Total Reviews: 5
Average Overall Score Given: 9.78000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 14

Mass Effect

Overall: M@!%#*! Effect is a new generation of RPG that plays out in a very cinematic fashion with a focus on real-time action sequences and photo-realistic in-engine cut scenes to move the story along. I believe that this game will be remembered as the first in a trend toward a giant market of 'cinematic gaming' that will be realized in the next 5 years. This is now possible with the level of hardware technology in this generation and to a greater extent the next generation of consoles/PCs.

The story in the game puts most Sci-fi movies to shame, and although there are a few rough spots here and there (none of which detract from the game) it is a game that everyone should play through at least once.

I would have to say, that this game now sits tied for first in my all time gaming experiences with the m@!%#*!ively under-rated Phantom Dust. What pushes it all the way to the top? 1)Story, 2) Believable Characters made even more real by the spectacular voice talent employed, 3) Graphics, 4) The balance between game elements such as RPG elements, amount of action, pacing, different choices facing the player which begs for multiple play throughs.

All in all, this is a game that you will never forget playing, and one where you might go back to 6 or 12 months later and play again.

I am not a fan of Bioware's previous games by any means, but in this case Bravo. I sit here and I honestly can not believe that anyone would vote COD4 or Bioshock as game of the year over this game. This is a landmark game in the industry with what they have accomplished, and I truly believe that it is the future of gaming as we know it.

Gameplay: The game is based on a main mission, with side @!%#*!ignments that become available as you progress through the game. In my first playthrough, I only pursued a few side-missions, because being the impatient person I am, I wanted to move through the main story first.

I am not a big fan of RPGs, and I thought there would good RPG elements, but I could see some people who are really into RPGs being disappointed with this part of the game. For me, the RPG aspects were perfect - that being just the right amount of customization, equipment, levelling up etc. to blend with the level of action and pacing of the game.

The action elements are excellent, but again, I could see some FPS fans being disappointed. There is a lot of action, but there are also alot of time talking, exploring etc. The best part of the action, is the ability to choose how much control you have over the team members. You can set it so they use all their powers own their own, or you can stop the action every 2 seconds and choose for them. Therefore, this should allow for each gamer to customize the action experience to their liking. Just a note though, I wouldn't recommend letting the team have full auto-use of their powers as they use them like a drunken sailor and when you really need them they are re-charging. In general, I found the shooting very satisfying. Shotguns at close range, sniping, auto rifles all had excellent feel and dished out an acceptable level of damage.

Graphics: Visually, the game is top notch, dragged down by some rough patches. Cutting between in-engine cut-scenes was sometimes a little jerky, the Unreal engine is notorious for lagged loading of textures which pulls you out of the experience a little bit, and I noticed that the graphics level of polish overall declined in the last quarter of the game, as if they rushed near the end of production.

However, the few rough spots don't take away from the otherwise stellar environments, fantastic character models, terrific art design etc. etc. etc. Like I said in the overall description, this game is extremely cinematic and the graphics are part of that.

I have heard some complaining about the graphics, I have a 52" Sony XBR and trust me, on a good HDTV this game will not disappoint in the visual department with the right equipment.

Audio: It is difficult for me to grade the audio because I have to keep the volume low when I play. That being said, sometimes I felt the audio lacked balance between the music and the sound effects, and sometimes the sound seemed a little muffled. Voices during cut-scenes were very good, clean. The music was hit and miss for me, sometimes excellent music, sometimes a little uninspired. Gun sounds were just ok, but I did not notice a difference in the guns as they were upgraded and all the guns in a cl@!%#*! all sounded the same. So, overall, the audio was definitely the weakest part of the game for me. I may change my mind though if I ever get to play it at the proper level on my home theatre system speakers.

Suggestions: In this case I hope they hurry with a sequel. Keep the pacing, story as good as the first. Let me take my character with me into the next game. Clean up some of the transitions between cut-scenes, add some more weapon types, and figure out how to reduce the texture loading. Otherwise, I really can't see what else they could do to improve this game, it really is a landmark game.

Overall Score: 9.8 / 10 Call of Duty 3

Overall: Found this game new for $19.98, bought it even though COD4 is the big thing, and what did I get? A really good game.

Alot of reviews bashed this game, but the single player is fun (although difficult on harder setting I am currently playing) and the multiplayer is really better than I thought. I haven't played as much multiplayer on any previous game (XBOX or XBOX 360) than I have in the short time I have had this game. Multiplayer graphics are very good and hit detection pretty accurate.

