouts, you earn money that you can spend on extras to really trick your character out. There are plenty of options to let you be the rollergirl you always wanted to be.

One part where I was very disappointed was that there weren’t very many teams to choose from. WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) has more than a hundred leagues, but only five were represented. I can understand that there are constraints in development to where it would be quite difficult to include all of the leagues. But no Rose City? No Angel City? Really? I chose to play as Gotham because let’s face it, those girls are badass. But, to their credit, Frozen Codebase did quite well with the teams that it did choose to include. Best example? The Texecutioners’ Derringer. I’ve seen her play in real life on many occasion and she’s one of the best blockers I’ve ever seen on the flat track. This is also quite true in the game. She is tough to get by on the track.

Plenty of options to deck out your derby girl!

The game itself is almost as entertaining as the sport. Each team has its own track with a little bit of local flavor. Some tracks have ramps and little areas to skate over to gain speed boosts and it makes the game a little more interesting. I didn’t like that the skaters could throw stuff and there are no referees to cry foul. You do go through a period with two-minute jams and you do pick up points as if you would in a real game. A big however, though, once a lead jammer is declared, that person stays lead jammer…I hated that.

I think Jam City is a good place to start for a roller derby video game. I would like to see something that is more like an actual bout. I want to see the skaters get down and beat the crap out of each other like they do at real bouts. I want to see a skater get ejected from a game and throw that single fingered derby salute. Jam City was worth the money, but don’t run out and get a Wii just to play it.

See more about Jam City Rollergirls at

Author - Michele Hale

Michele is an indie author and publisher from Austin, Texas. She loves roller derby, tattoos and science fiction. She is the founder of Cowgirlie Publishing and is currently working on a three-book sci-fi series due out in 2011.


Game Review: Fable 3

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Fable 3 lands a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
The third installment to the popular Fable series. More choices for a new Hero and a kingdom to rebuild.

The Short Story:
Peter Molyneaux sends us back to Albion once again but this time as the direct offspring of the Hero from Fable 2. The choices you make throughout the game, as in the first two of the series, determine how people react to you and the outcome of the story. You’re putting together a revolution this time around and you have to make some tough choices along the way as you make your alliances and try to get the population of Albion behind you.

The Score:
Fable 3 has taken everything that was done right in the first two games and produced an absolutely fabulous outing into the world of Albion. Combat has been dumbed down (almost too much in some cases) and the story will leave you wanting more. The pros of this game, however, outweigh the cons and deliver on aspects that will leave even the busiest gamer wanting more. While you may want to play more than thirty minutes to an hour at a time, this game can be devoured in short sessions with very little problem and may almost be too short in regards to the storyline. Fable 3 pulls down a Busy Gamer 4.

Body of review:
Those of you who remember what we had to say about Fable 2 ( may be surprised that we’ve rated it’s sequel so highly but there’s a reason to all of it that may surprise you if you haven’t had the chance to sample Peter Molyneaux’s latest offering. To begin, there’s the story. Without spoiling it for you, the hero you create is thrown into the fray very quickly with your first moral choice coming shortly after creating your character. Forced to choose between two evils, you quickly begin to understand just how difficult some of the choices you have to make truly are.

That's your brother. Any guesses as to where his moral compass points?

I mentioned after playing the game over Halloween weekend that one could beat the storyline in Fable 3 rather quickly. This is the truth. It’s my estimation that if you were to focus solely on the story and avoided the side quests, you could conceivably wrap up the game in under 4-5 hours. You’re going to miss out on a lot of the game by doing this but if you were really pressed for time and wanted to just breeze through the story, it’s possible. And if you were to do so, you could still continue to do quests and power up your character as the side quests are all available regardless of what point you are in the story.

The combat system has been overhauled in Fable 3 and while I initially disapproved of the changes, they grew on me. To begin, all of your combat abilities as well as your non-combat skills are purchased using Guild Seals. Guild Seals are gained by killing enemies, completing quests, and by making friends (or enemies) with the local villagers. To improve skills, your Hero has to teleport to the Road of Rule, a shadowy realm reflecting your travels and adventures through the game, where chests line the Road that can only be unlocked by spending your hard earned Seals. This allows you to power up abilities without actually having to use them, a problem in the two earlier versions of Fable where one combat skills could quickly outpace your other two skills making it difficult later in the game to improve said skills against the harder opponents.

