MEMBER PROFILE FOR Hangnaround

Total Reviews: 10
Average Overall Score Given: 9.00000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

Reviews
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

Overall: My reviews are normally from the perspective of a dad and his family. In this case it is mostly my perspective as I have deemed the game a bit too much for my 5th grade son just yet. It isn't that this has more gore in it than Halo, it is just a bit more lifelike as you aren't shooting funny sounding aliens. Anyways - on with the review.

I have found the game very interesting to play on Xbox Live. I have not completed more than a mission or two in single player mode as that looks boring (sorry but after you do Live you won't go back). While on Live I found many interesting folks playing this both young and old. In fact I have played three titles on Live, this is the best of them by far. For that reason I am rating the overall appeal very high.

A couple of negatives mentioned by others. The system link fiasco is a sad joke. After reading a few things about Tom Clancy (from a personal perspective only, his writing is great)it wouldn't suprise me if he had something to do with it. The Live opti-match process is a bit buggy. There are times when you get kicked out of a session for no apparent reason. There are also infrequent lockups when picking a game to join. Neither of these are major problems but I discounted the overall rating by .5 for these reasons.

Gameplay: Gaemplay in Live is great and is dictated by the quality and number of your opponents. Every game is a new game with new things happening and new strategies applied. I participated in a session today for 90 minutes where 8 of us played the emabassy mission over and over. We tried new weapons, tactics, and strategies making every game different. What more could you ask for in a game? The humans took the environment and made it different each time. My rating is for the Live version.

The single player mode reminds me of the older PC version which I have played. It doesn't look bad but compared to Live it is (yawn) a little mundane. Again take this opinion with a grain of salt as all I have done is try a couple of missions at different levels to see what it looked like.

Graphics: I guess it is ok. It cetainly ain't Halo from a visual perspective. But it is real enough to make it believable.

Audio: The sound is decent. You get spoiled with some of the newer games. For this game things worked as they should. Gun sounds close by are loud, farther away they are softer. The sniper rifle sound different than the M16. The effects of a close in grenade are nice. The Live talking feature is spectacular. I can't say enough about talking back and forth makes the games fun.

Suggestions: Fix the bugs in Opti-match process. Provide Live content updates in addition to the great gameplay. Updating the visuals will make a difference.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Fifa World Cup 2002

Overall: As always my reviews are those from a dad's perspective. My son and I play this game as do several of my son's friends. The game is what you want it to be from a soccer fan's perspective. You can do everything you would expect, passes, moves, shooting, tackling, etc. We already own FIFA 2001 for the PC and this game in some ways is a little better, but in some ways it is a little worse. Being a soccer house (both kids play actively) this title should be a favorite and it is.

Gameplay: As mentioned above, the game play is what you would expect. Comparing the gameplay between the PC and the Xbox, the Xbox wins(as it should). The different difficulty levels do make a difference to my family in that anything above the amateur setting results in a pasting for the human players right now. I am sure that may not be the same for you serious gamers out there but for us that is reality. The vibrating effects are not that pronounced and could be improved on tackles and headers. The different colors surrounding the selected players indicate the potential success of a pass which is helpful but not 100% accurate(but that is a soccer reality). When players use their special talent the screen will surround them with a visual letting you know you are using that talent (check out Donavan Bailey on a sprint). The fatigue option is nice and adds a little reality.

Graphics: To me this is the biggest fallback. I am probably complaining for nothing but the players don't look all that great. The faces are grainy and are kind of neutral looking. Our family knows a player on the US extended roster (he is from our hometown). He doesn't look at all like him. Yet on the PC version he is faithfully represented. This is true for a number of the other players with a distinctive look to them. Same company, similar game, so why would they shortchange us? Seems like just rushing it to the shelves to take advantage of the World Cup coverage.

Otherness - I also agree with the folks discussing a few herky-jerky pieces of the game. There aren't too many of these but 1 is too many. Some have said this is the framerate - got me. I know the PC version doesn't suffer from this.

