Hλlf life 2

Some Screebshots
Achievement Guide

Front of Half life 2

The good:  Okay, I can say that I started this game not really knowing a thing about it.  This sounds crazy because this is considered to be one of the best games of all time.  Anyway, this game is fantastic.  The great game to end all games everyone said it was?!?!?!? No.  Now, that said, the shooting mechanism in this game is one of the best I have ever played.  Also, the way you toggle between guns is very smooth and solid.  I have to say that the very best thing about this game is the MASSIVE amount of variety throughout the game.  There is a variety of weapons that span all over the board.

Gravity gun from Half Life 2 holding a buzz saw blade

There is the standard pistol and shotgun of course, but there is also the gravity gun, the crossbow that fires what look like lava arrows, the pulse rifle and a ball that calls forth an army of antlions.  Now, I have to take a moment and say having an antlion army is great.  Unfortunately though, you may accidentally shotgun a few in the face, but hey, it happens.

A view of someone you will have a hate/love relationship with throughout the game

Okay, back to the review.  The enemies in this game are not very…varied, I don’t like way that sounded.  Oh well, but there not.  Theres only a few and a couple are irritating.  Like the head humpers, which are terrible, like being punched in the face repeatedly with a boxing glove made of sand paper. Now, the game does do a good job of mixing enemies though.  There was not wave after wave of the same enemy, but instead many different enemies coming at you at once.  Okay, the graphics are good, they are not spectacular, but serve their purpose.  The flashlight is very useful and looks good.  There are some epic fights throughout this game, and I mean you have a huge disadvantage in a few, and by a few, I mean ALL OF THEM.  Now, the characters are nit very in depth, the story and places are more important than the actual characters.  Normally this would be an issue, but this game actually makes it work.

The Bad:  The bad about this game was only in certain parts.  Some parts of this game were truly perfect for me.  Fun, challenging, and very well done.  There are moments when there are truly too many enemies at one time to where challenging jumps over that line to “screw this game if I die because I don’t wan’t to do this again”.  Besides that though, the biggest problem in the game, the only part of the game was truly bad in my opinion was the controls for that god forsaken air boat.  These controls, for me, were truly bad.

EVIL STRIDERS!!!!

The overview:  This game is great.  If you like shooters then this game will be great for you.  It is varied, and extremely fun.  Everything about this game is solid, which is hard for me to say because I hate saying that a game does not have any big problems and so far in my gaming career only 2 ever have.  Both made by Valve…. Anyway, play it, enjoy it.  Check out my lists to see what I think about the smaller aspects involved in this game.

Story: 8/10

Gameplay: 9.8/10

Controls: 8.5/10

Characters: 8/10

Graphics: 9/10

View of graphics during regular gameplay

Overall: 9.6/10

Hours to complete: 12-20 hours

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Mirror’s Edge

Some Screenshots
Achievement Guide

The cover of Mirror's Edge

The Good:  The good about this game lies in its’ concept.  It is an open environment with very innovative game mechanics.  This is a first person shooter, adventure game with freerunning  and Parkour aspects.  SHAMELESS PLUG, check this out for more a video of some awesome parkour.  Okay anyway back to the game.  The gameplay for this game is really a first with the parkour aspects and the fact that the camera follows movements far more directly than any other game.  To view this better see this video.

The revolves around a young girl named Faith, who is a “runner” in a dystopian society (that is very clean).

A picture of Faith

A view of the VERY clean city

The runners deliver packages and the police do not like that.   The story within this game is pretty good, the problem lies elsewhere, but I will talk about that later.  The graphics are beautiful in this game, gleaming and frankly it is just fun to watch Faith do some of the moves.  The controls to do these moves are great, very easy and fun.

The Bad: The bad about this game lies in the back story and the fact that this game does not explain anything about the society you are in or why it is the way it is.  The cutscenes are not that great either.  They are animated scenes instead of the way the game looks normally.  It looks artistic and all, but not really my favorite part.  Now the controls are also lacking for me.  They work, but they are not smooth.

A view of Mirror's Edge during a cutscene

Overview: In other words, to summarize this entire review the game concept is amazing and much of it is solid, but I really think Mirror’s Edge 2 or 3 will be freaking amazing, giving the development team some time to work out the kinks and smooth over things such as storyline and character development.

Characters: 7/10

Gameplay: 8.5/10

Storyline: 7/10

Controls: 8/10

Graphics: 9/10

Gameplay Graphics

CONCEPT: 10/10

Overall: 8/10

Hours to complete: 5-7

New Super Mario Brothers!