With the change to the combat skill system comes another addition to the combat. Each skill is accessed by pressing one button on the controller. In other words, pressing the Y button always utilizes your gun (the only ranged weapon category this time out) while X and B activate your melee and magic skills respectively. At first this might seem like an oversimplification but timing your attacks can produce some truly spectacular results. For instance, pressing X just as an enemy attacks results in a slow motion counter attack that typically results in a one shot kill. The game isn’t specific about the timing and the only means to practice the counter attack is to figure it out as you go. The counter attack can be done with all of your weapons and spells and once mastered can significantly increase your potency in combat. Flourishes still play a part in your fights and can be used to negate an opponent’s defense. (more…)

Game Review: Halo Reach

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Halo: Reach grabs a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
The prequel to the epic Halo Trilogy and what is said to be Bungie’s “final” Halo game.

Short Story:
You play as Noble 6, the newest member of Noble Team. This team of Spartans, physically and genetically altered super soldiers armed with high tech armor and weapons, is the last defense against the Covenant, a combination of different alien races who believe that it is their divine right to destroy the human race. Noble Team’s mission is to repel an invasion of the planet Reach, the last human compound before Earth. You and your team must prevent Reach from falling to the Covenant in order to keep the location of Earth a secret. If you are a fan of the Halo series, you know how this story ends.

The Score:
*Disclaimer!  The score I give Halo: Reach does not reflect how I really feel about this game.*  This was easily the most anticipated game release of this year. With stunning cinematics, wonderful voice acting, and not to mention the incredible and epic story of the campaign, I would be shocked if this game does not receive game of the year. With that said, the campaign can take a while to complete especially if you are trying to get the Legendary Campaign achievements. Then, once you are done with the campaign, you can spend the rest of your day playing the awesome online multi-player. For the sole reason that you can spend countless hours playing online, for the Busy Gamer, Halo: Reach is going to get the score of a 4.

Body of the Review:
This was easily the best game I’ve played this year. Bungie really went all out with what they call their last Halo installment. As I mentioned before, the story was incredible. As you start off as a full team, and slowly, one by one, the team of six eventually comes down to one, you realize that the mission you started will not be a successful one. For those of you familiar with the Halo universe, you know that Reach falls to the Covenant, but Bungie makes sure that everyone knows that Reach did not fall without a fight.

There were a number of exciting additions made to Reach. Along with new weapons, my personal favorite being the DMR which is a single fire version of the Battle Rifle from Halo 2 and Halo 3, there were also the addition of the armor load outs. The load outs were my favorite addition to this game. There are a variety of armor load outs available in Reach, including: Sprint, Armor Lock, Invisibility, Hologram, a Deployable Bubble Shield, and let us not forget, a Jet Pack. I am a huge fan of Red vs. Blue, an online series made using the Halo game engine. Now, in the Red vs. Blue storyline, there is a special division of soldiers called “Freelancers.”  Each Freelancer’s armor is equipped with a special ability. Sound familiar?  Being a Red vs. Blue fan, I was really excited to see something like this be apart of the game. My favorite load out would have to be the Sprint load out. It’s the simplest one of the bunch, but it works best for me in Matchmaking.

"Get some, little creepy dino looking thing!"

Halo: Combat Evolved was such a breakthrough game because it was the first game to initialize the melee attack in a First Person Shooter. Halo 2 and 3 took it one step further with instant kills when you melee an opponent from behind. Now, when you do this in a multiplayer match, you would get a badge for an assassination. Halo: Reach took the assassination one step further by actually giving you the visual satisfaction of seeing your character brutally assassinate your opponent. This usually involves the breaking of the neck or a brutal stabbing of the head or chest of your opponent. I love those!
Along with the additions of the gameplay, your ability to customize your Spartan are incredible. There are so many different armor types this time around that the possibilities are endless for how your Spartan looks.

