Archive for the ‘Game Reviews’ 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

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: 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: 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!

M-Dawg

Game Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Castlevania Box Art

Castlevania: Lords of Shadows whips in with a BusyGamer 2

First Glance:
The latest installment of Konami’s most popular game franchise next to the Metal Gear series.

Short Story:
You play as Gabriel Belmont, a knight in the Brotherhood of Light, a society of good assembled to make sure that evil is kept away from the innocent people of Earth.  There is a separation between the Heavens and the Earth, and because of it, evil creatures of every type have begun tormenting innocent villages and killing those who get in their way.  Gabriel’s wife is among those who have been killed by this evil, and because of that, her soul is stuck in limbo.  The higher ups of the Brotherhood believe that an evil society known as the Lords of Shadow is responsible for what has happened.  The higher ups believe that there is an item known as the “God Mask” that can be used to defeat all of the evil in the world and it’s also believed to be able to revive the dead.  Gabriel has been chosen to retrieve the God Mask and bring peace back to the Earth.

The Score:
This game had tons of potential.  Visually, it’s absolutely gorgeous, and the overall plot is quite good as well.  The main thing is that the game is two discs long, so it will take a while to beat.  Not to mention that you can go back to different levels after you have acquired a certain skill and do something you weren’t able to do previously.  I do have a problem with how the game ended, but I will get to that in a little bit.  For the Busy Gamer, Castlevainia: Lords of Shadow gets a 2.

Body of Review:
For the most part, I really enjoyed playing this game.  There were so many good things about this game.  First and foremost, the overall look of the game.  Castlevania is a beautiful game to look at.  There was little to no difference in the graphics between the in game cut scenes and the pre-rendered cinematics of the game.  This. Game. Is. Gorgeous!  The details on the levels are a sight to see as well.  In the third or fourth level of the game you are running around in a forest, and the colors are so vibrant and you can see the detail of almost every leaf on each tree. (more…)

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 www.JamCityRollergirls.com.

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.

website: www.michelejhale.com
twitter: www.twitter.com/michelejhale

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 (http://www.busygamer.com/blog1/?p=1008) 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: 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…)










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