Audio: The sounds are fine. Commentary is excellent. I am sure there are other folks out there now who routinely use the catch phrases used by these guys. I know it sounds hokey but "it's in the back of the net" is now used by several members of the family (with bad british accents too) while watching the World Cup games.

Suggestions: Improve the visuals. I know my comments about the players faces are a little weak. But why cheap out when EA had to do the work for the PC version? I agree with others that would allow for a create a player type of option, that would seem to allow folks to keep the game current as new players come onto the scene.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: As are all of my reviews my comments are that of a parent of younger kids (9 and 14). First off the game is great. Everything that others have said is true - this is far and away the best video game I have seen. The video in some scenes is breathtaking especially in the "outdoor" missions.

From a parent perspective this is NOT a game to give to your younger child without some close parental supervision. The "M" rating is deserved although it is not as brutal as "Doom" or "Max Payne". The missions involving the Flood are especially brutal.

Gameplay: The game plays very well. The controls are easy to use and after a little while you don't make too many dumb mistakes like throwing a grenade at yourself. I won't duplicate what others have said about the game. I will add that multiplayer is fun especially in combat mode.

Graphics: The game looks better than anything else out there - period. Night scenes are great, the snow mission is great too. There are a couple of battles involving bridges which are really neat to look at if you aren't playing.

Audio: The sound is great. From the haunting opening theme to the increasing tempo of the music as you approach a particularly dangerous stretch of the game. WIth the surround sound on with our big TV and the lights off - it gets pretty scary sometimes. The first time I played it the music reminded me of seeing the movie "Jaws" way back when - yes I know this is dating myself.

Suggestions: Make the multi-player combat mode a bit better. I have seen other comments asking for more vehicles or weapons. I don't think this is the biggest thing to improve. I think if you made the territory you play over bigger that would be better. Perhaps even playing head to head combat on a couple of the mission landscapes would be interesting.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 NHL 2002

Overall: As are all of my reviews this comes from the perspective of a dad and his son. This game is for the hockey addict. If you want to play hockey on the Xbox this is the best title on the market today. There are things there for the arcade type player an the franchise builder. It is easy enough for kids or adults to master in a matter of an hour or so of play.

Gameplay: The game is great to play. Like many of the EA titles you can change difficulties easily to match your skill. Some moves (dekes and things like this) take a little time to get used to but it is just the matter of a little time till you get the idea. The franchise mode adds a little bit for the true hockey addict. The NHL cards are either something you like or hate - if you like Madden cards you will like them as they work the same.

Graphics: Visually this is a decent game. Every once in a while you get a two dimensional image pop up which takes away from the game but it is infrequent and not usually in normal game play. As with many of the EA games, the visuals are good but not Halo like yet.

Audio: The sounds are good on this game. Cheering when there should be cheering and announcers that seem to have decent comments during the game. In comparison to the NBA 2002 commentary NHL wins hands down.

Suggestions: Improve the fighting. While this isn't the reason for buying the game, fighting is a part of hockey. There is only a little that happens differently from one fight to the next so either improve it or get rid of the code.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Fuzion Frenzy

Overall: We rented this for a party and were pleasantly suprised with it. From a parent perspective this game is perfect for those teenage (or younger) gatherings and sleepovers. There are so many games that everyone will find at least 3 or 4 games they will want to play 10-15 times at a sitting. Some of the games are similar to one another but therein lies the strength too, I may not like the first rollerball game but I may like the next alternative.

If you are expecting something other than a party game and something to occupy some free time then you don't get the concept. This game is supposed to be all about fun and it is.

I rated lasting appeal as one month only from the perspective that if you played it every day you would get tired of it. If you play it like I would expect (casually by yourself and infrequently at get togethers) then the appeal will last much longer.

Gameplay: As stated earlier it was perfect for the sleepover we had. The kids were all bugging to get a turn at a controller. It turned into a king of the hill thing with the winner choosing the game to play until someone knocked them off by beating them. Multiplayer is great with this, only wish I had more than 2 controllers during the party. The games are easy to understand but just hard enough to trip you up while playing them. On the hardest setting there are some truly challenging games in the list.