The multiplayer has gone through a huge revamp as well. You can now change your settings to where if you like to play with people who like to talk while playing, or players who are there to have fun, you can set it to where those will be the only players you will be matched with. There are also some new multiplayer games with Reach. These include Head Hunters, Elite Slayer, Invasion, and now SWAT and Living Dead have their own multiplayer playlist. Personally, I am not a fan of any of these new games except for SWAT, but that’s been in the mix since Halo 3. Elite Slayer is probably my least favorite of the new multiplayer games. It was not very fun to play.

Right now, Reach doesn’t have too many maps to choose from and the majority of them are all remakes of maps from previous Halo games, my favorite currently being Countdown.

"Your tactics are transparent!"

One of the best changes would be the changes made in the Forge. Not only did Bungie manage to change things by giving the players the ability to make their own movies using Theater mode and giving players the ability to create their own maps as well in Halo 3. Now in Reach, players have endless possibilities in the Forge. You can now mesh objects together and rotate objects to the angle you desire. And to build your creations, Bungie has given us Forge World. Forge World is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s one huge map that holds at least six different maps inside of it. Most notably, this map has brought back possibly Halo’s most famous map: Blood Gulch. Once again, as a Red vs. Blue fan, I was excited to see Blood Gulch again as it was where the first five seasons of the show took place.

Final Thoughts:
Reach is as close to the perfect FPS as you can get. It has the story, the look, and the gameplay that many will love. I only hope that this will not be Bungie’s last hurrah in the Halo Universe.

Until next time Busy Gamers, Happy gaming!

M-Dawg out.

Game Review: Dante’s Inferno

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Dante's Inferno tells us to "Go to Hell" and we still give it a BG 4.

First Glance:
A game adaptation of Dante Alighieri’s first part of “The Divine Comedy” about a soldier’s quest through the Nine Circles of Hell.

Short Story:
You play as Dante, a soldier of the Crusades who returns home to find both his father and his love, Beatrice, murdered. While he mourns at Beatrice’s body, a dark presence appears and takes her soul down to Hell. Dante, now “hell” bent on revenge, follows her soul down to Hell determined to save her soul and send her to Heaven. Along the way, you learn why she is taken to Hell and more about Dante himself and his family.
The Score:
I’m giving Dante’s Inferno a 4. Not only is this game fun and exciting but it can also be a quick play if you are able to get a good amount of game play in. I also give this game a 4 because it’s an easy achievement game. A plus if you like achievements as much as I do.

Body of Review:
Dante’s Inferno is a very solid game. One of my favorite things about the game would be the cinematics. The in game cutscenes, the cinematic cutscenes, and the flashback cartoons are amazing and add a lot of depth to the game itself. As you travel deeper into Hell, you will have a flashback cutscene which is started by a close up of the cross that Dante has stitched into his body. In these flashbacks, you find out what kind of person Dante is and how Beatrice’s soul is snatched down to Hell by the Devil himself.

Another good thing about the game is the arsenal of weapons you have. First and foremost, Death’s Scythe. That’s right, Death’s Scythe. You acquire this weapon early in the game. After the games tutorial, you go to a cutscene where Dante is stabbed in the back by an enemy. While Dante tries to recover from the blow, Death rises from the underworld to collect Dante’s soul. Dante refuses and you go into what I consider your first boss fight. This boss fight made me hear something I thought I never would…Death begging for his life while Dante kills him with his own scythe and then takes it for himself. My mind was blown just by this first fight. The scythe is great for the classic hack and slash of demons and damned souls but sometimes there will be enemies that are too far away for the scythe to reach. For these enemies, you have a cross given to you by Beatrice before Dante went off to the Crusades. The cross is used as a ranged weapon.

The big head may be angry that we're wasting his dental floss...

Now along with these two weapons, you also have four different types of magic spells that you acquire through out the game. The gameplay is quite good in this game. It has a combination of hack and slash and also a button command system for certain enemies and boss fights. My favorite aspect of the fighting system is the option to punish or absolve certain enemies. To get this option, you can either grab some of the weaker enemies or wear down some of the stronger enemies. When you wear down an enemy enough, a right trigger icon will appear over their head, when this happens, press right trigger to grab the enemy with the scythe then you will have an option. You can either punish or absolve your enemy. If you choose to absolve them, Dante will use the cross to send the demon’s soul to Heaven. If you choose to punish them, Dante will show no mercy with Death’s Scythe. Choosing to either punish or absolve an enemy will raise either you Holy, or Unholy level, and also collect souls which you can use to buy different moves or upgrade your weapons as your levels go up.

