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Total Reviews: 7
Average Overall Score Given: 8.85714 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

Reviews
Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind

Overall: This game is most definitely a ground breaker. If you enjoy RPG gaming this is currently the biggest and best overall experience you are going to get on a console. It's a game that will last you months. I have sat down and poured over 100 hours into the game already (yes - 100+!) and have not even started the first 'main' quest of the game! There is just so much to see and do in the game you can wander around almost forever doing side quests, treasure hunting and just wandering.

While the game itself has some techincal shortcomings, it should not distract the player from what the overall package represents.

This is a must buy for any RPG fan.

Gameplay: The gameplay itself is very straight forward. You begin the game as a slave aboard a slave ship that docks on a massive island (and I mean MASSIVE!) and after the opening sequence you are cut loose on the world with a few vague instructions on where to go next. What you do from here is completely up to you. Morrowind is a game all about freedom of choice, you can do what ever you want to and be whom ever you want to be. It's this level of freedom that will strongly appeal to some players and annoy others. From a person who loves the concept of the 'open ended' RPG, you will never find a better offering of such a game on a console anywhere. With nearly half a million different items to pick up, literally hundreds of dungeons to explore and thousands of NPCs to interact with, you will be playing this game for a long time... a very long time.

The game itself does require patience early on with your character starting out quite weak and poor. But as long as you stick with it you will be able to develop a character that will be able to do amazing things in this fantasy world. The more time you put into this game, the more you will get out of it.

Quite simply, the current pinnacle of RPG gaming on any modern console.

Graphics: In developing such a rich and characterful world Berthseda have thrown a lot of effort into developing it. It's teeming with NPCs, Cities, Monsters and Dungeons that will leave you gawking where ever you go.

That said, I feel the graphics do not push the Xbox to it's absolute limits and especially when their's water or rain on the screen, you can actually get a little slowdown and stutter. It's noticable, but not distracting.

The water effects you will no doubt hear over and over again. They nailed it without a doubt, by far the most realistic water effects on any game, any system bar none.

The graphics in Morrowind are fantastic, but they are not it's strongest point. Quite servicable, but could have been even better considering what other games out on the system seem to be able to do without any slowdowns.

Audio: The soundtrack does not really make major inroads into the game experience but it's definitely fitting for the game.

The effects from monsters and characters can get a little repetitive at times, but with 30,000+ characters, this is understandable they'd reuse some of them.

The music in places like dungeons is very well done, adding an extremely creepy atmosphere to exploring some of these dark places.

The sound effects for weather is excellent too, the thunder storms being outstanding.

Suggestions: - The finance system of the game needs addressing. Once you get to a certain level, you can get anything you like in the game just by buying it.

- The chance to build your own home would be excellent. It's a shame to have to kill someone and steal theirs ;)

- A little more work with the graphics would be great. The ability to see to the horizon would certainly remove the somewhat clostrophobic feeling you get outdoors with the fogging.

- Bigger and more challenging dungeons would be better than more numerous ones. Include traps and work a little more with the interior of these structures. People will want to spend a lot of time exploring these places and they should look a little more appealing than they currently do.

- More monster variety. From what I can tell there's only about 20 different monsters in the game. How about BIG monsters too? Dragons terrorising the countryside etc? Not all monsters should necessarily be hostile either. Wild animals should only attack if provoked etc.

- Get to work on Morrowind II ASAP!!!

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Overall: To put it simply, this game is a system seller. It really takes the Xbox hardware by the scruff of the neck and creates a game that's so addictive and atmospheric you'll find it very difficult to stop playing it until you complete it. Everything about this game oozes appeal and quality and quite frankly, it's the first game that really takes the Xbox beyond Halo. Big call, but if you get the chance to play the game you'll understand what I mean right away. This game is incredible and easily the best game written for the Xbox to date. Think Metal Gear Solid on steroids and you're not even close. Yep, it's THAT good. It's a must buy, no questions asked.

Gameplay: The gameplay in this title is second to none. When you take control of Sam Fisher you really get caught up in the atmosphere of the game. He doesn't feel like just another character, you really know this guy is a spec ops killing machine right from the get go. The atmosphere in this game is stunning and if you like to take some time to soak in the atmosphere and explore as you go, this game really promotes it in a big way! Are you going to be playing this game in six month from now? Oh my god YES! They are even planning extra levels to download for free over Xbox Live. That in itself will make it a must have title for years to come. A true ground breaker and a complete pleasure to play.

Graphics: The graphics in this game are the best on the Xbox so far without a doubt. The real time shadows and lighting make the environment feel so realistic you just can't put the !&%$@#* thing down! The graphics look awesome and the animation on Sam himself is mind blowing. When you want to show your buddies how much better the Xbox is over the competition, haul out this game and be ready for the oohs and aahs. It's a visual feast.

