Thursday, 24 February 2011

Good of War 3 - God of War 3 Review

So we conclude the God of War trilogy with this. God of War 3 is a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I am a big fan of Greek Mythology and Santa Monica have done a great job here once again. Staying true to many of mythological theories while not shoving it down your neck. That is what I wanted, and that is what I recieved.

God of War 3's gameplay is exactly what I expected. Completely unchanged from God of War 2. Why fix what isn't broke right? The Story does grind on me at points with the way that you go around the world from event to event. I did some calculations and according to the way I mapped this out, one of the rooms in theory could not exist. I'm not going to say which one, but if you look hard enough you will find it.

This is going to be a short review, and heres why. God of War 3 is a great game. I am not going to debate that. The problem is it is just not that rememborable. I can remember certain parts of the game, especially the ending, but overall it is not a game I am able to remember all that well.

Overall, God of War 3 gets a very solid 8/10.

This is Tyramatt, wanting a copy of Spiderman Noir.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

I "Saw" what you did there! - Saw: The Videogame Review

I've already gone into detail of the Saw films, and why I like them so lets talk about the first installment of the videogame series. Saw: The Videogame, actually i'm going to refer to it as Saw from now on, is set between movies one and two. Saw is a puzzle, pseudo-survival horror game, where the puzzles can repeat themselves, but there is always a big one at the end of the level to look forward to.

It follows a character from the first film that we do not get an explanation of what happened to them in the second one and is quickly forgotten about. While it is interesting to see an established character in this game without the fear of maybe having to kill him off considering this is a different medium and not everyone will see it, it is strange to not throw us in with a new character that we can get to know instead. To fans of the film series this makes sense, but to people picking up the game who haven't seen the films the film references do not make as much sense.

You play as Detective Tapp, as he wakes up in an asylum and must go through several real time hours of traps to try and discover who the Jigsaw Killer really is and bring him to justice for his crimes. What we get is a journey of discovery as more light is shed on the detective's backstory, his cohorts, and the consequences of his actions. We also get a origin story for a Saw 2 character in here which solves one of the major plot holes in Saw 2, but also raises many more.

The way the game plays is very clumbsy. This is a short game and it seems to pad out its playtime by making you restart areas as you didn't see that tripwire shotgun trap until it was too late. The game quickly tries to solve this gameplay mechanic of different traps that you can disarm and rearm though by adding in way too many checkpoints. In a chapter that could take you just under half an hour to complete if you were going fast, fifteen checkpoints is too much.

This is a very linear game, but I would have preferred more exploration in it. Does this mean that it is not fun? Of course not! I loved it through and through, although at certain points I was confused as to what I was supposed to be doing. The big end of level puzzles were a very much welcome asset, although one of them towards the end of the game was a bit underwhelming. I remember my thought process "A snap minigame, seriously?". It wasn't really snap, but it was close enough for me to call it that and people to know what I was talking about. This game also has multiple endings. I bet you didn't expect that. I didn't.

What makes this game fun is to see what will happen next. Zombie Games have done a wonderful job creating an atmosphere in which you will be jump scared at least once. Jump scares are of course not the best type of scares but its Saw, i'll take what I can get.

What really kills this game in my opinion are two things. The combat and the trophies/achievements. Lets talk about the combat first. There are a variety of weapons available to use which you will learn are basically divided into light and heavy weapons. The game doesn't admit this, but it is very prominent. The combat itself is a mess though. You hold down R2 to go into combat mode, and then press X for a light attack and square for a heavy attack. What kills me as well, figuratively of course, is the fact that there is little difference between the speed that these attacks go at and I was killed several times while trying to hit people with a table leg while they punched me to death. While your fists do less damage, they are by far the most useful multipurpose weapon. There are instakill weapons such as the syringe and the scissors, but these are one use and not worth it.

Just going to talk briefly about the achievements/trophies here. I have played through the game from start to finish, seen both of the endings, and I am sitting here with 88% of the achievements. If you are not going to put fufilling achievements in your games, don't bother. This in my opinion is not even excused by this being a very linear game. Even Dead Space 2 had achievements for experimenting with the tools at your disposal and that was a linear game, rather than having an achievement for the end of every chapter and significant event, and one for first kill with every weapon. I know that trophies on the PS3 had not been around that long when this game came out, but you really shouldn't have bothered and put more work into the combat. Seriously guys.

I really shouldn't talk about this game forever, so i'll end it here. I know alot of people will be very skeptical about this game as the film series it is based on doesn't have the same following as other popular film brands. Basically if you forget that its a Saw game, it is a good puzzle solving game with gore thrown in.

Overall, 7/10. Considered giving it an 8, but something seemed to stop me. May have been the endings.

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Opinion in Words - Why I love the Saw Series

Its been a while hasn't it. Oh well, now we can go back to me ranting about something I like for a change. So lets talk about the Saw franchise.

