Mass Effect

The Good: Mass Effect has a variable story line full of choices the player can make along the way.  The graphics are very pretty and a character has the potential to become very interesting.  This is a negative for some people, but a positive for me, but a majority of the game will be spent doing random sidequests in order to find new things and get more experience, money and achievements.  I like this because if you get stuck a difficult place you can simply go on to something and come back instead of sitting there and leveling up or just being screwed.  Now, in the very beginning of the game, you choose a class, and this is the same as in lots of other games.  I made the choose to be an engineer so I could be good at all electronic locks and other crap like that, but being a engineer is not all it is cracked up to be and really just overrated, contrary to what someone everyone I know hates, believes. Anyway, I digress, the engineer can only use a pistol with any kind of skill.  I know, if you are a good enough gamer you can still use other guns because your that good, wrong, so wrong.  That is all in the good section becasue I think it gives you a reason to play the game more than once.  If you beat the game with a soldier class, Woohoo, now do it with only a pistol.  Okay, the graphics in this game are very good, htey fit and especially the cutscenes are flat out beautiful.  Characters, the character system in this game is great, and very original to me.  You can make any character (besides the main character of course) as important or insignificant as you want.  Very cool, and yet another reason to play the game more than once.  Other good aspects that you need to check out for yourself is the vastness of the universe and the character design in the very beginning.  Both very very cool.

The Universe in Mass Effect

The Bad:  The bad in this game for me is that first of all it is repetitive.  You can quite literally use the EXACT same stradegy on every enemy throughout the entire game.  This gets a bit old and actually forced me to stop part way through and come back to it later.  Also the leveling system, and the upgrade system can be a bit complicated at times and it can be irritating.  Now, an error in this game that drives me crazy is the fact that the main character feels it is perfectly okay to at any time never run faster than a light saunter.  Huge alien death ship coming? saunter away.  Warships unloading clips of heavy artillery at you? saunter away and get distracted by looking at every thing.  Hitler chasing after you with a chainsaw in one hand and a hand grenade in the other? Saunter away slowly (Disclaimer: Does not happen in real game).  

Couldn't find a picture of the Hitler I was describing, so this is the main charcater preparing to saunter

The Overall:  The game is great, the graphics are great, the sidequests are great, all I can ask is that factors gain a little bit of variablity and there needs to be a “run like you are getting shot at” button.  Oh, an unrelated side note.  I did not actually accomplish this, but apparently there is some love-subplot you can partake in with an alien, which is a just a dolled up way of saying there is a way the main character can have sex with an alien.  I put this in the overall becasue franky I am not sure where it is good or bad but definitely thought it was worth mentioning.

Gameplay: 6.5/10

Controls: 9/10

Graphics: 9/10

Beautiful graphics during a cutscene.

Characters: from 3/10-9/10 depending on you 

Overall: 8.3/10

Hours to complete: 15-25

Fallout 3

The Good: It’s pretty good.  I mean there is really not much to it, but its pretty goo…..ha, no.  This game is epically huge, amazingly in depth and in the running as my favorite game of all time.  There is a main story that is pretty good and will consume quite a few hours of your life, but the reason to buy this game lies in the sidequests that are aplenty and many are much more challenging and fun than the main quest.  The world this game takes place in IS the best part however.  It is set in post nuclear war Washington D.C. and if you would like you could go and vist the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial or the Washington Monument.

Only part of the ridiculously huge map this game takes place in.

When you first get into the world itself (I say this because the game starts with you literally being born, and snapshots of you growing up) you will want to just walk around and look at all this amazing scenery.  The detail that was put into the most trivial thing makes simply wandering around and searching for things more fun than it has been in any other game I have played.  The characters are good, some are forgettable and many you will only talk to once or twice, but everyone has a voice and a personality, which is nice, keeps the game interesting.

Possibly your new best friend, Fawkes.

Another positive for this game is the karma system, if you do bad things certain people don’t like you as much and if you do good things certain people are more willing to talk to you.  On the flip side, if you have bad karma you can get mercenaries and such to join you.  Now, on to the battle system, there is a VATS system in place where you can find an enemy and a percentage is given whether you will hit that enemy and then you use your AP to fire as many shots as wished.  This can seem kind of cheap at times, but the main things VATS can be used for is finding enemies, which is hard, because it is dark, but more on that later.  I don’t want to say this game is realistic, but it does have some very realistic qualities.  For example, if you shoot someone and there family or town sees you or finds out they will come after you, and probably kill you because no matter how good you get at this game a horde of people will probably end you.   Also if you try to steal something and someone sees you, they get mad.  An unrealistic factor is the very common if you go through a certain doors the enemy you were just in a huge firefight with will just kind of forget about you.  Or if you holster your weapon they might just forget that you previously tried to ruthlessly murder them.

