Total Reviews: 4
Average Overall Score Given: 8.75000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 10

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

Overall: XBOX Live is just getting bigger and better everyday. Each with a new genre game delivering the best in online entertainment. Racing, Sports, and even Fighting. There was one key element missing. Online dog fighting. Sure enough, Microsoft Studios delivers what is to be the coolest, slickest, fastest, and most lag-free Live game to date. Even if you dont have XBL, this is truly a wonderful game to get.

Gameplay: Extremely Addictive. Each mission is full of destroying planes, escorting missions, saving towns, women, yourself, and getting the dough for new gear and planes. It's quite simple really. If you've played Halo, which most of you have, then its right at home. R trigger is guns, L trigger is missiles and all controls are inverted. Boost and Brake are all here. Simple to pick up, however, when it comes to multi-player, it could take months to master. Yes, I know there is no FPS mode. But this was not the intention of playing the game. Do not let this stupid draw back ruin it for you. It hasnt for anyone else. All in all, its simple and addictive, what more could you ask for?

Graphics: Beautiful. Lots of great looking backgrounds, arenas, and planes, and terrific bump mapping. Lots of shiny buildings, fluent animations and just great detail. Even the elements such as rain makes nice effects by falling on the camera. This is with out a doubt one of the nicest looking XBOX games.

Audio: The brilliant score of dashing, daring, adventurous music being played adds terrific environment and setting. The gun chains, propellers, boosters, blasters, rockets, missiles and explosions are top notch and make the game even better. Also on a up note, the voice acting is quite acceptable.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Max Payne

Overall: From the PC game itself to the X-Box consoles. Max Payne has came all the way to X-Box carrying along the excitement and fun in every minute you play. Ever wonder if you can play a shooter game Matrix-style? Well this is what you've been looking for. Max Payne is something for you whether you wanna enjoy a good shooting game or maybe relieve you from too much stress well this is what you need. Are you curious about the game? Why not read further to find out more about it.

Gameplay: Gameplay is just about everything. In Max Payne, forget about dodging quick bullets or maybe bar brawls and enjoy a good shoot-out Matrix style. You don't need to bother much about controls once you've mastered moving like the Matrix and shooting like one then you won't find any problems with the control. What you need to do is to master when to use the slow-mo and when to use the regular game speed. The Camera's perfect, it won't bother you at all even a little. Smooth controls, Very Smooth, the sleek controls works well with the veriety of movement and weapons you can use to pummel your enemy up. Whether you do a bar brawl style of fighting using a baseball bat or be like the Matrix dodgin bullets in mid-air while shooting back twice at your enemy with great precision and accuracy. This slow-motion command is what makes this game perfect. The movement alone and the slow-motion as well are enough to make this game as great as what it is now. Also, you have the full use of your environment meaning you can hit glass windows, shoot fire extinguishers, open up showers and stuffs. The game is quite challenging at first but after learning the basics you'll be a super one man fighting army in no time. Blasting into a group of thugs with your handy dandy shotgun or blast them away with your trusty grenades. You'll place this till somebody stop you from playing it. Pretty addicting indeed. One word can only explain all of these... perfect.

Graphics: The graphics are very very good. The environment, the way the characters are modeled, the guns, the bullets, gunfires, explosions, everything looks fabulously superb. You are given almost full use of your environment which most interacts with what you do. It simply means that you can a shower open, break glass windows (Hehehe... some shooting game can't even break a glass window even if you use the almighty rocekt launcher on them!) smash vases, etc... For being a 3D character Max Payne himself looks pretty good and I can't even find even a little flaw in it. The gunshots and the blood that burst out from enemies or your environment is pretty good. Like the way you shoot somebody in the game ''Half-Life: Counter-Strike'' blood burst out from thugs you shoot who's near the wall or when you buy them a gift of grenade. There's a place where you can even shoot a television hehehe... pretty cool eh? The environment itself is pretty good it reacts well to the movement you do. The scenes in the story are well drawn but the 3D in it are great the voice over everything!

Audio: A good competitor against Halo's musical score. Like the game Halo, Max Payne has a little music in the background or maybe I don't pay much attention because of its superb gameplay and graphics? May Payne don't actually lacks in music since you won't be paying much attention to it as well. Max Payne has some cool sounds as well. The voice over is perfectly done. The gunfire and the explosion are great. If you listen carefully you'll notice some more great sound effects like some footsteps when you or a thug is moving, screams, voices, the grenade bouncing of the wall or on the floors, the explosions even the grunts when being hit are nice.

Suggestions: A must buy for those who enjoy a great Action/Adventure game specially when you can shoot/fight back at enemies Matrix style. A great stress reliever and can eat a lot of time if you simply don't have anything to do.

