Total Reviews: 4
Average Overall Score Given: 8.50000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 1270

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Overall: The follow-up to the critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto 3 and it's more then worthy sequel, Vice City. You play as Carl "CJ" Johnson, a gangbanger who's been away from all the action going down in San Andreas. Carl's mom and younger brother have been killed so it looks like Carl's coming home to bury his deceased mother. Along the way, CJ is framed by Officer Tenpenny(voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) and his ass-kissing partner, Officer Pulaski for the murder of another Officer. So now it's up to CJ to clear his name and take control of the streets. Is San Andreas God's gift from Heaven like all the PS2 owners have been claiming it to be for the past 9 months, or is it a poorly made game just looking to push the envelope with gangs, murder, car theft, and of course, hookers?

Gameplay: San Andreas is arguably the greatest Grand Theft Auto game ever. The game play is solid. Everything you know and love from the past 2 GTA games are return including a boatload of new features. There's a new shooting mechanism, for instance, that has the camera placed over your shoulder but allows free look. Basically, it's an improved version of Manhunt. In San Andreas, you can jack numerous types of vehicles including cars, boats, motorcycles, planes, and helicopters. Hell, that's not even including the sub-category of vehicles like Quads and BMX bikes. The vehicles control nicely, although there is a problem with drive-bys. You have to press down 3 buttons(that doesn't include using the L-Stick and right trigger to drive)to do drive bys and it is a very hard task. What happened to the other control scheme like in Vice City were the A button was used to accelerate and so forth, this problem should've been taking care of. Rockstar has made the Planes easier to control now, as well. New to San Andreas, is the ability to go to clothing stores and choose what you want to wear, instead of just going around and collecting one whole outfits like you did in Vice City. Your also required to feed CJ and make him excercise. CJ can be molded into whatever you want him to be. Do you want him to be a muscular, intimidating, badass? Or how about some fat slob who can run about as fast as grass grows? Whatever you want to make of him, then go for it. Your appearance does, however, effect how people act towards you. The replay value is one of the greater things about San Andreas. Off the top of my head you can play pool, play basketball, break into someone's house and steal whatever loot is inside, perform pimping missions, race, skydive(yea, they put parachutes into GTA now...),and do lowrider missions. Oh yeah, there's also the normal Taxi, Cop, Ambulance, and Fire truck missions as well. There's always something to do. San Andreas is HUGE, you could fit Liberty City and Vice City in it and still have ton's of room. Also, there are no loading times other then the start-up one and the lesser ones you get once you enter a building. The game maintains a decent frame-rate and only slows up once you have about 20 cars on the screen from an explosion of some sort. Overall, San Andreas's gameplay keeps you wanting to play more and doesn't get boring for a while, which is how gameplay should be.

Graphics: San Andrea's visuals are not ground-breaking, but it does have it's moments. There are some blocky textures here and there and some of the character models could have used the work but hey, this game isn't (or couldn't be, for that matter)supposed to be Doom 3 or Splinter Cell. I don't remember the Mars Facility in Doom 3 being as big as San Andreas. So you know the graphics aren't going to be as ball-bustlingly good as one might hope. One big problem however is pop-up. What is pop-up you ask? You know when buildings, foliage, and other manmade structures just pop up from out of no where in games like GTA? That's pop-up. I never experienced it on my Xbox (which I got in 2003) but once I brought it over to a friends whose Xbox he had just received for Xmas to play. Pop-up was more horrible then you could ever imagine. Normally things pop-up when they're about 500 feet away from you but in San Andreas, things pop-up about 2 inch's away from you. This makes it mind-blowingly frustrating in races and such when trees just appear out of nowhere just before you smack into them (Yea, I drive on sidewalks and run into trees, streets are for sissies.).

Audio: Amazing, just amazing. The A-list of celebrity voice actors are top-notch, ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to David Cross. Also, the radio stations are done exceedingly well. The licensed music really sets the mood for the early 90's in which San Andreas takes place in. Rockstar even went a step further and enabled custom soundtracks which you can now mix with commercials to give a real feel to it.

Suggestions: Like with Vice City, add another control scheme, drive-by's are hard enough. Also, do something about the pop-up, it's just plain horrible in San Andreas.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay

Overall: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay is an excellent Stealth/FPS. The best looking XBox game yet.