Graphics: The graphics are great. They look like an extremely complex cartoon that you control. The characters are very detailed as are some of the scenary items.

Audio: Sounds range from great to ok depending on the game. The characters voices are a little goofy and I can see why others have complained about that aspect of the game. I also got tired of the 3-2-1 countdown that can't be defeated.

Suggestions: Add more games

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Blood Wake

Overall: We (my son and I) played the game at a friends house for several hours afterwhich we rented it from Blockbuster. The interface is easy to master right off on Ensign mode which makes it quick to get started. The difficulty can be adjusted once you have the concepts down. I recommend a rental before purchase to make sure you like its strengths more than some of the weaknesses. We have rented it and will probably buy it once the game prices come down. Parents - while this game does involve "killing" other boats the violence level seems pretty light to me. It is rated a "teen" from ESRB but it doesn't seem too bad to us.

Gameplay: Gameplay is decent. As in my other reviews my point of view is that of a dad and his kids. From our perspective the game holds your interest yet isn't too simple for folks that play alot of games. The story book missions are progressive and require different skills although only the one mission proved to be extremely difficult to complete on Ensign mode. As others have stated multiplayer mode is weak. While it is ok for a while it gets kind of repetitive. Selection of boats is limited, venues for the battles are limited, no customization is available - all things that seemingly would only take minimal time to improve. If multi-player were better and boat customization were available this would rate a 5 for us.

Graphics: The graphics are great. I have noted other folks commenting on the asian influence - that didn't bother us. Wakes look like boat wakes, torpedoes in the water look like what I would imagine they would look like, and shallow water looks like it does when in a boat. This is a real strong point for the game.

Audio: Simply put - the sound is weak. I would expect a large cannon on your boat to make a retort that could be clearly heard - instead the player receives a muffled pop. The music is ok but I don't buy games for music. The announcer is ok. You will want to crank up the sound effects to the max and tone down the music when playing the game.

Suggestions: Improve multiplayer mode by providing more venues and a true cooperative mode. Generally, add more boats, add the ability to customize boats with tradeoffs for performance versus strength. Obviously work on the sound as that is the weakest part of the game.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Madden NFL 2002

Overall: I bought three games to go with the system. This is the one game I bought primarily for me. I have owned two other Madden titles (PC versions) and have liked them alot. My expectations were very high and in alot of ways this game has delivered. The graphics are great and the players in many instances perform in a fashion similar to real-life in the 2001 season. However the game has a couple of things that could be improved/changed.

As I have stated in previous reviews, I am just a dad with some PC game experience. I am not an advanced gamer spending hour after hour at the console. The hours listed in my reviews are a combination of my time and my family's time with each game.


Gameplay: First, the positives must be stated. The game is an improvement over the PC version of Madden 2001 (as you would expect). The plays selected generally work or don't work as expected against the selected defense, although there is room for the player to make a difference. Several of the players in the game tend to behave as those same players have behaved in real-life during this football season - people who fumble in the NFL seem to funble more in the game too. The negatives - so far there appears to be a slight AI advantage in the game. Passes are dropped by the player's team but are caught by the AI team. Same thing goes for interceptions - the AI team really seems to have an edge there. Who knows - perhaps this edge in difficulty will extend the game's lasting appeal.

A brief comparison - I had chance to play NFL Fever before I bought the Xbox. I played two mutiplayer games and had mastered that game by the end of the 1st quarter with our team winning both games. With Madden, I have played for over 10 hours and have yet to win a game. It isn't that the controls are bad or the gameplay is bad, it is the fact that strategy seems very important in Madden and slightly less important in Fever.

If you are a football junkie, I think Madden will be your long-term favorite. If you are more a player than a junkie give NFL Fever a shot.

For either game - mutiplayer games are HIGHLY recommended.

