Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Witcher Review... WHEN?

Apparently a new version is due out sometime around summer, so i'm going to set the game aside until then... Should buy me some precious hard drive space. Normally I'm pretty big on reviewers reviewing the game that ships, but I am not currently (nor have I ever been, although i may aspire to some form of game "journalism", if you will) a professional reviewer. As such I am free to review the game whenever i feel like it.
So the new version will add a shit load new animations when conversing; as well as add lots more NPC models so the towns actually have more than 4 people walking around.
Also shorter load times and better UI, but really Ialready really enjoy the game so its just like putting gravy on ice cream (inside joke). And cannot wait for this "patch" to bestow the true Witcher game on me. 
Its still prolly on gonna let women be whores... but who are we to decide if that universe is sexist and our own is not? Oh-kay i just like Sexing it up in-game... You caught me... Moving on, no Witcher review anytime soon. Bummers.

I will however get a Devil May Cry 4 review up sometime soon. Reading week is helping me quite a bit with the gaming stuff... not so much with the reviewing of a historical periodical by some Stolfi chap... oh well. I'm pretty sure the Soviets win.

Also Ninja Gaiden Black on Xbox Originals coaxed me into buying it. And damn, the game still looks pretty good. Plays even better, and is serving as a nice warm up for getting ready for the bitch slapping that Ninja Gaiden 2 will serve me when it comes out later this year.

Apparently GDC is going on this week (right now in fact), so maybe I'll say something eloquent and intelligent about the state of gaming after having been enlightened by the God's of Gaming. For now I just wish i could remember how i managed to beat Ninja Gaiden the first time around...
Oh Well... Nighty Nighty Folks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Here We Go Again

Burnout Paradise Review:

Zoom Zoom. Although zoom doesnt exactly encapsulate the speed 
of this game. Its rare that a game actually requires an HDTV to fully
play the game, but the speed you end up moving at in Paradise has such
a degree of blur and speed that to fully "see" all the surroundings
accurately (and hence avoid crashing into the many things you
'zoom' by with much gusto). 

The question though is does this sense of speed make the game fun?
I mean sure its great that the game looks amazing but how does the 
game play. So the basic premise of the game is that you are dropped
into Paradise City and allowed to driveall over the city spinning your
wheel at light intersections to initiate the various challenges, like 
Race, Road Rage, Marked Man, Stunt, and Burning Lap. All of these
are quite fun. But simply tooling around Paradise city can be an 
unbridled joy, as you look for the special Jumps, Billboards
and secret paths that are littered all over the game.
If you've ever played a Burnout game before you know its about
driving fast, really really fast,
and seeing amazing crashes. And the crashes in this game are nothing
short of brilliant, the game slows down switches angles to show the
heap of metal spiralling through the air and into well pretty much
anything, cars, buildings, signs, buses. The crashes are also pleasant
even when its costing you that Burning Lap event.

The real question with this game is how exactly will you find your
enjoyment with it? Because the game really doesnt tell you what to
do and what order to do it in. It simply informs you of the possibilities
and then lets you go.

Annoyances however are things like the bloody EA DJ Atomica,
whom it seems is going to be gracing more and more EA titles much to
my chagrin. Also there is no way to quickly jump to the events, you have 
to drive across the whole city. Which can sometimes be annoying, but 
honestly i really enjoy driving across town to get to the various events,
finding the various secrets along the way.

Would I recommend this game to others? Oh yes.
buy it if you're a fan of the Burnout series especially. Or if you liked
the old San Francisco Rush series, then this brings back the crazy 
secret routes of that game. The game itself doesnt really lend itself
to rentals given that it simply is the kind of game that you will want
to own forever and keep at it. I suppose you could plough through
the game in a weekend if you are so inclined but in my own opinion
I feel like this is a game you will want take your time and enjoy every part.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Review Time (At Last)

Super Mario Galaxy Review:

Its the game that Sunshine should have been. At least thats what I've heard several times in the past. But personally I really enjoyed Sunshine and did not see what people's problem was. But this is about Galaxy. And rest assured whether Sunshine burned you or not (no pun intended) Galaxy is a real treat, although i think it has been over reviewed thus far by most.

You've played Mario 64 Ihope? If so you understand the premise, Mario goes for walk, Bowser shows up steals Princess,
Mario runs around and collects stuff (new collectible is shiny star bits, although they might as well be coins).
Then you fight bowser several times and get the classic "your princess is in another castle.

The deal is this all happens in space. Its quite well done in fact. There are these Galaxies (Apparently Nintendo doesnt get the difference between a solar system and a Galaxy, but whatever)
Also apparently Mario isnt allowed to punch in any game that is not Smash Bros. Because they removed that. Mario can jump or spin now. Well he can jump then spin, but no more punching or diving (i adored his dive move).
The camera is annoying. Mainly because when you're upside-down you are upside down, and i want the camera to follow me a flip upside-down so that i can actually see where i am. It is very difficult to accurately land on something when your view is distorted beyond comprehension.
Now this gripe isnt really much of an issue in this game because the game itself is so easy a mildly retarded child with down's could figure out how to beat it. The game is very, very forgiving, and this is in essence my whole problem with the game. 
By the time you start actually enjoying the game the level design is challenging you and working with the controls (not telling you run upside down and jump on a fucking thousand goombas).
There is no challenge to the game. And to me it feels like this was done to compensate for only partially making the controls feel effective at controlling Mr. Stache. 
You can still enjoy the game, but its for a different reason than I want in game. I cant even describe why I like the game. Its doesnt test my ability to beat it. Sure there are the "challenge bits where you have a time limit, or you only get one health, but they literally make up an optional 1/5 of the game. 
My final problem is the length of the game. It is far too short. You might argue that getting 100% will take a substantial investment. But honestly I dont think it would. Maybe 30-40 hours to 100% the game. But only maybe 10 hours max to beat the game. Certainly it might be enough, many games are less and still excellent games. But the strength of those games is that the gameplay itself is so finely compact and refined that you feel like its was amazing.
I guess my point is that Mario Galaxy is merely a fun game. You will enjoy it, but it doesnt do anything unique.
The character of Mario is can be so much. In Smash Bros. He is a bad ass fighter, in the RPGs he is an utterly aloof idiot. But in Galaxy we see Mario as nothing. He's some guy who doesnt speak, who saves the princess and has absolutely no reactions beyond the most basic emotions that you would expect given his situations.
So Who should Buy Super Mario Galaxy And who should simply rent it.
Any self respecting gamer should at the very least rent it. Those with families would do well to buy it. The children will enjoy it for quite some time, and the content is as wholesome as you can find in video games that are actually good.
The Halo fanboys would be advised to stay away, although they too would enjoy the game.
The People who should utterly avoid the game are those who adore Ninja Gaiden and its ilk of trama inducing difficulty challenge based games. 

So go rent it. Sure it sounds like I didnt much enjoy the game. But really its a treat, my tastes have simply moved beyond it. Most will delight in it.