Mario Bros. Screenshots

The Good: This game is an update to the old school, side-scrolling Mario games.  It turns out that Mario has aged very well because this game is great.  Now up to 4 players can play on the same screen on any level.  This makes the game hectic and very fun whether you are trying to help each other and beat each other. Player 1 must play as Mario, but other players can choose to either be Luigi or a toad, shaded in various different colors.  And there are 2 new suits for Mario, the penguin suit and the propeller suit.  The penguin suit is really just a glorified ice power, but the propeller suit…Most. Useful. Suit. Ever.

A view of the propeller suit!

On a more technical note the graphics are quite good, very clean, very Mario.  Well done and do not get in the way, but still make the world look beautiful.   You guessed the storyline I’m sure.  Bowser captured Princess Peach…. NOOOOOOOO!.  Okay, anyway, you have to fight through 8 worlds to reach Bowser at the finale and defeat him to get the princess.  On a side note, this final Bowser battle is great.  It is different from all other battles in the game and very challenging/fun.  That is the main game, but doesn’t speak to how fun the journey is to get there.

A picture of all the Bowsers

A piece newly added to this is the Star Coins added in each level (3 in each).  These are challenges placed in each level in order to unlock star worlds.  In order to unlock a star world you have get every star coin in the corresponding world. This means there are 8 star worlds and each one corresponds to a world you had to play through to get to Bowser.  Get all star coins in world one and unlock star world 1.  The Star Coins are very challenging, VERY challenging.  Now, they are fun, but sometimes it seems so impossible, like trying to build the Empire State Building out of LEGOs, somebody probably can, but they spent way too much time trying and now lost all semblance of social skills.  But, when do get them…..oh the satisfaction!!

Mario about to get a Star Coin

The last thing, which is also a new feature, is the ability for a player to “bubble” in which you cannot be harmed and the other players can pop you in order to bring you back into action.   This is very useful when you are in multiplayer and certain sections are just easier with one person or when you are a moment from death bubbling can be very economical.

Couldn't find a good picture of mario in a bubble, but heres a soap bubble

The Bad: When there is more than 1 person on the screen at a time, you have to stay together or one of you will get pulled along, and probably directly into a fire.  The multiplayer is great, this is true, but it has some innate flaws like the fact that you will kill the person you’re playing with even if you don’t mean to.  This will cause a lot of unnecessary death and annoyance.  Speaking of annoyance, some levels are just that.  I appreciate a challenge, I really do, I think they make games, but this game pushes the line (and occasionally passes it) of being irritatingly difficult over just challenging.  Last negative aspect is the controls for me.  Only a small problem but sometimes you will “bubble” when you don’t mean to (the A button to bubble) because your finger will slip.  This is a bit agitating.

Overview:  If you have a Wii and you like Mario (and what Wii owner doesn’t?) then this is a great game for you.  It is the second best Mario game for the Wii (see This for that review).  But if you like old school Mario definitely pick this up.  And make sure you have a friend to play with in order to get the full experience.  Also, do not go in thinking you are going to be good just because you were good at the old ones.  It’s different, but equally as fun.

Gameplay: 8/10

Controls: 7/10

Graphics: 9/10

Scrrenshot of regular graphics during gameplay

Characters: 8.5/10

Extras: 9.8/10

Overall: 9.2/10

Hours to complete: 10-15

(Including star coins and star world 20+)

A look at a trailer giving a good display of gameplay throughout the game including the propeller and penguin suits.

Chrono Cross

Check out some Screenshots

The front of Chrono Cross for Playstation 1

The Good: There are so many characters in this game it is mind-boggling. This is a good thing because if there is a character that annoys you or one that is not your fighting style, doesn’t matter, there is lots more to choose from. To be exact there is 45 playable characters to choose from. That is enormous for any game, much less an RPG. The story for this game is pretty good. It is very clear in the beginning where the story is going and why you must go to certain places, but later on it becomes unclear. Now, in order to redeem the story, it is very interesting to learn how the main character, Serge, and the ultimate evil, Lynx, are connected. Now to clarify, There are a couple main characters, but for battle sake there are 45 characters. The main characters are Serge and Kid, who for the record are great characters.

The main character, Serge

The second main character, Kid

The ultimate evil, Lynx

You are not required to get the all of the characters, which is another positive to this because this raises the replay value, a ton. The battle system for this game is probably one you have never seen before. There a percentage beside each physical attack you can choose from, and the stronger the attack the lower the percentage you will connect with the hit. You get several swings per turn, but the percentages change for each swing getting progressively better for each connected.The graphics are solid especially during cutscenes. This is a Playstation 1 game, so the graphics are not amazing, but they are solid, even during battle and actual gameplay.