You, The "Lone Wanderer" shooting a feral ghoul.

There is so much more good about this game, from the variety of enemies, to the variety of weapons, to the fact your guns can break if over used.  Also you can search anywhere and find things, I mean anywhere, boxes, toolboxes, garbage cans, bags, it is so fun to just walk around and search.

A look at your Pipboy, which is your menu, flashlight and VATS system

The Bad:  The bad, okay, there is one looming bad thing about this game that does get irritating and will effect your gameplay experience.  It is too damn dark.  Often you will not be able to see the door that is 3 feet in front of you.  And they give you a light, but it hardly does the job.  Sometimes all it does is make your ammo-less shotgun brighter.  And in some darkness it barely does that, its like it’s Advanced Darkness (name that show?).  The battle system also is a little clunky at time, and I sometimes found that if there was too much going on a one time, the game would be very slow, and unreactive.  This is an issue when you are in the middle of a firefight and need health badly, and you can’t get to the menu so a super mutant hits you in the face with a sledgehammer.

The Overview:  Buy this game.  It is worth the money for simply seeing the world that Bethesda has created for you.  Just explore and kill some creatures look at everything if you don’t like the actual game.  But if you like shooters, scenery, your Xbox, radiation, mutants, guns or well, video games I would highly recommend this game to you.

Gameplay: 8.5/10

Controls: 9/10

Graphics: 9.5/10

A look at typical fallout 3 Graphics

Characters: 9/10

(Special category) Environment: 10/10

Overall 9.6/10

Hours to complete: main story:  15-20

Completely finish: 40-60

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 Logo

The Good: Left 4 Dead 2, by Valve is the sequel to, shocker, Left 4 Dead. Like in all of my reviews, I am going to review the single player because that is what is most important to me.  It is very obvious that they made this game because the first game was so popular and people wanted more of the similar.  Now, that said, this is a great shooter, there are tons of weapons to choose from and the levels you go through are intense and fun, oh, and challenging, very challenging.  The best addition to this game is the extended amount of melee weapons, particularly, the chain saw.

The chainsaw that can F@#$ some zombies up

Never has it been so much fun standing at the top of a flight of stares and having zombies run at you then when you are holding a chain saw. Now, this game does add a bit of realism from the physics of the first game.  For example, when a zombie is running full speed at you, and you shoot them in the head, then slide a bit forward when falling instead of stopping dead, pun intended. Something from the first game they kept was before every campaign there is a movie poster for what you are about to do, with a cheesy Tagline.

Good Stuff.

As I said in my first review, the thing about these games that keep them really fun and feeling new are the special zombies.  Valve must have gotten that hint after the first one because there is even more specials in 2 than in 1.  Now there are the charger, jockey and spitter as well as all the ones from the first game.  The charger is crazy and will run at you and literally knock you back 100 feet and then pick you up and bash your already dead body against the pavement a few times.  Bit sadistic, but it is kinda fun to watch it all happen.

The charger that will be the cause of that rumble that means your DOOM

Another really good part to this game, there are four new characters all of which are cool, but definitely Ellis is the coolest.  He will tell stories about things that have happened to him and they are pretty funny.  Just saying, listen when the characters talk, it can be quite funny and actually makes you care, at least a little, about there personality.

The Characters: Nick, Rochelle, Coach, and Ellis

I really do have to say that this game is just as fun if not more fun than the first one to just have a good time running and gunning down the endless undead.

The Bad: The bad about this game is that is that it was made as a sequel.  This is not to say that someone who has never played the first one will not be able to play this one, but for some reason, and maybe it is just because I suck at it, this one seems far more difficult than the first one.  It is as if they needed an even harder difficulty setting than the first one offered so they just upped the difficulty on every level here.  Now, I would like to point out that this does not really take away from the fun of the game, it is just annoying when you can;t seem to get past one point for a few tries.