I really enjoyed the button command system that was included with the fighting system. When you take on enemies, you will be given certain button commands to choose to punish, absolve, or even board a creature that you can control.

One of my favorite things would be the boss fights. You will take on a number powerful foes in this game, including Death, King Minos (who judges damned souls and sends them to a certain circle of Hell depending on their sins), Marc Antony and Cleopatra,  Cerberus, Alighieri (Dante’s father), Frencesco (Dante’s friend and Beatrice’s brother) and Lucifer Himself. Favorite boss fight: King Minos. The way you finish the fight is brutal!

All these things about this game are great, but the absolute best thing about this game has to be the overall look of the game. The environments are mind blowing. My favorite stage in the game is Gluttony. Since gluttony is associated with the digestive system, the entire circle of Gluttony looks like you are walking around the inside of a stomach and intestines of a person. As you walk around, the walls move and you hear the sounds of a stomach. It’s absolutely disgusting to look at and hear but it’s done so well you can’t help but appreciate it.

Like I said earlier, this is an achievement game. There is no achievement in the game that require you to play through the game on a certain difficulty, so you can 100% this game on the easiest level of gameplay, which is a big plus for me, because I don’t like games to be too difficult. I got all but 5 achievements just playing through the game once.

"Butt kicking for goodness!"

Ok, I know I had a lot of good things to say about Dante’ Inferno. In fact, I think the goods things I wrote about it may actually be longer than my first review. Anyway, there were a couple of things I thought could have been better about the game. First of all, there was the lack of a free roaming camera. I felt a free roaming camera could have been helpful and could have prevented a number of deaths that I suffered while playing the game. I also would have wanted to have a targeting system. There were times that I wanted to focus on one enemy to raise either my Holy or Unholy level and then Dante would start attacking another enemy in mid combo, which got a little annoying. The last thing I didn’t like was how Cerberus was portrayed in the game. Now when you think Cerberus, you think a giant three-headed dog. But, in the game, Cerberus guards the entrance into Gluttony, so to go along with the look of the stage, the people at Visceral Games decided to make Cerberus into a three headed worm monster. I didn’t like it at all.

Final Thoughts:
Dante’s Inferno is an incredible game. The combination of the story, game design, and controls is what makes this such a great game. And the ending left it open for more games. Perhaps it will continue to follow in the stories of “The Divine Comedy.”  It was one of my favorite games I’ve played recently.

Until next time, happy gaming everyone!


Game Review: Quake Live

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
QUAKE LIVE: Busy Gamer Rating 4

QUAKE LIVE: Busy Gamer Rating 4

First Glance: The reincarnated spirit of Quake III, but downloaded and launched through a browser plug in- and totally free to play.

Short Story: Shoot, blast, explode, or gauntlet your friends, automated opponents, or complete strangers! Fast FPS action with five main types of matches, around forty maps, a skill matching system, and a social networking style system of profiles and friends lists.

The Score: While I could definitely craft an argument for rating Quake Live a 5, I’m going to go with a 4. It is definitely possible to log on and play just one match per day, but I don’t think many gamers will actually play the game in such a manner. One of the best uses of Quake Live is playing with friends, and limiting such play to only an hour at a time would deny the tangled web of matches, vengeance and grudge matches which naturally should result from fragging your friends. You also will most likely not go to the top of the leaderboards putting in an hour or two a day, but most busy gamers will not need that kind of validation to enjoy the gameplay. Being free also gives Quake Live major points- you have to spend exactly zero hours at work to afford it!

The skill matching system means that you can enjoy yourself without getting pwned too hard, even if you are on the wrong end of the learning curve. Its not impossible to stay alive long enough to improve your skills when you are playing matches at your level. It is also perfectly possible to pick the game back up after a long absence. Even if you do get a bit rusty, you’ll still be able to enjoy the game.

