Total Reviews: 10
Average Overall Score Given: 8.10000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

Kakuto Chojin

Overall: I've been excited about this game since it was first announced, mostly due to the 4 player mode. Unfortunately aside from that mode this game is totally unappealing to me. While it seems to play slightly better than Xmen:ND it's not even close to DOA3 or Soul Calibur (DC).

Gameplay: Fighting system seems fairly shallow. Needs more moves and an in-depth counter system. Not enough characters. Arenas are boring .. just plain boxes with the occasional spot for a ring out. That may have cut it on PSX1 but it does not anymore.

Graphics: I guess this game is at least sylistic if not realistic. If you like the character style (which I don't) then you may very well love the game. The only reason it gets even this high a score is due to some great effects programming. Lighting, reflections, lens flare and particle effects all look great (except the molten metal sparks look a bit fake on bounce). Character models are somewhat comic-y but not to my taste. Most of them have huge bump-mapped muscles that don't deform in the slightest, and they are covered in a reflective coating (supposed to be sweat I guess) which lends to the impression that your fighter is wearing a shiny plastic 'muscle suit'. There are frequent jaggies in the backgrounds. Character animations could use some work, and there is often horrible clipping especially on the finishing attack. Take away all the fancy effects and this game is not up to next-gen standards.

Audio: Nice metal soundtrack. Good fighitng music. I hate most game soundtracks but was pleasantly surprised here.

Suggestions: Maybe 6 months to a year of extra development would have yielded better results.

Overall Score: 4.0 / 10 Quantum Redshift

Overall: This title will obviously appeal to fans of the Wipeout series and other combat racers. Unfortunately it's a better single player experience than multi.

Gameplay: It's all about speed! There are 5 different speed (difficulty) settings. Novice and intermediate are pretty easy but by the time you get to expert it ramps up quite quickly. You earn money for upgrades by beating your previous best score on each track. There are 6 pilots in each race, and staying on track is just as important as use of shields and weapons.

My biggest complaint here is in the multiplayer race. As a fan of wipeout I loved the 2 player tournament mode where you could play with a friend, and both race against the AIs. No such luck here, you can race with up to 3 of your friends but you'll be alone on the track.

Graphics: The graphics are pretty amazing. Not only does the landscape fly by at silky-smooth 60 fps, but everything looks amazing. Each vehicle has moving parts and will adjust in various ways when you tight turn, turbo, etc. The levels look great and there is a wide variety of terrains: track, dirt, snow, ice, water. The best effect has to be the beads of water that collect on your windshield from rain or splashing through water. They sort of crawl across the screen just like real droplets being pushed by the wind.

Audio: Loud engines, dolby 5.1, killer tunes, customizable soundtracks, minimal trash talking, what more could you ask for? Not everyone will be able to appreciate the pumping techno of Junkie XL, but they can listen to their own tracks. The only trash talking happens prior to the races, and with a nice nod to realism, the characters seem to speak in their native languages (english subtitles). Personally I find it annoying to have to listen to the same insults over and over while I race, so this is ideal.

Suggestions: System link play and 2 player tournament.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10 Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind

Overall: One of my most eagerly awaited xbox titles is finally here after many delays, but it sure was worth it! No this game is not like Final Fantasy or Diablo .. when you play Morrowind you will learn the true potential of an RPG to present an open-ended world of adventures. Yes, there are a few problems just as with any game so ambitious, but they are mostly minor irritations as long as you are sure to keep a few different save slots going so you can go back in case you get stuck or bugged.

Gameplay: Having not played the earlier Elder Scrolls titles the only comparison I can make is to say it's an open-ended plot and quest system similar to Fallout with a FPS engine along the lines of the old psx King's Field series. There is an amazing amount of depth here for a console RPG with complex systems for alchemy, combining spell effects, enchanting items, item durability, etc. You have a lot of choice customizing your character and you can create almost any fantasy character that you can think up, and then play them as that character would act.

Graphics: A very dark and distinctive visual style, it really looks great. All kinds of drool-inducing effects and it all runs nice and smooth.

Audio: There is 5.1 support and some nice music but it's really not too impressive. Don't expect much voice acting here, there is something like 6 novels worth of text in this game so be ready to do some reading.

