Total Reviews: 13
Average Overall Score Given: 9.23077 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 1

Legacy of Kain: Defiance

Overall: Defiance is just another of one of the great games from the Legacy of Kain series, and to tell the truth, I was hooked on said series since I played Blood Omen II. It's incredibly difficult to name a vampire game that doesn't suck without question, but this series of games can definitely squick by with about a lightyear to spare. The characters within the game are all very well conceived, and their voiceovers are expertly done by some rather famous personas in the industry. The game isn't exactly perfect, however, as it has some problems with the camera system (which I'll address later), but these aren't anything major (most of the time), so I won't hold it against Eidos and Crystal Dynamics... too much.

Gameplay: Gameplay in Defiance is a snap, what with one heck of a simple learning curve, and excellent methods of tutilage. In the very first Kain mission, it seems like they're giving you a rather tall order for someone who could quite possibly be new to the entire series of games, as they stick you near the heart of the Sarafan Stronghold (the Sarafan, for the unenlightened, are a huge group of fanatic knights, bent on the destruction of the vampires in Nosgoth, the world in which the Legacy of Kain games take place). So, it seems like you're going to have to deal with a lot, but, I should've known that Kain would've had it covered?with a vengeance, and of course, it's set up to help you learn more than anything else. Raziel's first mission?or rather, his first set of missions?is also set up in order to help you get acquainted with the controls. I won't spoil too much more on this, but I just gotta say: I think the Elder God is a sadist, or something along those lines. Oi. And of course, the combat combos that you can unleash are devastating, but simple to execute. Another plus on my list of pluses.

The camera system, like I said, lacks perfection. In the past Legacy of Kain games that I've played (namely Soul Reaver II and Blood Omen II), the camera system was more conventional: you simply rotated the camera about yourself. Nothing too fancy, and that's just the way I liked it. In Defiance, however, you do no such thing. You merely control the limited vertical and horizontal panning of the camera. And by this, I mean that the camera automatically determines which is the "best" angle from which to play the game, and locks you in said angle, leaving you little to manipulate. And obviously, the "best" angle isn't always the best. I've found myself wandering off bridges into pools of water, which, to my utter dismay, are lethal to vampires?I swear I'll never understand that: powerful, nearly godly creatures, taken down by nothing more than water?or running into hoardes of enemies that I never even saw. And of course, with some of the telikinetic puzzles they have, I had to hold down the camera control stick while I took aim with the other stick. Most troublesome...

Graphics: I can't even begin to describe just how excellent the graphics are in this game. They're just... crisp... new... and vibrant! It reaks of newness, and I love every second of it. The effects are spectacular, especially with some of the more demonic enemies (which I've named, despite what their true name may be, Shades), where they're nothing more than uber-blackened smoke with an attitude. And again, the combos come into play here. The effects of said combos are... well, they're fantastic. Raziel has a particular combo which I've become rather attached to, but... I'll leave it to you all to figure out which one(s) are the coolest.

Audio: The sound is as it was in the past Legacy of Kain games: excellent in most ways, but disconcerting in others. The quality overall is great, but with some of the effects, you may think that an enemy is manifesting near you, when you're in reality, all alone.

Suggestions: Stick to the old-school camera system, and everything will be just fine. Oh, and perhaps make shifting to and from the spectral realm a bit simpler? Like maybe, binding the action to a thumbstick button? That way, we can stand over a conduit, and press the ONE button, as opposed to pressing two different ones.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 MechAssault

Overall: Well, I guess I was looking forward to a lot more than I got when I opened the package. From the MechWarrior series, I expected to see a lot more... goodies, such as having to flush coolant in order to be able to cool down the overheating Mech, but I guess that was a bit... eh, too much. In any event, I've spent the past couple of hours fighting in multiplayer against a friend of mine, and suffice it to say, Kit Fox is the Mech of choice (and here I thought it'd be the Mad Cat, as usual). Cloaking, speed, AND a formidable weapon arsenal. Anyway, the game is just a bit lacking in the available Mechs department... They all have basically the same build, and are all pretty much equally sluggish in control, but I suspect that better Mechs will be available in the future. So I won't take away from the score in this department. Edit: Just spent the last portion of last night, and the majority of today playing MechAssault over XBOX Live, and oh... my... god, is it ever addictive. Kicking some serious Mech buttage is a LOT of fun, but if you REALLY want a laugh, set it to Team Destruction in River City, with one team being all Elemental, and one player on a different team play as a giant killer mech (like the Atlas, for example). You'll laugh for hours. Excellent job with the game, guys!