Audio: The Sound is probably the 'weakest' aspect of the game (if it really has one) unless you have a large surround sound theatre system or the like. The astmospheric effects are amazing without a doubt and whilst it doesn't really sport a sound track you're going to want to own on CD for the car, this style of game doesn't really warrant it anyway. For what it is, the sound matches the game wonderfully well.

Suggestions: Get to work on Splinter Cell 2 gents. This game deserves it and then some.

While you're at it, have a glass of champagne for me - this game is a ground breaking success and you have earned it.

Five stars, highest rating I can give, and job wonderfully well done.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Sega GT 2002

Overall: This game is superb! It can be tricky when you are starting out with the lower cars, but after some races and more cash in the bank you can start upgrading and that's where the fun really begins.

The cars are realistic and drive wonderfully well. If you are a seasoned race sim vet you're going to feel right at home with this game right away. It basically delivers in the areas Project Gotham couldn't. Put away your tedious Kudos tests folks, this game is about RACING!

Excellent long term appeal and if you are a fan of the genre you'd do well to check this game out. I highly recommend you take more than a 5 minute test drive before making up your mind because once you get into it, this is addiction city. There's always just one more car or one more part to get and next thing you know it's 4 in the morning.

An extremely playable driving sim and arguably the best on the Xbox to date.

Gameplay: The first few stages of gameplay can be tricky for the novice. You start with only just enough money to buy a basic street car and you need to really work from there to make your money.

The racing is fast and furious and the cars handle very realistically which can be a good or bad thing, depending on what style of gameplay you like.

Whilst there are 'only' 125 cars in the game and 15 different tracks, the game has a surprising large amount of depth and you will still be still playing this game for months to come. You can race the main Sega GT Tournament Season or any number of 'event' races which range from mixed road races, maker specific races and even drag racing over the quarter mile. Brilliant stuff! For an added twist, the game also includes Chronical mode where you get to race through the ages from the 60s to present using only the cars of that era. If you are an older gamer like myself, the nostalgia value of this aspect of the game lends it some great appeal.

The ability to modify your machines from a suburban sleeper to a racing beast is there in abundance and whilst the game doesn't quite have as many tweaks as Grand Tourismo series, what it lacks in variety it certainly makes up for in quality.

This is a niche game. If you are a fan of Grand Tourismo style games you will love this for sure. It's sheer class and while a few small minor improvements could be made, they don't necessarily need to be there to make this a polished and completely playable driving simulation game.

Graphics: The graphics in the game are masterful to say the least. Whilst they may not push the Xbox to it's limits, they really look fantastic and you'll often be hitting walls early on as you gawk at the scenery. From floating blimps to the cameras flashing in the crowd as you scream by the game is all about atmosphere. Sure, it's a mere 15 tracks... but it's 15 very high quality tracks at that and you won't get bored with them any time soon, they really look superb!

The cars themselves are master pieces. They look so realistic driving around the track you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the real deal. The camera control on the replays rocks the house down and you can even save entire race replays to your hard disk for later playback! The replays scream to be watched and once you can sit back and relax, you'll notice the outstanding graphics for what they are.

The game also never misses a beat no matter what's happening on the screen. It's a smooth 60fps at all times. Magic.

Lastly, something must be said for the special effects. They really look amazing! From the heat shimmer on the road to the skid marks and dust and motion blur, the game really looks the part as you scream through it.

The only downer is the lack of actual visual car damage. The cars look as prestine as the day they left the showroom from start to finish no matter what you do to the cars, this is a shame.

Audio: The Sound is excellent. The cars all sound realistic and when you mod the car you can definitely hear the difference. Having a turbo kick in in a V8 is a truly satisfying experience! The Dolby pro does it's stuff nicely and if you are blessed with a rock hard surround sound system you are really in for a treat!

The background music sounds like stuff they made in house, with no recognizable tunes to hum along with like Project Gotham. Not a bad thing, but after PGR you tend to expect a little more from the background music.

But who cares when the action on the track sounds as good as this, eh?

Suggestions: Whilst the game is outstanding, there are some suggestions that could really make it 'king of the hill' for next time around :

- Get a visual damage model in place. You already have a damage indicator, why not go with the asthetics as well?

- Add some atmospheric conditions. Night racing, snow, rain. A varied environment to race on would be nice.

- Deepen the car pool. As an aussie I was ecstatic to see the Ford range, but noticed only a few of the cars there I was hoping to see. Some more research into overseas markets to see what cars they drive would definitely help the bottom line.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Project Gotham Racing

Overall: Overall Project Gotham represents a fantastic little racing game that's a proud launch title for the Xbox.

It really shows off some of the Xbox capabilities nicely and any racing fan should have it in their collection.