The Overview:  This game is very similar to the first one in many aspects except greatly improved in the physics and the variety of special infected, oh and the melee weapons, and the characters.  So, it sounds like ti has been improved in every way right? Well, many would say that is true, but I disagree because they made this game assuming you played the first game and you are already at least semi-pro at it.  It is just frustratingly hard at times.  I mean, there will times where it seems like these zombies must have worked for the special forces in the United States Marines during life because they will seem to have an onslaught of regular zombies to where you dow, followed by a charger smacking you back 100 feet than a jockey jumping on your head, and guess what? you killed them all!! Better hurry though, health is low, but your okay. Congratulations, get into the safe room.  WAIT, son of a bitch there is a tank hiding out of sight, inside the safe room ready to give you a swift punch to cranium destroying your dreams and brain matter.

Gameplay: 9/10

Graphics: 9.5/10

Typical gameplay graphics

Characters: 8/10

Controls: 9/10

Story: 7/10

(important special category)

Difficulty: 5/10

Overall: 8.7/10

Video Of the Gmaeplay in L4D2

Assassin’s Creed

Some Screenshots
Achievement Guide

Author: Christopher F. Weaver

Ubisoft stepped into a real gold mine when they came out with this highly anticipated game. Assassins Creed is an action game with some stealth-ish qualities mixed in. It focuses on Altair, an elite member of a league of assassins who, through his pride and disregard for the ways of his brotherhood, has fallen from his place as a leader, to that of an initiate.

The Assassin Altair

This works rather well for guiding the player into the controls as well as giving incentives to carry on in the game, but they did buy into the all too common habit of giving you a taste of what your character can do and then stripping you of your abilities. As aggravating as this is you will quickly be wrapped up in an in depth plot of intrigue and a beautifully immense scenery. The detail of buildings and historical events described and seen in the game really is a testament to the amount of work the people at Ubisoft have put into this game.

The amazing scenery in Assassin's Creed

The ending is kind of ruined. There is a science fiction aspect which the game attempts to intertwine into the plot, but it is left as an undertone; that is until the end. The writers seem to erupt like the Campos Novo damn with the scifi plot which would probably have been confusing had it been present in the plot for the entire game

As far as gameplay is concerned, this game has some definite pro and con factors. The free running aspect and the combat system are outstanding.

Altair Climbing a Building

Between timing attacks with deflections and taking on multiples enemies at once, battles (especially finishing moves) leave you with a sense of satisfaction that don’t normally come from games with only one attack button. Assassinations are really entertaining as well watching Altair slide his iconic hidden blade into an unwitting targets back has a certain level of bloodlust like excitement to it.

An Assassination in Progress!!

Your ability to run and climb through almost every inch of the cities you visit really makes you feel like you’ve got control of the game flow. And it gives variety to the path you take to get to your targets. The fact that there are more than one way to execute an assassination (shameless word play) really makes the game shine.

Sadly the game had more than just one weak point. The incredibly repetitive investigations missions you had to complete before every actual assassination utilized the outstanding landscape well, but became aggravating after you had killed your ninth target on behalf of another assassin in exchange for information. On a side note, these assassins you are helping out have some of the lamest excuses I’ve ever heard (i.e. I sprained my ankle!). The level of complexity on these side missions doesn’t improve at all. By the time you reach the final level the only addition to the challenge is another guard, if you’re lucky. The AI are irritating as well. You aren’t allowed to pass through the streets at more than a casual saunter without the guards charging you like an abusive husband after two beers and a losing lottery ticket. Riding a horse through anywhere but open countryside isn’t worth attempting either because by the time you are moving slow enough to keep the guards from being suspicious you might as well get off and walk.

Over all Assassins Creed is a solid game with an in depth and entertaining story. It has flaws but nothing that would ruin the game.

Gameplay: 7.0/10

Controls: 9.0/10

Story: 7.5/10

Characters: 8.5/10

Graphics: 9.0/10

Assassin;s Creed Gameplay graphics

Overall: 8.0

Hours to Complete: 20-30

Sequel: Assassin’s Creed 2

Left 4 Dead

Some Screenshots
Achievement Guide

The Good: This game is a run and gun shooter with virtually no story, and immense amounts of violence.  The characters are not developed too well, there’s  very little to go off of, but you know what? This game makes it work, and Valve has yet again made an absolutely amazing game.  In the single player campaign (which is the most important thing for me) you become 1 of 4 characters, all of which are effectively the same from a gameplay perspective.

The Characters: Bill, Zoey, Louis, and Francis

You start in a safe room with a plethora of weapons (WOOOO Shotgun!!!!),  some health, and maybe a pipe bomb or something like that.  The best part about the safe rooms are definitely the stuff written all over the walls.  I highly recommend taking the time to read all of the scribbles on the wall, they are interesting story wise, can give hints for what is ahead, and are often quite funny.