The original Saw movie came out in 2004, an adaptation of a original australian nine and a half minute short from 2003. Since then we have had a grand total of six sequels, being Saw 2 to Saw 6 and Saw 3D or Saw 7. The bottom line of this plot is there is a man refered to as the "Jigsaw Killer", who kidnaps people that he believes have squandered the gift of life through the poor decisions they have made. These people are then put in "traps" that are designed for them to have to sacrifice something of themselves in order to escape. This is normally something physical of themselves such as having to break your own arm to escape a trap, but can also be something like having to cut a key out of someones stomach.

When I saw the first Saw film I was intrigued by the baseline of how far are you willing to go to survive? If you waste your life by knowingly making bad decisions, how much are you willing to sacrifice to save it. The first film centred on just two characters, and we get exposition from flashbacks and from the angle of the police force. We never learn much about the Jigsaw Killer and this works, at least for this installment. The ending is very well done, with one of the trapped people accepting the trap and then a twist ending that really took me off edge. They really play something off, and then it comes back to be really important in the ending.

This is not a history of Saw, so i'll briefly touch apon the sequels. I hate Saw 2. In my opinion it is the worst one of the sequels, trying to put the same atmosphere that your had in the first film where you only had two people in a room, both not being able to trust each other, but in a house where you have seven main characters. This gives you too much to try and care about, and you know that some of these characters are just here to demonstrate the traps. It did set up an apprentice for the Jigsaw Killer though, and that was the only thing that I found interesting about this film. The idea that the title of Jigsaw Killer could be passed around as if it was some sort of holy crusade would keep me interested for now.

*Minor Spoilers* Saw 3 and Saw 4 run alongside each other timewise. Saw 3 focused more on the story of the killer, and just one person going through multiple people's traps in a house that he had the chance to save them from. This centered around a man whose son had been run over and this time the trapped victims were people who could have brought the driver of the car to justice, as well as the driver himself. It is in this film that I believe that the movie series gets into it's stride. It is however the same movie that we lose our Jigsaw Killer, as well as the apprentice that was built up from Saw 2. This was a bold move, and Saw 4 would of course have to do something good to get this series back on track.

Saw 4 on the other hand followed a different route of basically stalling for time and shadowed the timeline of the third movie, but with more exposition and different traps going on at the same time. It follows another man, a cop this time, saving people from traps but this time while trying to catch the Jigsaw Killer. It was in this film that one of my favourite lines was mentioned, "Have you learnt anything?". Throughout the film Jigsaw has been mentioning that he got his partner killed by forcefully entering a room because he thought he was doing the right thing. How does the film end you ask? Well he enters a locked room forcefully because he thinks its the right thing to do and ends up setting off three peoples traps at once. Well done. He gets killed as well, and we are left with another cop that we have been following through the movie finding the house from Saw 3, and having to shoot the man from Saw 3 because he was pointing a gun at the cop. There is a twist at the end of this one, but I won't spoil that. Basically Jigsaw has another apprentice.

Saw 5 is the last one I have seen in the movie series thus far. I own Saw 6 on dvd, but have not gotten around to watching it yet. I was worried that Saw 5 was going to be a rehash of Saw 2, with there being five main characters, but this time the characters were all connected in their "bad deed". The film does seem to only exist to give more exposition on why the original Jigsaw Killer started and what his apprentice is doing now to clear up any loose ends. The major mistep of this film was putting less emphasis on the cunningness and uniqueness of the traps. In most of the films up to this point, the traps have been adapted to each individual's mistakes. In this film, not so much. Jigsaw doesn't even give many of his voice overs that his gives normally. The end of this film is great and shows off that some people are too willing to sacrifice and that some other people just cannot learn to trust.

Right. Down to why I love this series as I do. It is mainly because it can show off the best and worst of humanity. The worst being the people who are being trapped because it can show how they would not even consider changing their lifestyles unless this happened. Very few people escape their traps, but if their will to survive was that strong, they would need to repent a.k.a. make a sacrifice. To me at least it is also an interesting psychological experiment into the human mind. Jigsaw does not truly believe that he is killing people, he is merely testing their will. If they die, its due to them not him. He is not ignorant though in the way that he tests people. He explains to them what they have to do to escape, and shows them why they are being tested in the first place. Sometimes the people who are being tested call out to him for mercy, but they are not going to get it because in a certain way this is a mercy. Jigsaw is giving them a chance to save themselves and maybe they will take this as a life lesson.

Another thing I love this the traps. I have a very technical mind, and I just love seeing the mechanics not only behind the physical aspects of the trap, but the mental as well. In one of the better parts of Saw 2 a woman sees an antidote to the poison they have been given in a glass box hanging from the ceiling. She puts both her arms in the arm holes, and doesn't even think for a second that anything could go wrong. When she has put her arms through there are a circle of razor blades going up in a twisted motion that prevent her arms from coming back out. This really does teach you to look before you leap.