I am not really into Modern Warfare, so this game really appealed to me. I am not sure if I would play the singleplayer more than once, but the multiplayer makes this a game I keep popping into my XBOX day in and day out for a little stress reduction.

Gameplay: Aim, shoot, duck. Pretty straightforward FPS. The only thing this game is missing is the GOW and M@!%#*! Effect sprinting.

Online I do pretty well and I am usually at the lower end of the skill spectrum, which leads me to believe this game is more balanced than some others.

The single player is a little bit too scripted. Because of this, it is enjoyable the first time through, but I doubt I would play it through from start to finish again. A little more open-ended would have helped the single player campaign.

Vehicles in multiplayer are a nice addition.

Graphics: Single player visuals are good, but a bit drab in the colour department - although better colour than GOW.

Multiplayer graphics are fantastic, in some cases they seem better than the single player.

There are other games with better graphics I guess (not much though) but this runs as smooth as silk at what looks like 60fps solid.

So, top 20% in graphics I would say. Good enough that many times the graphics look photo-realistic and you would show someone how good it looks.

Audio: I can't play games loud, but the sound is non-stop with the action. Sound mix is good ie. you hear the voices over the sound effects, and stuff far away sounds far away, and the close sounds close.

Guns sound like they should I guess.

I think the best part of the game is the whizzing of the bullets, they really make you duck for cover.

Suggestions: Fix my free Valor map pack please that was supposed to come with this game. The code did not work.

Otherwise, I guess I will have to try COD4 to see if they finally implemented the sprint from GOW and M@!%#*! EFFECT.

Overall Score: 9.1 / 10 Brute Force

Overall: Brute Force is an excellent game that got swamped by too much hype and too many Halo comparisons. As a squad based shooter, each character has very different skills and learning to use them for the right situations is the key to success in this game. This is one of the few games that I have gone back and played levels multiple times because I realized there were better ways to use my squad to accomplish the mission. One problem with the game was the fact that on the easy or "Standard" difficulty you could just shoot your way through the missions with no strategy and not utilizing the squad's abilitites. This is why many poeple had the initial impression that the game was not very good. If you try the game start on Hard and you will be forced to learn the squad tactics - and you will enjoy the game alot more.

Gameplay: The 3rd person view is not my favorite, but it makes life easier considering you are constantly switching between different characters. Using the squad tactics you will move through levels at a much slower pace, positioning your group correctly (ie. fallback sniper support, main gunners high on the left and right, etc. etc.) as you move toward main and secondary targets. People said that Brute Forces levels were short, well, thats not the case for me. A level will last about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. The key problem as stated before is that on the easy level you could just run and gun and finish some levels in 20 minutes. One area that could have been improved, however, is the level design. As a squad based game, the key is to position your squad for optimum attack efficiency. Very often though, the levels are through canyon-like areas that relegate your team to filing through in line. The developers should have had more access to high points and the ability to flank your enemies. Also, enemies are too quick to notice your approach making it difficult to get into position for maximum effectiveness.

Graphics: Brute Force looks absolutely stunning on my 84" projection tv. Maybe the best yet of all my games. Character designs are excellent and detailed and bump-mapping is everywhere. I am constantly in awe of the skies and particle effects (many levels feature volcanic smoke and airborne dust floating) that are going on even in a full fire-fight with explosions etc. Not a single spot of slowdown with all this going on. This is why I hate multi-platform games that don't use the XBOX's power. Anti-aliasing is being used and sometimes you realize, hey, no jaggies hardly at all (unlike EA games where jaggies rule the screen!) The best, however, is the sniper views which utilize depth-of-field focusing which really adds to the realism. Finally, the rag-doll physics are amazing - shoot enemies up close with Brutus' shotgun and you will see what I mean.

Audio: The sound in this game is definitely above average. Different objects sound different when you shoot them. The music score during levels is grand and involving. You will shoot enemies even when they are dead with Tex's mini-gun just to hear the bullet impact sounds. The sound effects are so well done and natural that at first you don't notice them. But once you do you will pay attention more and appreciate them.