Some of the writing on the walls

After you leave the safe room there is an all out utter zombie apocalypse ready to literally eat your face off.  Big fun right? Yes, yes it is.

Face eating Zombies!!!

Once you are out there will be lots of zombies that want to play and are just normal, shoot them and they die, but there are other “special” infected. These consists of hunters, smokers, witches, boomers, and tanks.

A boomer, be careful, they explode when shot and attract the horde.

These special infected make things feel more varied and when one of the specials get a hold on you, your AI partners will be your new best friends.  That brings me onto something else, the AI is great, they don’t get in the way much, and at least a couple of times they will save your ass.  They get mad when you shoot them though, and it is to your disadvantage to shoot them….just saying, I did it, alot, and then I died…   Okay, the difficulty level for any game like this is very important and well, frankly, you set that to whatever you want.  Ease is well, very easy, and Expert…..takes an expert.  The graphics for this game are pretty, they are nothing ground breaking, but they are fun to look at more often than not.

Crazy Zombie Attack cutscene

The Bad:  The bad about this game is that it is really not varied much.  The same strategy will work for pretty much everything.  Not to mention, it is short.  For the single player mode there are only 4 campaigns with 5 levels in each.  many of these can be completed rather quickly and on the first try.  This is a nit-picking problem though because to be honest you will want to play most, if not all, levels more than once.  A bad thing about the AI is that sometimes you have a task you need to get done and it would be better if it was done quickly and they just will not come with you.  You might think it is no big deal, but if a special gets a good hold on you, you NEED a teammate to help you.

Overview:  Okay, overview for this game has pretty much already been stated.  There is very little story, little character development, not much variety, but IT DOES NOT MATTER.  This game is fun, period.  It is a run and gun with the right amount of difficulty and the right selection of weapons.   None of characters are annoying and the zombies are varied and incredibly fun to kill. Bottom line, if you want an in depth gaming experience, pass, if you want an incredibly fun and intense game, Buy it. Trust me, this is one fun End of the World.

Gameplay: 9.8

Controls: 9.0

Story: 6.5

Characters: 7.0

Graphics: 8.8

A look at regular gameplay graphics

Overall: 8.9

Sequel: Left 4 Dead 2

No More Heroes

No More Heroes Screenshots!!

A No More Heroes Logo

The Good:  BLOOD!!!  Okay, that was just kind of a starter to show what the majority of the game entails, but besides that the game revolves around an aspiring assassin named Travis Touchdown.  He is a great character (check out my top lists) with a lot more depth than you might think for a game like this.  There are secondary main characters such as Sylvia, who feminists would HATE.  Speaking of Sylvia though, a very nice touch for the game is when Sylvia calls you to tell you about a battle, you listen to it out of your wii remote, like a cell phone.  I liked it, I thought it was quite inventive and very fun.  Anyway, you start ranked number 11 in the UAA (United Assassins Association) and work your way up to number 1.  Along the way you run into boss battles that involve characters that you will never EVER forget.

A look at the Travis and some of the bosses

This makes the story never boring and makes the game a lot more fun to play.  In between these boss battles there are tasks that must be performed in order to earn money, which will be used as an entry fee into the next battle.  These tasks seem boring, like making food, or mowing lawns, but these are quite fun and occasionally quite challenging.  Also in between boss battles there are assassination missions which are incredibly fun, but that kinda goes with out saying, what with the beam katana.

A fight scene with a headless guy...and BLOOD!!!

This game does controls by button mashing and then to do power ups and finishing moves you move the wii remote to correspond to the motions shown on the screen.  This is pretty cool, but gets repetitive.  The graphics in this game are not stunning in the usual way, but they are very well done.  They work well and look good for the setting, which is a city called Santa Destroy (clever, I know). The story for this game is great by the way, great twists and homages to classic media.  Oh and Gene is important, and look for connections within the characters, they are aplenty and are interesting enough to keep you attentive.

Travis, "powering up his sword" little sex joke within the game

The Bad: The bad about this game for me lies almost completely in the monotony you tend to get into after a while.  Everything is fun, but the things that were crazy fun in the beginning get to be only kinda fun by the middle and by the end just sort of boring.  The fighting system is really just swing, swing, swing, finish move or power up, swing.  The massive amount of blood and interesting characters help, but this was a game that I was not too sad about beating.  Once I finished, I was a little glad I was done.

