Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bladestorm: The Hundred Year's War (360, PS3)

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Hey boys and girls. Today we're reviewing the latest game by Koei. And since I have nothing to say here, let's start the review.

Story: You are a mercenary during the historic Hundred Years' War. If you know your history or not, this war is between France and England and lasted longer that a hundred years. Your job as a mercenary is to take contracts to help one or the other. You don't have to stay on one side; in fact, the game requries that you do jobs for both countries in order to move the story along. Story wise there's not a lot, but you don't really need a lot. Plus, you'll get some historical information about the war, which can be good. 3/5

Audio: The music during the battles has an epic feel, which I liked. There is also voice acting for most of the characters, and I believe this is really well done. The characters all have voices and accents that seem suitable for them. It's good audio. 4/5

Graphics: The graphics are amazing I feel. Battles take place across one giant field with no slow down as you run around. Your character displays any new equipment you put on, and cutscenes with your character show it in whatever outfit you have on. 5/5

Gameplay: The gameplay of Bladestorm has a very different style than most other games. Your job is not to pull off the most impressive combos with a series of buttons, it is to find a unit of soldiers that will best hurt that unit of soldiers over there. You can use any unit that you have a book for. These books allow you to upgrade the skills and equip items for the units. Each unit has strengths and weaknesses. my favorite unit is Poleswords which are strong or average to most things. The one thing i fear with them is knives...those little thieves will kill my unit in no time flat. When next to an enemy unit you hold down the right trigger to have your unit attack. Also, you can use the three special attack buttons that require recharge afterwards. If you have enough kills then your guage will fill up allowing you to go into zeal mode. This means everything falls before your troops. They are faster, stronger, and meaner. You can switch units at will be going near another unit and hitting the proper button. Battles are segmented into days. After a certain about of time, nightfall comes, and you have to deploy again. Any base you've already captured remains yours, but all officers return and that base you were workin on...not weakened anymore. Outside of battle you go to a tavern and can buy newe recruits, new gear, and hear rumors or advice. This is also where you accept contracts. It's not bad gameplay, but it really grows on you. 4/5

Replay: Whiel the story line remains similar, you can replay to try battles from the otehr side. 4/5

Overall: The game is something different from anythign else I've played. it took some time to figure everything out, but it was worth it. There's nothing like earning money for looking hot and claiming cities. 4/5

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Sims (Wii)

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Yay! Sims game make little Sim, watch little Sim go through daily activities, and finally burn little Sim to death for me boring. That's the idea behind a Sim game so lets see how this went on the Wii.

Gameplay: First off this is barely a Sim game to be honest. Its more like the illegitimate child of animal crossing, and Lego, and Sims adopted it. The main point of the game is to construct house and furnitures for yourself and you neighbors. This seems tedious or even boring to some but the game is actually quite entertaining. Parts for construction are awarded periodically throughout the game and you gather essence from flower fruit food junk basically anything and use it to paint your creations. Each Essence will fall into 1 of 5 categories and the more you improve those the more sims are drawn to the down that like that type. Definitely a fun for all ages. 4/5

The story is that this little town was build by an amazing carpenter and everything was happy but then he left and so did all the towns people. So its up to you now as the new carpenter to put the town back to it former glory. Doing so give you more block types to use in your construction as well as access to new areas. Kinda dry but meeting all the unique Sims is fun. 3/5

Graphics: As I said the game is the illegitimate child...etc So the game is cute but the many areas you can travel to are large and very well done. Forest with twists and turns and hidden paths or a desert with giant skeletons and ruins all for your enjoyment. 4/5

Well let's start with the fact that each Sim you get to move has fun little music that plays whenever you get near there home. Sims talk in a squeaky version of the Sim talk we've all grown to love. Tho the music from the sim houses is fun standing next to one isn't practical. 3/5

The game seems to offer hours of fun kicking out or remodeling sims houses. Moving new sims in and just decorating your own place. Unlike all previous sim games the relationships have been dumbed down to a more mass friend level. This puts a slight drag on the game and it would great benefit from befriending and later marrying one of your fellow sims. 3/5

The over all of the game is good. Building and the collecting is not for everyone but for those who like it this provides hours of fun. Though playing for long periods of times takes its toll on the game as the more sims the longer the loading times. With few flaws and some really fun aspects I'd recommend this to any animal crossing harvest moon types. 4/5

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)

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Today we're going to review the highly anticipated Zelda DS that we've been waiting for since forever it seems. Let's see how it stacks up.

Story: Shortly after the events in Wind Waker, you and Zelda, aka Tetra, are out sailing and run into a mysterious ghost ship. Tetra, being very impulsive, decides she wants to investigate and immediately disappears into the fog with a scream. Link, being the good hero goes after her, and falls into the water. he then washes onto land and meets his fairy companion who is very reminiscent of Navi from Ocarina of Time. On this island you meet and elder who doesn't help you, then find a boat and begin to explore in hopes of finding and saving Tetra. Helping you on your journey, and by helping I mean he hides in a corner and claims you're the coward, is Linebeck, ship captain. The story is your standard Zelda tale. Princess needs rescuing, you need to find certain treasures to rescue her. You rescue her. Nothing exciting. 3/5

Audio: The music was similar to Wind Waker. Nice and light and fitting with the atmosphere. Nothign to write home about though. 3/5

Graphics: Again, in the same style as Wind Waker. It works. 4/5

Gameplay: The game is on the DS, and as such Nintendo tried their best to incorporate everything the DS had to offer, whether this is a good thing or not. The primary issue, everything is done by stylus: movement, attacking, attacking while moving. There are a number of times when you'll want to attack and run around instead. Or talk to a person and slash at them. Targetting is supposed to be easy, just click on the monster and you'll slash at it. I've had a number of times where I'll do this and instead roll right into the monster's waiting mouth. Of course there are benefits to this too, the most cited being the boomerang. Now you can draw the path of the boomerang to where you want it to go. Another is that you can pull up the map and mark answers to puzzles you might have found or information that might come in handy later. The downside to this being you have to write small and be able to read your writing later. Besides making use of the touch screen, the game also asks that you blow or speak into the microphone. For all it's faults, it is an interesting way to handle the game. I think it would be better with D-pad use, but it's certainly not as bad as I feared it would be. Everything else is standard Zelda fare, solving puzzles in dungeons, fighting bosses with whatever new tool you found, and becoming the hero you already were. 4/5

Replay: I don't think there's any real value to replay. 2/5

Overall: For as long as we waited for it, I think that things could have been improved. While I'm glad they are taking advantage of the DS's unique features, I don't think it was necessary to limit us to them. So, for average plot, average aesthetics, and haphazard gameplay, I'm going to give this an average rating. 3/5