Quake Live is perhaps best as a binge game- its best played in segments of more than an hour, but you don’t need to play everyday. (Barring any addiction you may develop, anyway.) It’s great for lan parties and tournaments as well.

Quake Live boasts 5 types of matches and 40 maps! Plus it's free to play!

Quake Live boasts 5 types of matches and 40 maps! Plus it's free to play!

Body of Review: All you need to do to get started playing Quake Live is to take a little stroll to Create a free account, and quickly download the plug in. Then you play a match against Crash, who also shows you around the game a little. The rest of the files you need to play are downloading as you play this match, and this match also places you in the skill ranking system. Once your account is created, you can log in and play from any computer with only minimal time spent downloading content.

Once in the game, you can choose to practice against computer opponents or you can select a match. Types of matches include Capture the Flag, Clan Arena, Free For All, Duel, and Team Deathmatch. You can filter matches based on type, or with criteria such as players on your friends list or maps. Matches appropriate for your skill level are automatically suggested, but you can also choose to play matches at a higher level if you wish. The player base is very good as well, no long waits for matches to fill. You can log in and get to shooting pretty much immediately.

Gameplay is much as you would expect- fast and violent. You pick up weapons such as rocket launchers, lightning guns, grenade launchers, and chain guns, and various armors and power ups. Then you take your new arsenal and try to reach out and touch someone. Techniques such as rocket jumping and strafe jumping will greatly improve both your deadliness and your lifespan, and there are tutorials on both if you need a little help.

Check out more of Rika's Reviews! Photo by Jim Brown.

Check out more of Rika's Reviews! Photo by Jim Brown.

Quake Live also has a built in system of friends lists, and player profiles somewhat similar to a social networking site. Each player profile lets you see a pretty intense amount of information on that player, such as a detailed match history, stats like accuracy and favorite weapons, arena, ect., and players they have recently competed against. Public records keep smack-talking players honest. There is also a built in chat window where you can converse with players on your friends list. Also in social networking fashion, you can use your email contact list to find people you know who play.

The only word of warning for busy gamers is that it is of course not in your best interest to go afk during a match, and any matches you leave without completing do go on your record, so you need to know for certain that you have time to complete a match once you join. Regardless, Quake Live is still one of the best suited online games for those of us with jobs/lives/other games to see to. And did I mention that it’s FREE?

Game Review: Brütal Legend

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Brütal Legend, and Jack Black, score a Busy Gamer 4
Brütal Legend, and Jack Black, score a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
Jack Black is the hero, heavy metal carnage is the theme, and Lemmy and Ozzy are part of the game? I’m in. Seriously. In.

The Short Story:
Brütal Legend is the game that almost wasn’t. EA made the wise choice to pick up the title and after spending a good amount of time with the game, I’m glad the project came to fruition. With excellent voice acting, a mind crushing sound track, and solid gameplay, Double Fine has produced a product that would have a shame to lose.

The Score:
Brütal Legend is the type of game that tries to blend several different types of play into one game. Hack and Slash, RTS, driving, rhythm and put together a story to tie it all together. A lot of companies have tried this approach and failed. But Brütal Legend pulls it off admirably and you’ll find yourself looking forward to what comes next. The controls are basic but solid and take very little time to learn. The story itself is well done and when Jack Black voices the main character, you can count on the humor level being high. There’s a lot to do in Brütal Legend but you may find yourself ready to pass on a second helping of the same story on a higher difficulty level. Short sessions are very possible and the game will humor will keep you coming back for more. Brütal Legend scores a 4 on the Busy Gamer scale.

Body of review:
I’ll admit it. I was a metal head in high school. I had the weird long hair, the jean jacket, the concert tees, the whole nine yards. I’m also a big fan of Jack Black’s acting and of Tenacious D as well. So when I say I had some high expectations going into Brütal Legend, you should know I mean *high* expectations. And it didn’t fail to deliver.

So that's why they call it an "electric" guitar.

So that's why they call it an "electric" guitar.