Suggestions: Put out some nice mods in OXM.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Gunvalkyrie

Overall: Revives the classic feel of games like Contra and Metroid in a jaw-dropping 3d environment. You control a mech-suit that has a few weapons, a grappling hook and boost jets. Although the controls are different, boosting around is similar to VO:OT, and definately the prefered method of travel. GV may not appeal to the casual gamer, but if you are a fan of shooters, give this one a try.

Gameplay: The gameplay here rewards you based on what you put into it. If you are cautious and pick off enemies from a distance you really won't be getting the full experience here. The real adrenaline rush comes from boosting into the fray, racking up some boost combos to increase the power of your heat gun, and laying waste to the hordes of bugs crawling towards you. Once you are used to the controls, precision movements become second nature, and this is helped by a nearly flawless camera system. There are 2 characters, one for beginners and one for advanced, and each level you are graded in several areas (time, kills, completeness, etc.). Your reward for better scores is money you can use to upgrade your mech-suit. Even if the game is only 10 levels (plus 5 boss fights), hardcore gamers will doubtless want to replay various levels to try and maximize scores and upgrades.

Graphics: Great character models. Stunning environment mixes the 3d elements and quality of JSRF with the feel and color of PSO. Bugs splatter when shot, although the bodies don't hang around. Some of the insane boost battles with tons of enemies will result in some minor frame jitters, but it's hardly noticable. I only wish I could move the camera around my character to admire the details.

Audio: Music is ok, but soundtrack support would have been better. Sound effects are great. MS should release the Amped sound engine as a standard part of the XDK so all games would have custom soundtracks.

Suggestions: More levels, multi-player battle and/or co-op play, custom soundtracks.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3

Overall: More of what we've come to expect from THPS. Addictive gameplay, great levels and a more complex mission objectives. Some reviewer said this game couldn't be played well on an xbox controller .. but I prefer playing with my Mad Catz Pro to THPS 2 on DC.

Gameplay: Various multiplayer modes, online play over gamespy, create-a-skater, etc. If you like extreme sports games this is a must have.

Graphics: Graphics are fine but not spectacular. I do really like the blood splatters you leave as your face grinds across the pavement.

Audio: Sound effects are good, but you won't be hearing them too well with your custom soundtracks cranked up. This would be a 5 but this is another game that abruptly ends the song when your 2 minute level is over.

Suggestions: When a level ends, keep playing the song through the menu and into the next level. How many songs to you have that are only 2 minutes long? Most songs with anything of an intro are just getting good at the 2 minute point.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Jet Set Radio Future

Overall: Let me start out by saying the JSR series is not for everyone. If you have played the original, you probably know that most people will either love it or hate it. Personally I loved it, and JSRF meets all my expectations. The control changes take a little getting used to, but all in all they are great. I love the 'skate backwards' button .. that move was too hard in JSR.

For those who haven't played JSR, this game is fast paced combo of racing, extreme sports and platforming action, presented with flashy anime-style cell shading and a great DJ soundtrack. This is a very original game, it is not really anything like THPS or other similar titles, beyond the fact you can grind and perform tricks (tricks are not the emphasis though). Combine this with a great cyberpunk storyline about street punks fighting megacorps with spray paint and pirate radio, and you have a great game!

Haven't played multiplayer yet, but I love smilebit for including 4 player support. That will keep JSRF game from gathering up dust long after I beat it. So far it doesn't seem like the levels are scored, so it doesn't look like we'll have to suffer endlessly trying to get 'Jet' on all levels this time. Although I hope they included some other cool stuff to unlock to make up for it.

Gameplay: What can I say, it's great. I thought that taking the joystick movements away from graffiti would make it less fun, but actually it works out well and speeds up the pace of gameplay. I'm sure I won't miss standing there trying to finish a large tag while the cops beat the tar out of me. Tricks and skating backwards seem much easier. You can do insane grinds, like right up a vertical power pole. It seems like jump range has been increased, and fall damage reduced.

Graphics: I can't say I love the new speed effects they added for spray boost mode, but it's not horrible. Other than that minor gripe, it looks great. Good framerates, levels packed with detail, better character models, etc. Improved on all levels from JSR.