The Bad: The bad in this game is that finding what you need or what to do can be very irritating. There are 2 worlds, that are identical physically, but follow a different timeline. This means that if you need to find something you have 2 worlds to look through. Also since there are so many characters there are a lot of people you may have to talk to before you figure out the path that you need to take. There are no random battles. All enemies can be seen, and most can be avoided if you really want to. A bad aspect is the armor and equipment mechanism. It is complicated and not very helpful. Picking a weapon and sticking with it will save you some time and not hurt you at all.

The Overview: This is a game made by the same people who make Final Fantasy and it absolutely lives up to the legacy that Final Fantasy has set down. It has an interesting story, good characters, amazing replay value (seriously you can never play this game the same way twice), and the graphics are solid. You will enjoy this game to the fullest if you are willing to explore, and really let this world live up to its’ potential. Oh, also it has a great villain, Lynx, who is very good at what he does.

Gameplay (Battle system): 8/10

A typical view of a battle

Controls: 8/10

Characters: 7.5/10

All 45 playable characters

Graphics: 8.5/10

Screenshot from a cutscene

Replay Value: 10/10

Overall: 8.5/10

Hours to complete: 20+

Final Fantasy VII

Some Screenshots

The front of Final Fantasy VII for PS1

The Good: The good about this game is very well known.  This is the most famous Final Fantasy game and, to many, one of the greatest games of all time.  I can agree that it is a great game with an intricate story and lots of extras.  The downside for me in this game is the characters, but more on that later.  The good of this game is aplenty.  The “Materia” system of learning abilities is very innovative and fun, and has more to it than just  the “gain experience, get abilities, rinse and repeat” way.  The story really has everything: an epic enemy (Sephiroth), an evil corporation (Shinra), moral struggle, questions of good and evil, and of course lots of killing.  This is includes one of the most surprising moments in video game history to me, when ****SPOILER**** Aerith, a main character is killed by Sephiroth, and not regular killed in an RPG where you can revive, I mean dead, never coming back. *****END SPOILER****

The graphics of this game are good for 2001.  I mean the cutscenes are very pretty and the graphics never get in the way of the game.  There is alot of reading because there are no voices, but it never noticeably gets in the way.  Now, a great part of this game is the extras.  The chocobo breeding is very fun, as well as the racing.  Also there are many, MANY, summons that are obtained outside of the main storyline.  Materia is the same, most is obtained by actual work, not just playing through the game.  This makes the game more in depth.

A look at all the characters of Final Fantasy VII

The Bad:  Okay, as you can see I have had lots good to say about this game.  And there is a lot good to say about it, but I do have to address my one issue with it.  The characters are just not that interesting and therefore difficult to get into.  The story is in depth, but I find that I am just playing the game to find out what happens at the end, not in order to defeat something and to see a certain outcome.  This is a bad thing.  This is the reason why I have played most Final Fantasy multiple times, but this one only once.

Good look at the battle menu

The Overview:  Play this game.  Yes, I have my problems with it because characters are probably the most important thing in RPGs to me.  The turn based battle system is great, and the menu and leveling up mechanisms are great.  The story is in-depth and great.  Also there are serious twists and turns throughout and Cloud is pretty cool and has a bad ass sword. Just saying.

Gameplay: 9/10

Characters: 6/10

Storyline: 9.5/10

Graphics: 8.6/10

Graphics during regular gameplay.

Extras: 9.5/10

Replay Value: 5/10

Overall: 8.0/10

Hours to complete: 15-20 (main storyline)

25+ (compete game)

A look at a lot of Final Fantasy VII’s cutscenes (slow at first, start at about 1:00 into video).

Mario Party 8

Mario Party 8 Screenshots

Front of Mario Party 8

The Good:  Now, I know that there have been 8 Mario Party games, but this is the first one I have ever played.  So, what’s the good?  The sheer amount of mini-games available to play.  there are dozens of mini-games. Yes, some are MUCH better than others, but for the most part any mini-game that is chosen (and they are chosen randomly in single player and multiplayer, you can only choose the one you want in the tent where you can practice) will be very enjoyable.  The reward system: when you play mulitplayer you get cards (money), depending on how many turns the round was, if your playing single player you get cards at the end of the Star Tournament, which you must also win to unlock the 2 hidden characters.

A look at all the characters....

With the cards you can buy figurines, other mini-games and various other things at the shop.  Okay, the reason you buy Mario Party, the multiplayer.  It is fun and the more people, the more fun.  There are 6 boards to choose from, and they are all pretty good, but the Koopa one is the best, I think.  The Wii Remote adds to this game without a doubt.  The ability to use motion sensing during the mini-games makes them more intense and sometimes challenging, but the most important part is the motion forces you to get into it.  This is always a good thing.