Brütal Legend is the tale of roadie Eddie Riggs who is a stylized, buff, ass kicking version of Jack Black who also voices him. Eddie can fix anything, build anything, get anything, and while he’s a roadie, he’s also a pretty good musician. As the story begins, Eddie is working for what passes for a heavy metal band in this day and age and lamenting the fall of metal. While pulling one of the band members fat out of the fire, a piece of the set falls on Eddie and what appears to be a fatal accident transports Eddie to a land where heavy metal is not only alive and well, it’s a way of life.

Once the action begins, our hero finds an axe of legend to wield and then finds another axe… to play. He discovers that the guitar he plays can cause his foes to burst into flames or be struck by lightning. So between the two “axes”, he finds a means to quickly and efficiently beat his foes. And throwing up the horns is completely acceptable after a successful fight.

As the story moves on, Tim Schafer’s wickedly humorous writing and Jack Black’s perfect delivery as Eddie drives the story while solid gameplay and the oddly beautiful graphics pushes us to hear more of it. Combat consists of three buttons for the most part. One to swing the axe, one to play the guitar to different effect, and the third is to block. And while it may seem like an oversimplified game mechanic, the game offers a variety of foes that Eddie must learn to overcome using a combination attacks. This keeps the combat flowing nicely without being an intimidating factor. Once you learn the moves, it’s hard not to appreciate the devastation you can cause.

After dispatching a few waves of demonic foes, it’s time to move on to one of the driving portions of the game. Initially, to learn the controls of the car (called the “Druid Plow”, HA!), you’ll race down a path to escape the evil horde that’s coming for you. And with just enough time behind the wheel to feel some confidence, you’re thrown into a battle for Eddie’s life… using the car. And then, if you’re victorious, you get to drive very fast to cross a bridge that’s crumbling behind you. (more…)

Game Review: Darkest of Days

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Darkest of Days lands a Busy Gamer 4

Darkest of Days lands a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
Gallavant through time with heavy weaponry and try to preserve the timeline. Kill some Nazis, some Indians, and some Roman soldiers. Sounds like a party.

The Short Story:
Great graphics, ambient sounds, and historically accurate battlefields make for some intense play but a bit of lackluster voice acting can ruin the immersion at times. Lack of a multiplayer mode limits replayability but as a single player FPS, there’s a good game here for the Busy Gamer since short sessions are entirely possible.

The Score:
As a shooter, Darkest of Days does a lot of things right. There’s a decent story without going overboard, the majority of the voice acting is well done, the futuristic weapons are appropriately devastating in early time periods, and the period weapon are, to a point, historically accurate. An upgrade system allows you to spend points to improve weaponry and once bought, are immediately applied to any weapon the player uses. Some AI and pathing glitches make for some headaches but these are minor when viewed in the light of the overall game. All of these factors earn Darkest of Days a Busy Gamer 4.

Body of review:
Had I not heard it with my own ears, I may very well have called you a liar if you had told me about this game. But now that I have heard the opening music of Darkest of Days, I can honestly say not enough games begin to a banjo playing. And that’s not a joke. It sets the mood for the whole game right from the very beginning.

As Darkest of Days opens, we see a group of blue clad soldiers fleeing from Indians, several being taken down as a hail of arrows falls on them. The text alerts us to the fact that we are about to witness the Battle of Little Big Horn. A quick jaunt up a hilly path reveals some of the most beautiful backgrounds to be present in a game to date. The bullets and arrows whizzing past my head convinced me I would have to admire the scenery later.

Taking my place on top of the hill, the Indians quickly surround us, some on foot, some on horseback, and a short but fierce firefight commences. As I begin to shoot, I can hear someone shouting orders. A quick glance behind me reveals General Custer standing atop the hill, a six shooter in each hand as he attempts to rally his troops. Moments later an arrow hits me and I’m on my back looking at the arrow sticking out of my leg. Even if I didn’t know the historical outcome of this fight, I would have to assume things could only get worse.

Custer yells louder only to be pierced through the midsection by an arrow. A valiant attempt to continue firing results in another arrow striking him. Custer goes down and that’s the end… Well, it would be if this wasn’t a game about time travel. (more…)