Suggestions: Step back and look at the game's objectives - squad-based shooter. Now, design the levels that will really take advantage of having a group with different skills and make the levels force you to use those skills. This is probably the number one reason that Brute Force got dissed by the gamers - they could run'n'gun and then thought the game sucked. Also, improve the AI so that enemies can be more easily surprised if you were stealthy and snuck up on them. Add XBL of course. Try to meet your deadlines - the delays hurt the game. Otherwise, great job and I look forward to the sequel!

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

Overall: Overall, this game should be experienced by everyone who owns an XBOX. XBOX promised to be a different kind of gaming experience and Oddworld proves that. If you are tired of the thousands of duplicate sport games or just the tired old formula games this game is for you. It's unique, addictive, fun, funny, it has it all. Support this game because the developers chose to only support XBOX because it was the only system they felt could bring their world to life!

Gameplay: Basically I had to think hard to get through each level. Sometimes you had throw your buddies over the wall, other times you had to carry them. You were never sure whether to use Munch or Abe because each have their own specialties. Often, I would not finsh the level, take a break and then come back and it would click - I dunno, maybe I am a little slow but I found the game just the right level of challenge.
Some people said they felt it was repetitive, I personally didn't find that. In fact, each level seemed to require completely different actions and solutions.

Character movement was smooth with jumping and other actions were all easy to time and execute. I found the game extremely playable with no frustrations regarding control or camera issues.

Graphics: What can I say but I wish all games were this polished graphically. Beautiful graphics all around that really bring this world to life. The characters are great also. The lighting is well done, with the clouds passing overhead causing the sun to wash across the levels.

Heres the best part, the graphics look even better on my 84" projection TV than my 27" Sony. Usually many games looks worse when magnified to that size - not this game. They must be pretty hi-res.

Audio: The sound in this game is great also. The music fits perfectly, and really accentuates the action by getting louder and more upbeat when really hectic chases are occuring. The sound effects are excellent. I love the squeaky wheels when Munch rides his wheel chair and the "sproing" when he hops around.
Characters all have neat voices. Its hilarious when you pick the dogs up with the crane and they struggle and bark. All in all the sound is just as polished as the rest of the game.

Suggestions: There is not much you can say but "Great Job!" The oddworld website says that the next game should be out Q4 2003 - If it is even at least the same quality as this game then we are in for another gaming treat. I can't wait.

If they could add some kind of system-link coop or multiplayer elements that would just be too good to be true.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Enclave

Overall: Overall, this game is great and I don't even like these types of games. I rented it first because I heard mixed reviews. I don't know what the reviewers were smoking but this game is one of the best on the box. Needless to say I went and bought it. Replay value is very high since you can go through to find gold you missed, and there are several characters you can use, each has their own weapons, strengths and weaknesses. It is interesting to see how some areas are hard with some characters and easier with others. Graphically, it stands as one of the elite (if not the best) on the box. Don't listen to the reviews - rent it and see for yourself. I saw reviews for Splashdown which averaged about 1 point higher than for Enclave and Splashdown was a 45 minute bore.
This game will be a showcase game when friends come over to check out the box - it will sell boxes.

Gameplay: What can you say about a game that lets you play in 1st or 3rd person view and also lets you snipe with arrows, shoot spells like a photon gun, and whack the crap out of enemies. Highly varied gameplay and you can choose how you want to play. Sometimes I try and get through levels just by sniping, other times I go the hack and slash route - it's your choice.
The lack of save points bothered people, but I'll tell you, when a huge axe bearing fully armoured beast comes running around the corner you get really scared because unlike other games this is really like life and death. The save system may be frustrating for some, but I think those are people who rent and want to finish the game in a weekend. Anyway, there are save points right before boss battles. Highly addictive. There is always something new in each level that you go "wow, that's cool!"

Graphics: What can I say, this game has no equal in the graphics department. Every level has an astounding amount of detail and ambience. Also, each level has a really different atmosphere than the others. The variety is really good.
Poly counts on enemies are amazing. They are so good, that sometimes I use my sniping arrows to zoom in close on the enemy and just look at them. Snottlings are scary especially when in zoom mode their little beaty red eyes just flicker on and off. They even breathe.

Audio: Overall sound effects are great. Voice acting is very good. Weapon sounds are great. Characters grunt when swinging heavy weapons. Music is amazing. This sounds like a high budget movie score with a full orchestral and choral ensemble.

Suggestions: With the variety of weapons and characters this game begs for multiplayer levels. They could have just used the existing game levels which have alot of potential as multiplayer maps.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10

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