Gameplay: The gameplay on Project Gotham is varied admittedly.

The cars themselves are fantastic and the way they handle is quite realistic. They are extremely fun to drive and once you get used to the controller for steering you can perform some outrageous manouvers!

That said, some of the gameplay aspects are lacking :

The different modes of the game lack depth to be really fun on the long term. Whilst there are 16 races in the 'quick race' mode to pit you against the CPU cars, quite a lot of the game's advancement comes through other more exotic challenges with the car which got very hard very quickly. Actually 'racing' the car took up probably only 40% of the overall game and this will irk some people.

The second point is the CPU driven cars and their AI programming. On earlier levels their driving is pretty simple and straight forward but after the 2nd quick race level you will find the cars tend to get a LOT more aggressive. If you are leading the race their ability to control their cars under high speed suddenly jumps exponentially and rather than try and race you, they are more likely to speed up as you approach a corner and ram you instead. This is extremely frustrating on the last lap of a race, a couple turns from home to have the AI hit your car into a wall without any effort to stop for the corner so three of his buddies can slip through while you trying and right your car.

Graphics: The game's visuals are stunning. The graphics are top notch and the car damage is subtle, but nice. The cars look great and the replay mode is probably one of the best aspects of this game.

Whilst it's no Grand Tourismo, this game will almost demand you watch the replays after each race they look so !&%$@#* good!

Audio: The cars sound great and some of the tunes for the game are excellent pop music titles you have heard before. Sound is definitely a very strong point on this game.

Suggestions: The game has long last appeal, but does have a few niggles :

The AI on the harder stages suck ass. They don't race the line and the catch up mode sucks totally. It's obvious when you are putting in the same lap times over and over only to see cars you left for dead at the start of the race close in on you with quicker lap times every lap. Getting a lead of more than about 10 seconds on any stage is almost impossible...

The game spends far too much time on the Kudos aspect. People like to race, their should be more of it!

The cars are !&%$@#* nice, but the damage model sucks. It's fair and good to have scratches on a car, but if I hit a barrier at 200mph I expect more than to lose a headlight. There are no mechanical failures, retirements from crashes... anything! It essentially encourages you to push the car to the limit and to hell with hitting walls at extreme speeds.

The cars are amusing. I was able to win every Quick race in the default Mini ;-)

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: There's not much more to add to the 450+ reviews already posted on this game other than to note this is what's known in the industry as a console seller. The game is of high enough quality, that people will purchase the console itself, based just on this game.

This is not hype either, Halo is a definitive step forward in console gaming and quite arguably represents the best launch title ever created. You will play this game over and over, you will get friends to play with you over and over, you will be thinking about this game all the time you are not playing it - it's that good.

If you own an Xbox, you must own this game - no question.

Gameplay: The gameplay is staggering. It seems the guys at Bungie really knew their stuff about First Person Shooters and not since Half Life on the PC have I play a game that ropes you in quite as much. The controls are excellent, the plot is excellent - it will have you on the edge of your seat all the time wishing for more as each new step takes the plot in a different direction.

Halo is not a game - it's an experience.

Think the movie 'aliens' on steriods - that's the kind of atmosphere you get in this game and the effect will not wear off until you've played it through half a dozen times and more.

Graphics: For a launch title this game is breathtaking. The environments, the special effects, the beautiful smooth ploys and sexy textures make this game a tasty treat. Often you wish you could just go off mission for a little while to explore Halo is so wonderfully presented.

If you have friends over to see the Xbox for the first time, this is a pretty good game to show them straight up the true power of the beast over other consoles. If they are not sitting in awe after the first few moments you land on Halo, then they don't know what incredible graphics are.

Can you get any better graphics on the Xbox? I sometimes wonder...

Audio: The sound tracks in the game are excellent and moving, the quality of the score is top notch and you'll often be humming some of the music as you get used to it. Very moving and makes you feel like your part of some grand moment in history.

The sound effects are superb and some of the commentary on behalf of the Covenant are so funny you'll split your sides laughing. Trust me, the first moment you see one of the little guys trying to brush off the plasma grenade you just stuck to the side of his head with a well aimed throw screaming 'Nooooo! Not again!' you'll know exactly what I mean!

The commentary with the marines is also top notch. You really feel like you are part of the outfit and it's great!

They couldn't have done any better with the sound. Top marks.

Suggestions: There are no suggestions. The game is so polished and complete you will be begging to come back for more. If you own an Xbox, you must have Halo...

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Rallisport Challenge

Overall: Rallisport is a tasty treat for Xbox gamers who are waiting for the 2nd generation software to come onto the market. It's a great title unto itself and if you are into racing games at all, it no doubt deserves it's place in your collection. It's probably superceded now by Colin McRae Rally 3 in terms of the Xbox Rally games Crown, but is most definitely still worth your time and effort to check out.