Gameplay: Gameplay is pretty straight-forward, although I wish that they would have set the inverted Y-Axis to disabled by default, as that's what I'm used to. But I guess that isn't really a big deal when you come to think about it. Using the thumbstick-buttons was a good idea, as it makes it easier to activate jump jets or the defense mechanisms on the fly without needing to stop turning and/or moving around. All of the buttons were implemented flawlessly, and if you can play HALO, you can play Mech Assault. The only part that takes away from the gameplay is the overly sluggish Mechs. I'll give this a four point five.

Graphics: Graphics are excellent, especially when a Mech is destroyed. Excellent use of particle effects, texture maps, and environment mapping, as well as weather (I believe it was the airstrip mission that had a sandstorm brewing at the time (kudos, First Day)). Five outta five.

Audio: The sound is like... well, heck, it's Dolby Surround, and you notice this right off the bat when you start playing, as not only will explosions come from in front of you, but they'll come from behind as well. Sound effects are great, especially (again) when a Mech is destroyed. Five outta five.

Suggestions: Less sluggish Mechs, and... well, more diversity in Mech selection. Other than that, you guys did an excellent job, in my opinion. Keep it up. Also, you should make it so that we don't get kicked back to the lobby whenever the game ends?it'd be a LOT more fun to just play continuously against a group of people over and over. Same goes for the "Downloadable Content" screen?make it so that we can actually go back to the main menu directly, without having to go through the opening movies. Add to this the option to change game options without having to remake a room. Oh, and make it so that when a player talks, their name shows up on the screen... like in MotoGP, so that we know who's talking. That's about all that I've got against it. Perhaps release those changes in a downloadable patch? ;)

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Phantom Crash

Overall: Rest assured that as soon as I can, I'll be taking Phantom Crash back to Wal-Mart. The title itself and the cloaking ability may lure in the easily amused gamers that are out there (raises hand meekly), but after it's all said and done, there isn't anything THAT spectacular about it. The mechs, or what the game refers to as "Scoobee Vehicles", or Scoobees for short, are incredibly simplistic, and although you can design your own, there isn't anything that fantastic about them. On a side note: the only reason that I spent a couple hours on the game was because that's how long it takes to get past all of the verbal bantering between the game's cartoonish characters.

Gameplay: Gameplay is the only area that you'll see me give anywhere near high marks to this game in. The controls are easily grasped, and ANYONE can get the hang of how to "kill the bad guy" after a while of winging it. However, in times of panicking for your Scoobee's life, you eventually start to forget what button does what, and that's where the low-point of the gameplay arises.

Graphics: Visually speaking, the game is average. I'll give you that the Scoobees are nice and smooth, and the explosion effects are nice, but what got to me the most (and what sold me on the game) was the cloaking effect?it's just totally sweet. Aside from that, however, the game is lacking in the visuals department as well, so I'll give it a three.

Audio: The audio of the game is pretty sweet, being that it has Dolby Surround Sound right within the game itself?and with a surround-sound home theater system, the game is totally awesome sound-wise, so I'll give this a 4.5, as even though it DOES have excellent quality, the tracks within the game kinda get monotonous and boring, and adding your own custom soundtracks has to be "bought" with N.Y., or "New Yen" (the currency within the game).

Overall Score: 5.0 / 10 MotoGP

Overall: Alright, I'll be honest. I haven't played the full version of this game AT ALL, but I've logged countless hours on the demo that's included with the XBOX live disc. And being honest yet again, I've never liked racing games... ever. But for some strange reason, Moto GP just has something that attracts me to it like Project Gotham never could... It could be the online chatting, or maybe not... But regardless, this game is EXTREMELY addictive.

