Total Reviews: 4
Average Overall Score Given: 7.75000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 12

Pirates: Legend of Black Kat

Overall: I have been playing this game around 7 or 8 hours now and I can say that I am really enjoying it. The game has been described as Zeldaish and it has its similarities. You travel around by ship to different island chains battling other ships at sea and various enemies on land. throughout the game you pick up 5 different swords and various thrown weapons such as knives, bombs, poison darts. You also pick up varios idols, allowing you to cast spells damaging enemies within a short distance as well. Also, as you progress in the game you pick up health hearts which increase your overall health bar. It's an adventure game which, so far, has been really fun to play...

Gameplay: The gameplay is pretty basic. At sea you can battle ships using your cannons, by ramming and have the ability to purchase some other weapons such as stink bombs, fire pots, and chain shot which damage other boats sails and hull in different ways. The ship battles are pretty fun and take a bit of strategy, you have to try to avoid the other ships cannons while at the same time manoevering to get in a position to do the most damage yourself. At first you start out with a small boat with few cannons but fairly rapidly you can earn enough money to buy bigger boats which can hold more cannons and cargo. You also have to use your ship to take over forts on land, again you have to find a spot where you aren't vulnerable and can do the most damage yourself. Once a fort is taken over, you can use it to buy supplies and repair your ship. While on land you use use your sword to battle enemies for the most part, but the addition of longer range weapons helps out with some of the more annoying enemies such as the Totems which chase you down pretty quickly. The land combat is pretty simple, you have the ability to use your sword, jump, jump and use your sword or use an item such as a mini keg (grenade) or a spell. The buttons are pretty well laid out, the green button uses your sword, the red button jumps, the yellow button uses your selected secondary weapon and the blue button uses your special attack which you charge up fighting enemies. The white and black buttons cycle through your inventory. The right trigger opens treasure chests and digs up buried treasure, while the Back button brings up your maps. The left thumbstick moves the character and the right thumbstick moves the camera (which is really useful in ship battles to find out where you are being attacked from). The controls are fairly straightforward and take only a few minutes to get the hang of. There are many things you can do in the game and the button layout allows you to do it without any difficulties. Overall the game has been really fun so far. Early on, the game is a bit slow, but as you progress into the game you'll face more and more enemies at once. When this happens, you'll find youself swordfighting and at the same time trying to lob mini kegs to take out an enemy with a long range weapon as well. It takes a bit of strategy and some much needed health drinks sprinkled throughout the island to make it to the end sometimes.

Graphics: The visuals in the game get mixed reviews from me. While on your boat the islands, other boats, water, skies look fantastic. Every now and then you'll see a giant turtle or squid swimming by underneath the water. Close to shore you can see the bottom of the ocean and sunken boats which are both really well done. When you fire your cannons your boat rocks from the recoil, when you destroy another boat, flaming parts of it go flying all over the place and even make splashes as they land. Everything has a sense of realism about it. When you beat a fort, I find the animations there a bit cheesy however.... While on land it's a bit of a different story. While the enemies look good, the environments feel a bit painted and not textured properly, Something is a bit lacking there. It doesn't take away from the overall fun factor though which is a good thing. I have noticed a bit of slowdown from time to time while on land. I'm not sure why this happened, nothing was going on, I was just walking up a hill. Other times when there are 8 or 9 enemies on the screen at once everything ran smoothly... The PS2 version was said to be blurry, but the Xbox version seems very clear to me, you can even see enemies far off in the distance swinging their swords in anticipation of cutting you to ribbons.....

Audio: The sound is well done, the clank of the swords during battle, explosions of ships being destroyed, the death cries of your enemies are all done well. As you approach an unknown area or engage a ship in battle the music picks up and adds to the atmosphere. Overall the music is well done, it fits an adventure game very well.