Gameplay: The gameplay is strong in this game to say the least. There is the classic 'rally' mode where you can work through the campaign type version of the game and then there are a lot of other sub modes to allow you to kick back and have fun.

You can do uphill climb races against 3 other opponents as well as Ice Racing and dirt track racing.

The only flaw is the points system required to 'unlock' the extra stages in the game. Each section you finish gives you points based on how quickly you went, your place and how much damage you did to the car. This can be a pain when you really just want to think about the clock.

Also, there is limited opportunity to practise each run before you go. If you are having problems with just one section is a 6 stage rally event, you cannot practise that one section over without going through all 6. This can be annoying.

That said, the cars are varied and feel very nice to drive as were the different events you could do as well. Apart from the standard section to section rally events, there were uphill climbs, ice racing and dirt races as well so you do get some variety.

Graphics: Being a first generation game the graphics do look a little dated now, but they are nicely done. The cars themselves look a little blocky, but definitely servicable. The gameplay is fast and there is not one shudder of slowdown at all. The environmental effects like the sun glistening on the ice is most striking.

Audio: The music in the game is not exactly what I'd call catchy or exciting, but it's not so annoying you'd want to turn it off completely either.

The cars themselves all sound great.

Suggestions: The damage model in the game is lousey with the car still operational short of an atom bomb falling on it.

The roadside components are made of titanium I think - even a 1 ton vehicle hurtling at 120mph cannot lodge a wooden sign post, but stop your car it can (in my best Yoda voice).

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

Overall: Definitely a title for the die hard fans of the series. Crosses some devlishly good fun with some cerebal first person gaming. Perfect for releasing tension and stress after a lousey day at work - ever wanted to let lose in a crowded building with an automatic weapon? This game lets you do it ;) The gameplay is right on the money for getting down and nasty and the guns are a lot of fun to experiment with. That said, there were a few lacking components on the game that stop it from scoring higher.

If you are a fan of these sorts of games, then it's a definite recommended buy. If you only have a passing interest or have moral objections, I'd recommend holding onto your money and buying Splinter Cell instead...

Gameplay: The gameplay of this title has quite an amount of depth sut you can take the simple option on a lot of levels and just go crazy wasting people with the biggest gun you can find, on harder levels you will have to think a lot more.

You can play the game through successfully once in the shoot first, ask questions later type frame of mind - and then come back later to try it again going for the ultimate 'silent assassin' rating, using wits, cunning and your environment to the full to achieve your goals.

Definitely a lot of appeal to go back and repeat some of the missions later on. Good replay value.

The game itself was too short however, I managed to finish the entire game on Normal level in the space of about 15 hours of play. If you went through looking to win as the 'silent assassin' this would take considerably longer however ;)

Graphics: Admittedly it does not push the xbox to it's limits in any way shape or form, but the graphics certainly are servicable with some nice environments and some of the death animations very well done.

The environments are varied and some good texture work has been used as well, but don't expect to be blown away by the graphics in this game.

Then again, you'll probably be too busy cutting people in half with your Spaz 12 automatic shotgun to notice anyway, as the blood and gore factor is pretty high if you want it to be.

Graphics are pretty good, just nothing to make me sit up and go 'wow'.

Audio: The tracks are limited but fitting - the 'theme' tune to the game is quite stirring and will get you motivated to go and mow down some bad guys in quick order ;)

Probably where the game shines is in the sound effects department. The guns all sound nice and chunky and the in game speech sounds authentic as well with local languages being spoken in the different regions you visit.

A nice effort here, just don't expect to be humming any of the tunes on the bus ride to work, that's all.

Suggestions: The development of the game feels a little rushed in truth. The missions are fairly quick and simple to complete mostly, but lack the kind of depth and detail they honestly deserve.

The sneak system is pretty ordinary. It's usually much much easier to simply pull out a silenced 9mm to despatch your opponents than try to sneak up on them and strangle them. I'd like to have seen this 'sneak' system implemented more with some night missions as well. It was far to easy to be spotted most of the time.

The plot was thin to be kind. 47 hardly needed much encouragement to come out of retirement and sparse more was said about it once in the game until the very end. He seemed to be happy to do mission after mission without a word about his friend.

The different mission areas were excellent, although the maps were often small, confined and felt unrealistic. 'Sparse' is a term I could use. The levels had nice architecture and the NPCs were nice, but it really lacked any feeling of 'life' if you know what I mean. They felt rather bland overall and this was a little disappointing.

A great game concept that really needed a couple more months work to make it shine. The gameplay aspect is on the money, but the other components are lacking and do not live up to the true power of the Xbox's capabilities.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

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