Graphics: The graphics are great (again expected). I played a night game in a storm and it was hard to see things. The snow in Lambeau made me want to put my cheesehead on. Even my wife (a casual observer most times) has made comments on how well the player movements appear and how "cute" the players look. This from someone who usually has no time for these types of games. I am sure improvements could be made here so hold on to your hats if they write Madden 2003 to take real advantage of Xbox's capabilities.

Audio: The sound was very good. As for Madden's comments - you either like him or you don't. His comments seem on target with the flow of the game. Perhaps after a few months I will have heard all of them enough to get sick of it. Some of the crowd noise is somewhat appropriate for the field in question.

I got spoiled by my nephew's PS2 NCAA football game where I could hear the Penn State fight song after every score. I had hoped for similar sounds in Madden. While there is some muffled "go something" in the background, there isn't the trademark "go Pack go" guitar rift. I didn't hear "Hail to the Redskins" either. On second thought though the Redskins didn't score in the one game I played with them so maybe it is there? These are all nit pick things though in the final evaluation - the cherry on top of the sundae.

Suggestions: Keep improving the video. I am sure it can be made better. If the AI does have an advantage (and it isn't just poor play by the user) perhaps we could come up with a screen where we could adjust the level of the advantage for each major unit - line play, QB, linebackers, secondary, etc. This would be better than the easy, normal, hard settings on most games.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 NBA Live 2002

Overall: So far so good. This is the first basketball game I have ever owned. I have played others on PS2 and the PC but never cared for the execution or how the controls worked. Both of my kids like the game and I find them playing it together on many occasions.

Don't overlook those Pepsi/Dew caps. I saved $10 off the price of this game by keeping those caps, plus I didn't have to pay for shipping. If you combine coupons and buy more than one game at a time you can save even more. Hurry that special ends 1/31.

Gameplay: The gameplay has been good so far. It was easy enough for the entire family to learn in a few minutes. However you must learn how to do the more advanced functions in order to be competitive at the higher levels. So for us parents we could be respectable without much practice while the kids are doing spin moves and fancy dunks. My only concern is that with a couple of months under our belts will the game continue to be the challenge it is today for us? Check back in a while for an update.

Graphics: The family is a bunch of Sixers fans. Interesting to see AI with all his tatoos plus facial features that look semi-real. The instant replays were annoying for a while but I have gotten used to them and kind of like them now. As with any game on PS2 or Xbox the visuals are decent. One recommendation is to consider the video connection upgrade if you TV can handle it. My friend has it going through the component inputs and the difference is enough to warrant the extra $20 if that stuff matters to you (it does for me).

Audio: The crowd reacts as it should - cheering and booing at the right times. The announcing is a little weak. The color commentator could be dramatically improved. Other than those comments - nothing special noted but then this isn't the type of game where outstanding sound effects would make a huge difference to me.

Suggestions: Crank up the video programming a bit more. That will set this game apart from the PS2 version. Team and individual defense logic could be improved to improve the lasting appeal.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Star Wars: Starfighter - Special Edition

Overall: I bought this game for some father-son multiplayer action. It does provide that but in a limited manner - only a few scenarios can be played this way and none of them are the main missions of the game. As for the single player game - it is decent overall with great graphics.

Gameplay: The gameplay is good with lots of shooting (as expected) and some interesting missions to complete. I liked how you gradually move through more difficult missions and how you move on to different members of the team with different ships. Some of the missions were extremely hard to complete requiring 5-10 tries to finally beat them (on easy mode). Remember though our perspective is that of a father and son and not one of the game playing "experts" that are found on many of these forums. For an advanced player this game may not be a challenge after a month or so.

Graphics: Simply put - the graphics are great. I am amazed at how real some of this stuff looks. Flying through a canyon makes me physically duck and swerve. Watching my son play the game on a large TV actually gave a few family members some dizziness.

Audio: The sound was good, there is good stereo separation and some degree of surround sound. Things far away and behind you sounded far away and behind you. The other pilot's chatter makes sense and is very clear.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

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