Sunday, February 26, 2006

Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PS2)

Reviewed by Kit
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Let me begin by saying, I don’t play survival horrors. I find I’m bad at them, and while I love the plots, the monsters scare me. That said, I loved this game. I didn’t want to put it down, and I still am hesitant about writing the review because I haven’t beaten all the hidden bonuses yet. But that will most likely never happen, so here goes the review.
Story: Normally, I don’t place story first, but I feel it is important to talk about the plot first. You play Rei for most of the game, a young photographer who recently lost her fiance in a car accident. While photographing an old manor, she sees her dead lover and decides to follow him. In this vision she has, a tattooed woman touches her, and when Rei comes out of the dream, a tattoo begins to grow on her. Every night Rei sleeps she returns to the manor and is hunted by ghosts. Only the Camera Obscura that she finds is able to damage these ghosts. There’s a lot going on story wise, and I couldn’t even dream of going into it all. 5/5
Gameplay: As far as controls go, the game is very simple to manage. As you upgrade your camera battles become, if not easier, a lot not so difficult to manage. Your character can run, though she is very slow. 4/5
Graphics: The graphics are very well done. Characters look realistic, ghosts look realistic, and the movie cut scenes are absolutely gorgeous. The atmosphere is a well done in a wonderfully creepy way. The dream manor is decaying and terrifying, and eventually ghosts begin to appear in the real world, making even her seemingly bright apartment a terrifying place. 5/5
Audio: The music is very faint, and very subtle. Like the graphics, the audio does an excellent job of terrifying players. Also sometimes there are creepy voices in the background. The one flaw with the voice acting is that at times there are no subtitles, so it is difficult to be sure what people are saying. 4/5
: Upon completion there is an extras mode where you can unlock movies and alternate costumes, do extra missions, and play through again with a larger ghost list. Not only that, but there is an alternate ending. And all of you camera upgrades carry over into the new game. 4/5
: Again, I didn’t expect to like this nearly as much as I did, but I loved this game. It was fun, it was creepy, and I bought myself a copy. It took me about 15 hours to get through the main game, and I spent even more time thinking about the story and what was happening. I would recommend this for anyone who likes good plots and knows how to run from ghosts. 5/5

Friday, February 24, 2006

Yuuki's Tales of Legendia (PS2)

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Hello again readers! Long time no see, I have returned to do the Review of Tales of Legendia. Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of the Tales series and I have high expectations for each installment. This was again a great game in a great series. Taking place on a giant moving island/ship called the legacy and revolving around the racial wars between the people of the land and the people of the sea. You take on the role of the Hero Senel, and a cast of 7 others ranging from a perky treasure hunter to and oblivious demi-goddess. So let's begin.

This again another great plot. Senel starts out traveling with his sister Shirley on a boat. They soon find themselves shipwrecked on a giant moving Island called the Legacy which is actually an ancient ship. Shirley becomes ill after being exposed to sea water which she is deathly allergic to. Then like the typical dumb damsel she gets kidnaped and the insanity of trying to get her back ensues. The bulk of the game consist of you trying to get Shirley back as everyone is trying to use her as a weapon due to her hidden powers. Along the way you'll meet the rest of the cast. The story is good and moved along well by nice cut scene and decent flash backs. 4/5

If you've played a Tales game you know the gameplay pretty well already as it hasn't changed much. Battles are fun and consist of simply either punching your foes to death or using your special attacks called Eres to extra damage. At any point you can switch your active character to one of you teammates. You can also set the R2 and L2 to commands for having your teammates do specific special attacks. Link them properly and you can rack up giant combos. Simple and functional no unnecessary quirks to slow you down. 5/5

A marvel to look at, the game is freaking pretty. Character designs are bright and vibrant. Talking scenes are usually accompanied by anime style graphic equipped with facial expressions and everything. Ares and detailed and just nice to look at. Spells and special attacks all seem a bit familiar but are none the less cool to look at. Add in some nicely animated cut scenes at the end of each chapter and you have a graphically great game. 5/5

Voice acting can be hit or miss. Sometimes it was really on and I loved it other times it was laughable. It was nice to give most of the conversation actual sound though as it gave the characters depth. Battle and field music was well done including vocal songs for some areas that were so nice I just wanted to sit there and be sung to sleep. Nicely timed SE, BGM, and the voice acting was actually good for the most part. 4/5