The Bad: The bad in this game is, well, alot.  The single can be fun, but gets old especially since that is the best way to earn cards in order to get rewards.  The graphics are also another negative to this game, they are…okay.  They look like a last-gen console though.  This game would fit on the Gamecube without question, when it comes to looks.  There are not very many characters in this game either, only 14, and only 2 are locked at the beginning.  Okay, now what I think is the biggest negative in this game is the lack of online play.  This game would be hugely more fun if you could get online and mini-game with people from around the world and earn points and status, but it is simply missing.

The Overview: The overview for this game is simple.  If you have a couple friends and you all want to get into the game, it is very fun and worth it.  However, if you are looking for a game to sit down and play alone or single player matters or a game you can get obsessed with, pass.  There is just not enough to this game for it truly be fun for any single player.  This flaw could have remedied with online play as well, but since that is missing, I must give this game only a mediocre review.

Gameplay: 7.5/10

Controls: 6.5/10

Unlockables: 5/10

Graphics: 5.5/10

The look of a typical Mini-game

Overall: 7.0/10

Final Fantasy IX

Some Screenshots

Front of final Fantasy IX for PS1

The Good:  This was the second Final Fantasy game I played (FF X was first) and I have to say this is the one I got the most into.  The greatness of this game falls in its characters and its storyline.  It has in my opinion 2 of the best characters that have ever been in any Final Fantasy game….ever.  These two are Vivi and Princess Garnet (Dagger).  They are just both so likable and in depth.  The storyline behind Vivi is engrossing and absolutely brilliant.  Not to mention you cannot help but love this little guy, I mean he’s so cool.  And Princess Garnet, the only Final fantasy main girl who I actually really thought was worth saving (besides maybe Yuna).  She is dynamic in the way that she truly changes perspective throughout the game.  She goes from a snooty princess to an open, interesting character.

All of the Characters for FF IX (Vivi is in the hat)

Now, the story.  The story in this game is so deep, in the way that every facet of almost every character must be explored in order to truly grasp everything that is happening.  The character who you think is the ultimate evil turns out to be a pawn, the real ultimate evil is insane and wants to take the world with him if he has to go.  People on the evil side switch sides, theres political fighting between major cities.  It is intense.  Now, the graphics are quite solid, especially during cutscenes, then they are stunning.  The dialogue is good most of the time, couple awkward moments, and a few hilarious moments as well (oooh, soft).  The battle system is an ATB (Active Time Battle) system, which is nice, keeps you on your toes.  Also a nice extra is the card game, it is a fun side game and can keep you entertained.  Oh, and get good at it, you will need it later on.

A Look at a Typical Battle

The Bad: The bad in this game is relatively small.  There are a couple however.  There are times when parts of the game will feel like a chore and all you have to do is get passed them in order to play the game you actually want to.  Also FF IX likes to have you build up strength then separate the group or all of a sudden weapons are useless in order to weaken you simply to make things more challenging.  This can get irritating.  Also, there is an issue with a character.  The worst in any Final Fantasy in my opinion.  Thats right FF IX has the best and worst character.  The worst is Quina Quen.  I do not know what Squaresoft was thinking.  She or…he is really annoying, not that useful and simply irritating to the point you wish you could throw her out of your party at times.  A small bad thing also is that the summons are really not that cool or helpful.  They’re just kinda there and sometimes help, but swords and black magic are really your best friends in this one.

Overview: This is a fun RPG.  Like I said this is the one I got the most into out of any Final Fantasy.  The story is in depth and the characters are innovative and dynamic.  The Battle system is good, but there are annoying parts but you can easily get passed them without a problem.  The bottom line is: If you are looking for a game to play in order to get into, explore and become immersed in then this is for you.  If you want one with fine tuned gameplay mechanics and stunning graphics and flashy attacks, you might want to pass.

Story 10/10

Characters: 9/10 (took away a point due to Quina)

Gameplay: 7.8/10

Controls: 8.4/10

Graphics: 9/10

Cutscene graphics, absolutely beautiful

To view a cutscene in all its glory look at this

Replay Value: 8.2/10

Overall: 8.5/10

Hours to Complete: 25+ for 100% completion

Things you should know about:

—The 4 best people to have in your party, (when possible) are Zidane, Steiner, Vivi and Garnet

—If you get to Memoria in less than 12 hours then you will get Excalibur II, the best sword in the game.

—When there is a time limit, go quick, you will die if you don’t do it in time.

—Train all members until you reach the part where they get separated, after that, it does not matter.