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Dynasty Warriors 4

Overall: Koei does it again and releases yet another saga to the Dynasty Warriors series, and just in time too, its also Koei's 25th anniversary. Before I begin let me say that this is my first review for this site, and also that I am fair when it comes to rating games. You will however never see me give a game a 10/10, because no game is perfect, they all have there flaws.

Gameplay: The gameplay for Dynasty Warriors 4 is great. The controls don't get much level, and playing it on the XBOX just feels natural. This game is tons of fun and supporting up to 2 players you can kick butt simultaneously with a friend. The difficulty of the game changes as frequently as the NYSE. One minute the game is extremely easy and the next minute it seems as though its impossible. In some cases this can be an ok thing because its not just a hack and slash game, and will actually require strategy.

Graphics: The graphics in this game are decent. They don't really take advantage of XBOX's power, yet everything is still beautiful. The main complain I have with this is during the movies some of the scenes become a little choppy. Other than that the graphics are good, especially considering the fact that Dynasty Warriors 4 was ported from the PS2 version. The sound in this is great. It sometimes seems as though, you are actually in the game.

Audio: The graphics in this game are decent. They don't really take advantage of XBOX's power, yet everything is still beautiful. The main complain I have with this is during the movies some of the scenes become a little choppy. Other than that the graphics are good, especially considering the fact that Dynasty Warriors 4 was ported from the PS2 version. The sound in this is great. It sometimes seems as though, you are actually in the game.

Suggestions: Overall I give this game an 8/10. It has its pros/cons, but the pros more than make up for any of the games flaws. What kept me from giving this game a semi-higher score is the slowdown that occurs often during battle, and becomes annoying quickly. Trying to watch the videos can become difficult, because of it being choppy sometimes. This is a great game to rent, but even better to buy. Don't be afraid to spend the money to buy the game it is worth it. The best out of all 4 is definitely this one, and as hard as it is to admit, I don't see the series getting a whole lot better, its just too good already.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Soul Calibur 2

Overall: Soul Calibur II marks NAMCO's first Japanese made foray into the Xbox universe, and it's third tiresome visit to the world of Soul Blade/Soul Edge/Soul Calibur. I know many people will be put off immediately by my ''low'' score (a 7 is only 2 points away from a 9, so quit complaining!), but I feel I must honestly evaluate this game on it's own merits and not on the hype that surrounds it's long awaited release. I'll start off by assuring you that this is a very good game. It has no intrinsic problems that prevent it from being enjoyable, and it is certainly welcome on a system that is thirsty for good fighting games. To be honest, I was wavering between a 7 and an 8 as this site does not allow decimal scores, but since most if not all of the other reviews that will eventually be posted here will certainly be 9s and even 10s, I decided to deliberately skew low for the sake of balance. The issues I have with this game can be summed up quite simply: there simply isn't enough new here to consitute a legitimate sequel. Those who have not played previous games in the series or who have only enjoyed them for a few minutes at a time at a friend's house will undoubtedly fall in love with this game, but those of us who have followed the series from the beginning will most likely find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering why the SAME story, the SAME last boss, and - with few exceptions - the SAME moves and winning poses for the SAME characters we've been using for years remain. ''If it ain't broke, don't fix it,'' goes the old axiom, but when it comes to video games, this is only partly true. In my opinion, for a sequel to truly be a sequel, it must have some major new feature that wasn't in previous games: new characters that are completely different than others in the series (see SFII to SFIII), far better graphics (see VF progression), a new system, a new button...something. To be sure, saying that there is nothing new here would be an exaggeration. SCII does manage to offer up a few new characters and a guard break move of questionable use, but it actually has FEWER characters, costumes, and backgrounds than it's 4 year old predecessor. I wouldn't expect them to totally reinvent the wheel with this game, but as it stands, it strikes me as less of a legitimate sequel than a mere update of an existing game in the vein of the Guilty Gear X/Guilty Gear XX or SFII/SSFII variety. To illustrate my point of how other series have gone beyond this, let's use the VF games as an example. VF2's graphics were light years ahead of the original game. That alone was good enough, but they also added 2 new characters that played entirely unlike any other existing ones. VF3 made the graphical and character leap again and added a button. By the time VF4 came about, they once again made a huge graphical leap and added totally original characters, along with trimming some of the fat by abolishing the extra button and expelling the unpopular Sumo character. The SC series, however, has enjoyed minor graphical improvements (at least when compared to the VF series), and, with a few notable exceptions, tends to reuse character archetypes in both design (Sophitia/Cassandra, Maxi/the nunchaku guy from the original whose name escapes me at the moment, etc...) and basic control (Astaroth/Rock, et al) when adding characters.