Gameplay: In The Chronicles of Riddick you play as everyone's favorite anti-hero, Riddick. As the game begins, Riddick is being transported to the infamous prison, Butchers Bay. "Prison? Pshh, no prison can hold Riddick!" which is what you'd be thinking, but you see, no one has ever escaped Butchers Bay and from the look things, it doesn't look like Riddick will be the first. But any who, your main object is to escape Butcher's. Seeing as Riddick can't use the guards weapons (at the start atleast) since they are DNA encoded (or in otherwords, you fry if you attempt to fire a single round) but if you press the right trigger right as a guard attempts smack you with his gun, you'll pull the barrel under his chin and force him to cap himself, !&%$@#* ing sweet .You'll mainly be using your fists and various prison crafted weapons such as a shiv or knuckle-duster. You can use these weapons to break locks, lights, and faces. Once said lights are out, you can circle around behind a guard and proceed with snapping his neck like a twig. It's a whole different story once Riddick hacks the Mainframe and is able to use the Assault Rifle. Which reminds me, you'll face a variety of guards, armored mechs, bigger armored mechs, and flesh devouring aliens. The story for The Chronicles of Riddick is pretty good, numerous times once you think you've ended the game, it finds a way to pull you back in with one of the many minor plot twists. One last thing, there is no multiplayer in TCOR, whatsoever which is not so much a bad thing. TCOR is about 10-12 hours long and you should get bored after you beat the game. What does help though is that there is around 100 unlockable items in the form of cigarette packs. Unlockable items range from early demos of the game to concept art from the movie and game. Overall the gameplay hardly gets repetative and manages to be enjoyable.

Graphics: Clearly the best looking Xbox game yet! Normal mapping is pulled off marvelously but in the game is overused too much. Only grip is with the cutscenes, they sometime start out "fuzzy" but is only a minor detail that shouldn't subtract from the games overall value.

Audio: Amazing. More then half of TCOR's Voice Talent is recognizable such as Vin Diesel, Xzibit, Ron Perlman, and many more and even rarer is that they all sound perfect. Guards heckle and taunt you to come out of hiding, neck snapping sounds so realistic that you'd swore you were watching one of Steven Seagull's movies.

Suggestions: Well, the sequel is already in the works, make it longer, also deal with the fuzzy graphics and ease up on normal mapping.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Manhunt

Overall: In Carcer City,nothing matters anymore and all that's left are cheap thrills. The ultimate rush is the power to grant life and take it away, For sport.This time James Earl Cash, you are the sport.They gave you your life back. Now they are going to take it.

Gameplay: Manhunt is a 3D Shooter/ S/H genre of game.You play as James Cash.You see, Cash was put on death-row but was later freed by a directer named Starkweather.....or so he thought.James is hunted by gangs who are payed to track Cash down and slaughter him using weapons ranging from Plastic Bags to M4 Colts.As you would expect Cash can use these weapons too and since he was sentenced to death because of his murderous past, you know he has some skill with a weapon.Cash can use melee weapons to perform gruesome executions each more violent then the last.You can also use a variety of ranged weapons.I personally love the over the shoulder aiming camera.Your ultimate goal is to survive but later towards the end you have other plans on what to do.Gameplay is pretty decent but it just feels like your running from one dark place to the other.Gets boring way to easily.

Graphics: Visuals have a very grainy(in a good way)look as if it were being filmed from a real camera.Kudos to Rockstar for that bit of detai.The environments look pretty bland though.

Audio: The sound is possibly the best thing about this game.Impailing someone with a crowbar sounds Voices are kind of lame but the sound of hitting and killing the hunters sounds disgusting and real.

Suggestions: If you make another Manhunt which I strongly suggest you dont,make it a little more exciting.Also, make it seem like theres more of a purpose then just surviving.Overall, Manhunt is an interesting game.Keep it away from the "you

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Overall: Thrilling RPG set in the Star Wars universe.Great if you have 40+ hours to burn. Only complaint I have is that it gets boring somewhat quickly.

Gameplay: KotOR(thats Knights of the Old Republic for those of you who have been under a rock for the past year)is set 4000 years before the movies.You play as a character who you create who wakes up on a Republic vessel that is under attack by the Sith.Having no clue about how or why your there, you attempt to escape the ship before it becomes another statistic in this brutal war.But do not worry, you are not alone.You will have 11(if you include Trask) party members who each have their own unique personalities, talents, and even quests.The game uses a real-time turn base system which at first sounds like a terrible idea but is actually pretty cool.You combat enemies like the Sith to thugs to strange creatures using melee weapos like Vibroswords and lightsabers, or you can use Ranged Weapon's like blasters.You can interact with NPC's(thats Non-playable characters for the rock people) to find new quests.There is over 10'000 lines of diolague in the game so you are given multiple choices on what to say.KotOR's story is very intriguing and one of the best RPG's I ave ever played.However, the game is quite easy no matter what setting you have it on. Also, once you see both endings and after the 4th time I went through the game I got bored.

Graphics: The visual's are actually quite amazing in KotOR.I'll tell you one thing, it definitely has its moments.

Audio: Sound is average. Exactly what you would expect from a Star Wars game.Dialogue is well done and the voice's sound great.

Suggestions: The bar is raised. Let's see someone else climb over it.Best RPG on XBox in my opinion.Hopefully Bioware, you know what your doing by have Obsidian
develope KotOR 2:The Sith Lords(Due December 6th). Nevertheless, I have faith.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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