Suggestions: Hmmm, I'd spruce up the land textures for starters. Sometimes your sword feels a little slow, especially when facing a more advanced enemy, maybe it's just my timing though lol... My only other peeve is that you have to cycle through your inventory while engaged in battle, if you have many items, finding the one you want takes time and can get you killed. If there was an inventory screen you could go to which paused the game while you selected an item would have been better in my books.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3

Overall: Before I bought this, I had never really played this series much. It's turned out to be really addictive and, at the moment, never gets taken out out my Xbox. It's got a bit of a steep learning curve but once you get the hang of it, the controls seem pretty natural. If you liked the street challenges in JSRF you'll love this game, it's tougher because you have to select which tricks you want to do and get the timimg down, whereas in JSRF all your tricks are done for you....

Gameplay: If you haven't played this game before and depending on your skill, it'll take a little while for you to get the hang of the controls. It involves a lot of button combos combined with choosing a direction on the thumbstick. So far I have been playing in Career mode where you have to complete challenges to progress and open up new locations. Some are pretty straightforward and some are pretty !&%$@#* hard (at least for me) the toughest objectives being racking up large scores. I still have to get the hang of reverts and manuals to continue my combos (a little tough at the moment lol). I find that time flies when I'm playing this game, I sit down to play and next thing you know 3 hours have passed.... Crazy.... Anyway, I love it...

Graphics: To me it looks pretty !&%$@#* sweet, everything runs smoothly and the levels are detailed well. I love the fact that when you complete certain objectives the people you have helped still interact with the game. A guy who's tongue was stuck to a frozen pole runs around yelling "I'm Free, I'm free" (sounding like he has an injured tongue). Little things like that make a game more fun in my opinion.

Audio: Ahh the sound, again, done very well. You can tell the difference between surfaces you ride or grind on. The sounds of your bails are realistic and some even make me wince when they happen. There's nothing like the sound of your face whacking off of steel pipe... The soundtrack is awesome, but a little short. You have the option of ripping your own tracks though so you can't really complain here. Motorhead rules!

Suggestions: Can't really think of too much really, the tutorial is done well. Maybe make the soundtrack a bit longer next time. If the next THPS is this much fun they'll have done their job...

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Blood Wake

Overall: Ummm, this one goes on my list of games I wish I didn't buy unfortunately... The appeal of taking out boats in a huge firefight appealed to me. Even though you get to blast away and take out enemy boats, this got very stale very quickly. By about mission 16 I was wishing the game was over already.... Not a good sign....

Gameplay: Here we go, at first I loved this game. I found myself drawn in, for the first few hours I loved taking everything in sight out (even my own boats from time to time to get my sidekick squawking lol). Once I had seen what all the weapons could do I think I had my fill of this game. The missions got really hard and I just lost interest... Sometimes when you get hit your boat flies into the air and takes forever to fall down again, this is soooo frustrating. A lot of the time when you finally land you have been hit three or four more times and are ready to "sleep with the fishes"... Also if you try and turn too tightly you'll find yourself being thrust into reverse, very annoying if you're trying to avoid being hit and flung into the air and oh boy I have already mentioned that aspect.... One really annoying part of the game is that you are forced to take the boat offered to you for each mission, you have no choice at all. I think I would have liked this game a lot more if I had a choice of which boat to use... The water physics are cool, the high point of this game, but is that what I bought this game for? To me it just lost its fun factor after a while. I ended up using a cheat to finish the game on Ensign (just to unlock more boats and arenas for multiplayer). I don't think I want to go back and try the harder difficulties (with the cheat) to unlock other boats and arenas. Ah well what can you do? This game just wasn't my style....

Graphics: The boats do look cool, you can see pistons pumping, the props spinning and your boat makes decent looking wake. The weapon animations are nice, you can see shell casings from your machine gun flying by when you fire it. When you reverse, your character turns around to look behind him which I thought was kinda neat. The water looks nice and your boat gets tossed around depending on the action around you and the weather conditions. The shoreline and the objects based on shore aren't all that well done though, but hey, it's the stuff that going on on the water that matters for the most part. It's not in the same class as a few of the visually stunning games out for the box so far for it is decent.