Audio: Doesn't look like you can play your own tracks, but there are plenty of great songs on the soundtrack. I also feel that the music adds greatly to the spirit of the game here. I always used to play JSR with the sound cranked way up, and I have no reason to do otherwise with JSRF.

Suggestions: Marry me! Custom soundtrack support would be cool, but I've heard there were legal concerns.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 New Legends

Overall: Beat-em-up with selectable weapons. Lack of game options/modes are kind of a drawback, but fast and fun gameplay and a great plot make up for it. It does have some technical issues like camera control and the way enemies will jump on your head, making it difficult to hit them. If you like Dynasty Warriors you will probably like this, although the lack of unlockable characters means less replay value. All in all a fun game, even if it has some problems.

Gameplay: It's all about the gameplay. Pick 2 1-handed weapons or 1 2-hander and smash your way through waves of enemies. Each weapon has it's own combos and characteristics, everything from clubs to futuristic guns. Missions usually involve combat, but not always, and the objectives are varied.

Graphics: Not really up to Xbox standards, but it looks as good or better than Obi-wan. Character models are blocky and the buildings are fairly undetailed. Animations look great though and the combos flow smoothly.

Audio: I almost promise you will want to turn down the effects volume. It seems much louder than the other sound, and sometimes makes it hard to hear the other characters (especially Boo (although it does keep a log of what they say)). Music has a Chinese theme, it fits, but isn't very memorable. Voice acting is miles better than what you usually get in action games.

Suggestions: More game modes, multiplayer, don't let enemies jump on your head.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Wreckless: The Yakuza Mission

Overall: Arcade style thrills, with graphics that will make your jaw drop. Limited game modes and no multiplayer reduce replay value, but I am guessing it will take a while to beat all 20 missions. After that there is hard difficulty and heavy traffic settings.

Gameplay: Gameplay is similar to Crazy Taxi on crack. Instead of driving people around you have to complete missions that usually consist of ramming some cars a lot. Play is fast and frantic .. the streets are packed with cars, people, stands, etc. Nearly everything is destructable. My one complaint is you drive right through trees and lightposts like they aren't even there.

Graphics: Wow. The lighting and reflections are amazing. There is so much going on at one time you will have trouble soaking it all in. Your car will get more and more trashed as you bang into things. I usually skip the replays, but this game puts them through various filters like nightvision, inverted colors, photorealistic, etc. that really make them enjoyable. Like watching a movie of the level you just played.

Audio: The only reason I can't give sound a 5 is no customizable soundtracks. Otherwise it sounds great, seems to take advantage of 5.1 sound.

Suggestions: Multiplayer and customizable soundtracks! Other than that, give yourselves a big pat on the back.

Overall Score: 10.0 / 10 Nightcaster: Defeat The Darkness

Overall: Not the flashiest game in the world, but makes pretty good use of the power of the box. The first spellcasting game out for Xbox, features easy to learn but tough to master addictive gameplay.

Gameplay: Dual analog controls make for fast and furious blasting of monsters with a variety of spells. Plays kind of like a 1-player cross between gauntlet legends and PSO. Creatures and spells belong to 1 of 4 elemental types, which oppose each other. You'll often have to experiment with various spells to find which one to use to roast certain beasties with maximum efficiency. Most of the bosses are tough and some of the best boss fights I've played since PSO. I beat the game in a week (about 20 hours), although that is due in large part to it's addictive nature. No multiplayer, options or difficulty setting seriously reduce replay value.

Graphics: The backgrounds are decent looking but unspectacular. Where this game really shines is in it's lighting, shadows and spell efects. Your shadow is realistic and deforms with your movements and the terrain. It's really quite impressive to spin the glowing spell orb around your character to watch the shadows dance around you. The spells are huge and varied, and look really great. My favorite has a giant skull that burst out of the ground, spinning and spitting out poison.

Audio: Forgettable music. Decent to lousy voice acting. You will definately get sick of hearing your favorite spells spoken over and over and over (and over) as you lay waste to the opposition.

Suggestions: Need multiplayer (coop and deathmatch), more options, some other game modes, and difficulty settings.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10

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