Gameplay: Gameplay is extremely straight-forward. As in most racing games, the A button accelerates, and the thumbstick steers. The other controls are learned quickly, and handling for the different bikes are excellent, for the most part, but for some bikes, the specifications kinda lie (i.e., a rider's specifications may claim excellent cornering, but in truth, the cornering is sub-par when compared with another rider's cornering).

Graphics: The graphics are just... well, they're awesome. Extremely close to being realistic, and I love the blur effect that they use when you start hauling asphault. Five outta five.

Audio: The sound is just awesome. I love the authentic sounds of the engines, the burnouts, and even the crashes sound real. When you pass by the bleachers, the crowd cheers for you. The custom soundtrack option is sweet, except I wish that the music didn't stop when you crashed, because that get's extremely annoying. XBOX Communicator audio comes through loud and clear, just as if I were talking over the phone. No lag, whatsoever, except for a couple instances.

Suggestions: If you ever remake the game, make sure that the music doesn't stop when you crash. Gaps in the song tend to annoy me.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Blood Omen 2

Overall: Well, aside from the fact that Blockbuster slaps a HUGE label on the CD, and makes it almost too unbalanced to run (you can hear the problems in the XBOX), I've managed to play this game for the past twenty hours, and I've got to say that it's one of the coolest XBOX games that I've played thus far. From the graphics to the gameplay, Crystal Dynamics has this thing licked.

Gameplay: The gameplay was a bit awkward for me at first, because I had to learn what all the buttons were for. But, once I figured it out, I was killing people and sucking blood left and right... I seem to have forgotten how to do a stealth attack though... I was talking to some friends when they explained how to do it, and I forgot... Five out of five, regardless.

Graphics: Graphics are awesome, and the in-game cutscenes are pretty sweet, but they really should allow you to skip some of them... I mean, when I have to sit through the same movie three, four, five times in a row, I start getting annoyed, to say in the least... -_-;; But anyway, five out of five here.

Audio: Can't really say much about the sound, as I've got more pressing things to worry about when I'm playing the game (i.e. knights coming at me with huge swords), so I rely more on visual than sound. But, I do like how the sound gives you a warning as to when the people are going to use the straight-through stab attacks (you can hear a heart beating loudly, and then the knight recoils his weapon and lunges). Five of five.

Suggestions: Multiplayer would be sweet, but aside from that, I can't really think of anything that needs improving (except again, you should let the person skip the in-game movies?it gets repetitive after a while...). Good job, Crystal Dynamics!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Gunvalkyrie

Overall: The game, at first, when I saw it on the shelf at Wal-Mart, didn't seem all that appealing (as normally, I base my buying decision on the cover art (stupid, I know, but hey, we've all got our own strategies for things)), but then I remembered that it had a relatively good review in OXM5, and I had to check it out. And seeing as I lack patience entirely (meaning that there was no way that I could wait for OXM6 to come out next month), and seeing as I had $50.00 to spare, I figured you know, what the hell... So I went down to Wal-Mart and bought the game for two primary reasons: good review in a reputable magazine, and plus, it's got futuristic weapons, and... ROCKET PACKS! So I just HAD to have it, and now I do.

Gameplay: Gameplay leaves a bit to be desired, seeing as the control scheme is non-customizable in any way, shape, or form. And, after playing HALO for the past four months (hey, it was sold out where I live until December, so sue me), and becoming acquainted with its control scheme, it's more than safe to say that getting used to Gunvalkyrie's controls took some time, to say in the least. Especially considering that I've got inverted looking pitch disabled in HALO, and GV's looking pitch is, by default (and again, not able to be changed to anything else) inverted. I'll give the Gameplay attribute of GV 4.5, because I don't have too much of a problem with the controls now that I've adapted (but hey, this game would be SO much easier with HALO-like controls (left analog stick to move forward/backward and strafe, right analog stick to look up/down/left/right, etc.)). Oh, and I also included in the -.5 score the fact that there isn't any multiplayer support (come on, people: chicks in rocket packs, flying around, laying the smacketh down with a Driver Gun... think about it!).