Audio: The sound for this game isn't all that good, for all the destruction that goes on in this game I'd expect a lot more noise. Most of the time all you hear is your engine revving and the sound of your machine gun. The Asian based music is ok, it fits the game well but I think I'd rather hear my own soundtrack for this one for sure.... The voice acting is a bit over the top but some people like this, it wasn't really my cup of tea though...

Suggestions: Hmmm, not sure what to say. I'd have to sit down with them and show them my list of faults lol. Make the boats fall like they weigh something, figure out a better way to get your boat to reverse, use a button perhaps? Umm, let the player have an option on which boat they'd like to use. Let the player customize the weapons they'd like to carry. Let the user create their own sountrack. Make the shore objects a bit more detailed. Use cutscenes to show what is going on between missions, what works for Max Payne doesn't work here... I know I will think of more....

Overall Score: 5.0 / 10 Wreckless: The Yakuza Mission

Overall: I read a lot about this game in various forums and decided I'd give it a try even though there were mixed opinions about it. I have been playing it for just about 6 hours (and am not close to finishing it, yet. I guess I'm uncoordinated lol). Anyway, I like it very much.

Gameplay: To me it appears that you will either love this game or hate it, there doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground. I love to tackle a mission until I have beat it and this game has given me plenty of that. Some missions are pretty !&%$@#* easy and some are pretty damn hard. I must have spent a couple of hours alone on the "dump truck" and the "hidden films in the dim sum stand" missions alone. Trying to complete the dim sum mission AND unlocking the truck in the time allowed seemed pretty tough to me. Once you get a good strategy the missions will seem pretty easy afterwards. A couple of issues I do have is that the cars do feel a little light, they take forever to fall once airborne. Also they take forever to reset once on their roof, when you battle the clock this eats up valuable time... A few times as well my car has somehow managed to wedge itself into the floor on one of the levels (on the dump truck mission particularly) and just sits there, I can't move or anything and it doesn't reset. I ended up having to restart a couple of times because of this. People have complained about how long it takes to stop, I see their point but it doesn't really bother me. I find that turning around the corners at speed isn't too hard either, depending on the vehicle you use. Turning around in narrow spots has cause me some grief though... Some people keep complaining about the monster trucks flipping, they do this in real life, they are top heavy lol. I am still getting to know the environment and look forward to finding shortcuts and other goodies. I would recommend this to people who aren't looking for a racing simulation because it really isn't that type of game at all. To me (owning PGR as well) it offers a different driving experience, it is more of an arcade feel for sure. You can always fall back on wrecking stuff if you're frustrated (something I have wanted to do in PGR from time to time). All in all I like this game, I am glad I gave it a chance.

Graphics: Visually this game is great, once you see everything that is going on around you, you'll be impressed. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is how good this game looks. I have noticed a bit of stutter from time to time but very rarely... The camera angles are a bit of a pain every now and then though. If you slide down a steep hill, you get a nice closeup of dirt (sarcasm) and sometimes when you get wedged into a corner or try to turn close to a building, you get a nice shot of the back wall of the building (again, sarcasm). This really doesn't take away any enjoyment for me but a issue that should be looked into....

Audio: Honestly, if I didn't know there was music in the game I would have sworn it was nonexistant. I guess I have to adjust the volume settings or something because I never really notice the music once I am playing... The engine sounds are pretty good, and the damage sounds are VERY noticeable but the music never caught my attention. Is this good or bad? I don't know, I personally don't buy games for the music lol... You can't load your own soundtrack here either...

Suggestions: Ummm, make the cars fall faster for one. Clean up the camera angles and the ability for your car to become wedged in objects causing you to resort to restarting. Make it multiplayer, beating up on the computer is fun but you can't trash talk it like you can to your buddies....

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

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