Overview:  This game has fantastic gameplay and even better characters and story.  That being said, there needs to be more to the game itself.  Suda 51 (the developers) have an idea with great potential, but this one is not quite there yet.  No More Heroes 2 will be amazing if they keep the good elements of this one and just add a little variety and freshness in the middle and then mix it all up.

Gameplay: 8.5/10

Controls: 8.5/10

Characters: 9/10

Story: 9.5/10

Graphics 8/10

Regular graphics in the city

(Special category) Continuing enjoyment: 6.5/10

Replay Value: 7.5/10

Overall: 8.6/10

No more Heroes 2 trailer

The sequel is out now, but here’s just a look at the E3 trailer and what it will look like.

Final Fantasy X

Some Screenshots You Might Enjoy

The Final Fantasy X logo

The Good:  This was the first Final fantasy game I ever played and going into it I had never heard of Final Fantasy or anything about it.  The first thing that captured me after only playing for 15 minutes or so was the beautiful graphics.  It was amazing.  They just looked perfect, very clean and vivid, but not trying too hard to look like real people. Okay, more on that later.

Graphics during regular gameplay

The gameplay for this game is pretty typical Final Fantasy out side of the battle system.  There are random battles that pop up, there are bosses that vary in difficulty and strategy. This is all good, and the game does it well, but it is nothing special.  The first special thing about the gameplay was the innovativeness of the sphere guide.  This is probably the best leveling up system for any Final Fantasy game, even to this day.

A look at Lulu’s sphere grid

Now, lets talk about the story.  It is really good, it is, however it seems like SquareSoft tried a bit too hard to be deep.  It is okay though, no worries about the story line.  There is never a moment where you are thinking “well, that was unnecessary, a bit moving, but when do I get to kill more things?”.  The game’s story does get in the way of the fun.  The story is based on a pilgrimage, which is cool because its different a bit from other FF games.     There are 2 very good characters in this game and anyone who has played this game will probably agree.  They are Yuna and Auron.  Yuna is a good character because she is likable and VERY useful in this game.  The most useful character later.  Trust me, you lose her for a while and the game gets SO MUCH HARDER.  She does have a bit of an advantage…what with the monopoly on the summoning powers.  The other cool character, Auron, well, he is badass in the first 5 minutes of the game and still badass in the last 5  minutes of the game.  I want to grow up and be Auron, sweet scar included.

Top: Rikku, Kimahri, Auron…..Bottom: Wakka, Yuna, Tidus, Lulu

Okay, back to the graphics, particularly during cutscenes.  They. Are. Beautiful.  There are some cutscenes in this game that will leave your mouth agape they are so good looking.  The characters are all flawless looking in the cutscenes.  A touch more about graphics is that if you equip a new weapon to a character it actually changes during a battle scene and some of them look really cool.  While we are on the topic of the battle system, you all all 7 people (once you get them all) available for every battle.  You only have 3 actually fighting at 1 time, but you can switch between all of them and that makes the battles fun, and very intuitive.

Wat the battle system looks like

Okay, last thing and the best thing.  Once you beat Yunalesca (Bitch!! as I like to call her) you get the airship and you can go to the training center.  This is where the challenge lies, capturing all of the enemies and fighting the new creations from the trainer…..wow, just wow.

The Bad: There is some bad to this game.  First of all, the main storyline is pretty easy.  You will run into a few bumps along the way, but for the most part, if you are smart, there should be few problems.  Like I said though the real challenge lies in the training arena.  The other problem with this game is sometimes the cutscenes are WAYYY too long.  I mean they can be several minutes and there is no way to skip them.  This is especially annoying when there is a cutscene before a boss fight…and then you lose the boss fight.  You have to immediately go and watch the exact same 4 minute cutscene again. Boo you Seymour.  The only other negative I have is, there are some characters that are pretty useless in battle after a point….ahem, Kimahri and Lulu.

The Overview:  If you have never played a Final Fantasy game, or even an RPG in General then I absolutely recommend this one as your first.  It is easy to get into, easy to understand all aspects of the gameplay and the story can really suck you in if you pay attention.  The negatives of this game are more of an annoyance than a hindrance to the game.  Bottom line: play it, play it now.

Controls: 9/10

Gameplay: 9.5/10

Characters: 8/10

Graphics: 10/10

Graphics during a cutscene

Story: 8.7/10

Hours to complete: 15-20 (main story line

40+ (to beat Gold nemesis)

Overall: 9.5/10

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