Graphics: Visual Appeal... Oh, my god (and this is coming from an atheist)... The lens flares in this game are only parallelled by those of HALO, and perhaps, Giants: Citizen Kabuto for the PC. Everything looks so !&%$@#* ed smooth, including Kelly's fine figure. ;) The particle effects are excellent, and so far, I've witnessed no framerate issues, even when hundreds of those damned bugs are coming toward me...

Audio: I can't really complain about the sound, seeing as up to the point in the game where I'm at, the sound has been excellent, and it's let me know when the !&%$@#* ed enemies were getting too close, so that's all good... The music is fine, the weapons audio is great... Good job to Smilebit here.

Suggestions: Well, the only issues that I have with the game were covered in the Gameplay portion of my review. So just give the players the options to customize the control scheme, add a little multiplayer support, and I'm perfectly happy. Perhaps you could make use of the XBOX Broadband when it comes out this spring, and release one hell of a patch that lets us do those two things? A bit farfetched, but that'd be awesome!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Nightcaster: Defeat The Darkness

Overall: I rented this game from Blockbuster because it was an overall crappy day for me (seeing as I nearly rear-ended a car and couldn't buy a tarantula without parent permission), so I rented Nightcaster (because not only was Max Payne rented out, but I didn't really like the game to much anyway?hell, the only thing about Max Payne anywhere near remarkable is the Bullet Time?) as well as Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (hey, I need a game that I know I can cheat and kick some cheap arse). Got home, plopped in the Nightcaster CD, and it didn't work. Why not? Because the last person to rent the game must've eaten a hamburger on it! I spent at least five minutes cleaning the oil off of it, and then I popped it in again. It worked, and I spent the next six and a half hours playing. I've gotta admit that it's a kick-arse game. The graphics are extremely smooth, and of course: the orb glows! Nothing beats shiny objects, right? And oh yeah, the gameplay is awesome as well. I love casting those spells. And it's layed out sort of like Pokémon: creatures of one type (i.e. fire, water, light, and dark) are weak against their opposite (i.e. water, fire, dark, and light, respectively).

Gameplay: The gameplay is excellent, and I am extremely happy that the game didn't use the gamepad, when it had the two analog sticks at its disposal. Everything was very well laid out, but I did have one problem with the controls: and this was the fact that to get the camera behind you again, you couldn't just tap the left thumbstick when you were moving, you'd have to stop to hold it down for a second. But even so, the rest of the controls have extremely great fluidity. I also liked the way that the spells and the spellbook were laid out?excellent touch. Because of this, I give Nightcaster a 5.0 in this are

Graphics: Glowy things... Glowy shiny things that move when commanded to do so... And extremely rounded off characters, bright text, and awesome visual effects. Hell, this game has everything that I look for as far as visual appeal goes... In my opinion, this game is a lot better than games like Diablo, but that's just MY opinion?I could never get used to the slow-moving characters in Diablo...

Audio: Awesome sounds, but I have to admit that the character saying single and double-word phrases to cast a spell got a little annoying sometimes... But regardless of this, I still think that the sound was excellent in the game. Five point oh!

Suggestions: When you tell us that we only need to TAP the left control stick, you should only have to TAP it, not hold it down. I mean heck, I tap the right control stick to recall the orb, so why not the left one to re-center the camera? Other than that, I think you guys did an excellent job here. Keep it up.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: Finally... I can rate this game... First off, the tragic story of my XBOX, HALO, and I. I managed to get an XBOX (one of only twenty out here in the Matanuska Susitna valley at the time) after being out of luck at Wal-Mart (I as number sixteen; six too many), I was able to get one at Fred Meyer (there, I was number seven of ten) at about 7:00 AM. Anyway, the previous day at Wal-Mart, I saw at least thirty copies of HALO. But when I got there after school, they were sold out. Every store that I called for the past week were sold out. Even Toys "R" Us said that they were sold out when I called them today. But I went down there, and sure enough, there was one copy. So I snagged it, and two more XBOX controllers (to finish my set; I've got all four now), and then I went to CompUSA. Turns out that they've got a huge stack of the game... All that running around for nothing... Anyway, back to the game's rating: it rocks. There's no other way to describe it. It's obviously taken the place of Half-Life for the best first-person shooter ever created, and I stand behind that statement 100%. The force feedback in the game is also excellently done. From the storyline to the audio in the game, it's exceptionally well done. Good job Bungie!