Gameplay: Once again, this portion of my review has been on the receiving end of much harsh criticism. I must start out by saying that I mainly play this game (and most other fighters) in the standard 1 player mode. I recognize that the depth and breadth of the fighting system is greater when playing against someone who is skilled at the game, but I still contend that other fighting games have AI that is light years ahead of SCII. No game should REQUIRE you to play in vs. mode to have fun and experience a challenge. Therefore, most of the following comments are based on conclusions drawn from playing in the standard arcade and weapon master modes and not in vs.mode. My main issue with all NAMCO fighters is that they rely heavily on throws, which are performed easily at a distance much greater than other fighters (though the distance issue is perhaps par for the course in a game featuring weapon based combat) and do quite a bit of damage. As a test, I actually finished the game (on default normal difficulty, and on harder settings) in arcade mode using nothing but throws with EVERY character and never saw the ''game over'' screen. Aside from the throw issue, NAMCO fighters tend to be button mashers: in my experience, newcomers to the game can often thrash overconfident experienced players with a few lucky random button pushes and combinations of two buttons. To be sure, dedicated fans who spend time in the arcades honing their skills would make short work of an inexperienced goon, but those of us who mainly play the home versions for fun and unlocking new features can oft times find our modest skills shown up by the kid up the block who likes to hold his controller the wrong way (mostly due to the aforementioned moves that are executed simply by pushing two buttons simultaneously). Certainly, this can be said of nearly any fighting game to an extent, but I find that 2D fighters and games like the VF series tend to favor the more experienced player with almost no exception. Of course, this is not so say that the system is entirely faulty. There is quite a deep fighting engine to be found here (much deeper than DOA, but unable to hold a candle to VF) - an engine that deepens more when two skilled fighters take each other on. I enjoy the backgrounds this time around, as well, as the addition of walls and the greater overall size of the arenas adds some opportunities for new strategies to be explored. I find the sharing of backgrounds by so many characters to be disappointing though - especially after the huge variety found in the original game. The weapon master mode is an interesting mix of the one found in the home version of Soul Blade (that would be Soul Edge on the PS, to those of you who had never heard of the series until the emergence of the DC) and the venerable DC outing. By combining the weapon collecting aspects of SE with the overall feel of it's DC counterpart, this mode offers up some nice variety and enemies who aren't as likely to take a throw without a fight. The dungeons, which consist of a simple overhead map of a series of trapped rooms that must be fought through, are also a quite innovative and welcome feature.

Graphics: This game has excellent graphics. Having played all three versions (albeit briefly), I can confirm that the Xbox version looks the best (the widescreen compatibility is nice, too), BUT it still only looks marginally better than the arcade version (which runs on the PS2 hardware) or even the DC version of Soul Calibur. By ''pumping up'' the graphics from the arcade to home version on the DC, NAMCO set a precedent that fans expect to be followed. The DC offered more power than the arcade board it was on, so NAMCO took the time to augment the graphics. The same could have been done here, and it's safe to say that many fans will be disappointed in the tiny leap in visuals from the arcade to the home this time around. The graphics look great, make no mistake, but games like DOA3 and VF4 Evolution on the PS2 look better to me. The characters have a slightly different look to them than they did in Soul Calibur, with smaller heads and facial details leaning to the more realistic side, but I find myself preferring many of the designs and costumes from the former game.

Audio: SCII continues in the series tradition with an orchestral soundtrack that perfectly matches the thematic aspects of the game. I'll admit that I preferred the music in SC, but that is not to say that there is any sort of problem with the soundtrack this time around. The narrator is back as well, and he has much more to say in this rendition. The surround sound compatibility is welcome as well.

Suggestions: Playing Soul Calibur II left me slightly unsatisfied. The conspicuous absence of well loved (and personal favorite) characters like Rock and a playable Lizardman and the incongruous presence of Spawn didn't do anything to endear me to this game, and extra features in general seem to have been cut down from the DC version of the original. Only around half of the characters have 3rd costumes. Only two smallish galleries are available. Competitive players will concentrate more on the vs. modes and most likely won't mind the lack of extras or repetitive storyline, but for those of us who get the bulk of our gaming dollar from enjoying the one player modes of fighting games, the game just feels like a less meaty version of the original.
I think NAMCO realizes that this game will sell oodles on all three formats whether it's a great game or merely a good one. They took the easy way out and made a good one. We'll buy it anyway. No one will accuse NAMCO of not being shrewd businessmen. We will, however, say this:

''Transcending logic and reason, a tale of throws and routine, eternally resold.''

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10

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