From what I can tell there was no game plus option but I wouldn't be surprised by it. The story and character development was good and worth playing through a second time. I know I plan to. If you’re a fan of the series you'll no doubt wanna play this one at least twice. 4/5

This is a really good game. The battles never feel drawn out or over balanced. Characters are fun and you'll quickly ind yourself wrapped up in each of their unique stories and how they intertwine. The music is enchanting and will only serve to further intoxicate you. Throw in those nice anime cut scenes and the great jokes and other silliness and you'll be absorbed into this great Tale. 5/5

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Samurai Shodown V (PS2, X-Box)

Reviewed by Kit and Yuuki

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This is a remake of the old Samurai Shodown games. There is nothing particularly new to it. There are some new characters.
Graphics: It looks like something you would find in an arcade...ten years ago. It is about the level of SNES. Things move somewhat smoother, but the graphics have not changed. 2/5
Audio: The voice acting was well done. The background music was uninspiring, but not painful. 3/5
Story: It's a fighting game, each character has their own story, but none of them are particularly interesting. Basically it is, we have to go here...fight..go here..fight.....etc etc. 1/5
Gameplay: Fighting is fairly simple. The buttons each do a certain attack, and hitting the buttons in a certain order will do specials. 3/5
Replay: It's a fighting game. Play it as long as you need to kill something and you don't have somethign better on hand. 2/5
Overall: This is just another Samurai Shodown game with little changes. Pick it up if you're a fan, otherwise don't touch it. 2/5

Friday, February 10, 2006

Wild Arms: Alter Code F (PS2)

Reviewed by Kit
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First off, sorry for the delay. My only excuse is, I’m lazy. That said, let’s talk about Wild Arms: Alter Code F. This is a remake of one of the first RPGs made for Playstation. There are some new differences. All-in-all the story is the same, but graphics and gameplay have been revamped. Though I normally try to review without comparing to other games, this one is a game that demands to be placed side by side to the original. I think I can tell you all the details in the detailed sections, so let’s begin.
Graphics: The graphics have been upgraded from the original. Characters look more attractive than their previous blocky selves, but it is not graphical taking advantage of the PS2 capabilities. 3/5
Audio: The music is a light western sound. It fits the mood very well. There’s really not too much to say about the music. It sounds good. 4/5
Gameplay: Quite a few things have been redone to the game. The battle system remains the same, though. You go into battle, choose what attack you want before each turn, and then execute said attacks. However, even this has been redone. Sometimes you have to option to cancel a counterattack. If you do, then your character gets a second turn to do anything. Also, depending on how you attack, you will get experience bonuses. This means that leveling can go faster. Also each of your characters has a vitality bar that starts off at 100%. If you take damage, at the end of the battle the vit bar will decrease and life will be replenished. This of course lasts until the vit bar runs out, but it refills when you stay at an inn or level up. The dungeons in Alter Code have been completely redone to accommodate the new graphics and rotating camera. Also, the tools that characters receive have been reduced. Instead of four, there are only three. A world map does not become available until about five hours into the game, or longer. Towns are located by the radar that was introduced in Wild Arms 2. You cannot see these towns until you stand right by it and send out the radar. Once you receive the world map though, the locations of towns and dungeons that have been mentioned to you appear as dots on the map. Also, the set up of the game is essentially town to dungeon to new town to new dungeon. While some of the new things are nice, some are tedious and silly. Still, battling is fun, and the vit bar makes long dungeons more bearable. However, there is only one item in the game that restores MP, and that is a rare item that fully restores HP and MP. 3/5
: The story of Wild Arms is fairly simple. Monsters are trying to take over the world. Some heroes have banded together at first to have an adventure and later to save the world. This would be a clichéd RPG. Oh, by the way, the main character never speaks. 3/5
Replay: The story of Wild Arms is not so fascinating that you’d want to play it again and again to pick up all the nuances that appear. Therefore there are probably only two reasons you would replay this game. 1) You really liked the game and don’t mind reliving the same generic plot. 2) You didn’t get all the little hidden extras the first time through and you want them now. Did I forget to mention that there are a lot of hidden extras? Of course you’ve probably heard that there are three unlockable characters. These cannot be added to your party until you’ve entered the final dungeon. Also there are ex files which are basically ways to listen to sounds and look at pictures from the game. However, this is the replay section not the bonus section so…2/5
: Wild Arms is a good game. Strong gameplay and decent graphics with a story that while not excellent isn’t as bad as some I’ve played. It is what should be best termed as an average RPG. Which is not a bad thing. 3/5