Gameplay: Excellent gameplay! The controls, although they did take about ten minutes to get used to, sunk in and were second nature to me, and there I was: killing the Covenant left and right. Again, good job Bungie!

Graphics: The only game that I've seen with as good of graphics as HALO is Bungie's other masterpiece, Oni. In fact, it looks like they used some of the same kind of effects (like the bodily shield effects) that they used in Oni. Simply eye candy.

Audio: Wow... The sound is exquisite. I can honestly say that the voices of all the characters, be it your marine allies, or the Covenant s !&%$@#* , it's truly unique. And the way that those little Covenant grunts sound... ROFL... They sound like Dale from Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers... You know... Chip & Dale? Two little chipmunks? Awwwwww, nevermind...

Suggestions: A HALO 2 would be nice in this instance. Pleaaaaase? Puhleaaaaaase? With whipped-cream and cherries on top? Other than that, all I can say is this: keep it up, Bungie! Don't let any of those Playstation 2 losers, or anyone else, say that this game isn't what it is: a masterpiece.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Dead or Alive 3

Overall: Although I can't really say that I myself enjoy the game (as I'm not a big fan of fighting games, with the exception of science fiction style, like as in the Mortal Kombat collection), I can say that the game itself is astounding. From the visual, to the audio, this game is truly a game worthy of the XBOX platform.

Gameplay: Gameplay, once you enable the analog stick, is a breeze! You get used to the fluidic controls of the players in a snap, and you can even alternate the different control styles. Thumbs up here.

Graphics: Oh, the eye candy of it all. The players are so smooth, as are their motions and clothing motions. All the moves are without a hitch, and even the levels are breath-taking, especially the Pancratium level with all of the electricity flowing throughout the gates. Another thumbs up.

Audio: The sound is awesome, and the way that the lip-sync technology makes the characters actually look like they're speaking is VERY awesome. The final thumbs up is here.

Suggestions: Keep up the good work, but try to make it a bit better, like being able to unlock characters instead of just movies. It would be interesting to use that Omega character.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee

Overall: Oh man, this game is so awesome! It's got the most smooth graphics, smooth gameplay, smooth framerates, a great storyline, and of course, the characters are awesome as well! I've gotta admit that I have a sweet spot in my heart for Munch... He's got that cute little Gabbit cry (in the intro movie to the game), and the coolest voice. And he's got a special connection with those agressive little Fuzzles, which helps when going against the evil Vykker Interns. All in all, this is an extremely great game, and because of the limitless lives, I can screw up as much as I want, and still be able to beat the levels.

Gameplay: Excellent gameplay. You get used to the default controls in a snap, and you can customize them to your liking if you don't like the defaults! Good job, Oddworld Inhabitants!

Graphics: Eye candy. Pure eye candy. Everything runs so incredibly smooth, it's like you're actually there...

Audio: Awesome sound, although sometimes, the effects (i.e. sliding down a slope) gets a bit annoying. Other than that, the GameSpeak? is incredible! And there was this one part that gave me the chills (and this ties in with the A.I. a bit), when I was playing as a possessed Slig, I fired on another Slig, the offending Slig fell over the edge, and his screaming actually faded a bit, as if he was falling down a huge cliff. I knew that it wasn't a cliff, so I went over and looked to see what happened to him. And here he comes up and starts shooting at me before I could get to the edge. In the least, I was VERY surprised. Regardless of if this was a glitch or not, it was one of the coolest things that I've ever seen in a game since the Reapermen in Giants: Citizen Kabuto seemed stupid, but in reality were taking careful aim to annihilate me...

Suggestions: Keep up the good work guys! You've got another masterpiece here!

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10

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