One of the best traps of the series in my opinion was from the opening scene from Saw 4. There are two men. One with mouth sewn shut, the other with eyes sewn shut. The downside to this is we don't get any voice over from Jigsaw, but back to the trap. They are both chained to a device that will pull the chain in until they have both been choked to death. The keys to each of their collars are on the other person's neck. Of course without the ability to communicate, the blind man panics and the mute person decided to kill him before ripping the stitches out. I believe this showed how lack of communication and ability to work together to survive killed that man, not Jigsaw.

There have also been two games for this film series, the first of which I am playing through at the moment. So that can wait for another day, as can its sequel Saw 2: Flesh and Blood.

So thats why I love the Saw series so much. I hope you have enjoyed this little rant on one of my favourite film series, and just so you know I will give a little exposition in footnotes.

Favourite Saw Film: Saw 3

Least Favourite: Saw 2

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Late to the Party - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Review

This game is great at telling a story. Why is the single player only six hours long! You can't just add special ops missions and then call it a day. But i'm here to talk about the single player as always.

Basically Russia invades America. Thats about it. I can't really say much more than that. This is a very short campaign and I was very disappointed that it was so. Does this mean that it was not fun? Of course not. The multiplayer more than excuses it, but I prefer the singleplayer experience.

This is the shortest game review I will ever probably do. Basically 7/10 on the single player campaign, but an essential for online play.

This is Tyramatt, and these timed pipe puzzles in Saw will be the death of me. Theres a joke in there somewhere, try and find it.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Bored-of-Lands: Borderlands Review

I normally wait a day or say before writing these reviews after finishing a game, just so that I can let the whole experience lie and sink in. In Borderlands case, I just want to get it over and done with. Borderlands sells itself as a RPS, which is a Role-Playing-Shooter apparently, and while they have the shooter part down, the role playing part leaves alot to be desired. There are alot of guns. Believe me, there are more than enough guns for every person in the UK to meet up and have a firefight. So it is a shooter. The roleplaying is just whittled down however to training the gun type that you want by using one of the different types of guns, and choosing what gun and shield you want equipped. Thats it.

My problem with this is that it is selling itself too well as a role-playing game, and it really isn't. You cannot change what your person looks like, there is little to no control over your character's athestics whatsoever. This is not role-playing. It is a glorified open-world shooter. Another point is the massive glitches this game has. I am unsure whether it is just the PS3 version that gets this, but on more than one occassion towards the end I got massive lag and loot weapons started floating all over the place

Borderlands is set on the planet Pandora and you play one of four mercenaries who have come to roam the wasteland and find a vault. I first thought when I heard of this concept that it was the polar opposite to Fallout 3, where you are in the vault and get out onto the wasteland. There are a few variations on the missions, but the point stays the same. Go into a new part of wasteland and shoot monsters and bandits. Thats the majority of the missons, apart from a couple that I won't mention for spoiler reasons.

There is a large supply of main characters, but I won't talk about them because there are too many to count on both hands. Instead I will use this section to talk about game in general. Borderlands is one of the most disappointing games I have ever played. Little to no story apart from "The Vault has much treasure! You want it!", it really did not live up to my expectations of an alien world with wonderous creatures to kill. Maybe I just went into it with the wrong mindset, but when I saw just regular humans who were apparently prisoners I gave a huge sigh. The gameplay is at the complete opposite though and carried me through most of this game. Like I said in my vanquish review, the gameplay makes up for the story, but why should it have to?

Right. Now to talk about the ending. Just a warning *MASSIVE SPOILERS THAT DON@T REALLY FIT IN WITH THE GAME*. A person opens the vault and a huge Cthulu-esque creature comes out. You then have to kill it as this is the final boss of the Vault storyline. This was fine example of bad game design choice. I stood just out of its reach and shot it for about 3 minutes. It went down, and although it was able to push me off the edge of a cliff, I returned with full health and shield. The end boss however did not get back any of its health. This was the most boring and generic end boss I have ever fought.

Overall, Borderlands is not the best experience I have ever had, and maybe the downloadable content does bring it back. But i'm not wasting any more time on this game than I have to.

Borderlands. 6/10. That is all.

This is Tyramatt, going back to solve puzzles in Saw: The Videogame.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Castlevania: Lords of Somewhat Cool Things - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review

Castlevania. A game series that I have never played before, but i've heard alot about it. From what I have heard from many sources Dracula has been a mainstake of this series, no pun intended. This game does not have dracula in it. I was slightly disappointed. He gets name-dropped at the end, but he doesn't properly appear in his full glory as with the other games. So with that out of the way, lets talk about the game.

You control Gabriel Belmont, and I have no idea how he ties to the rest of the Belmonts before anyone says anything. He has a dead wife, and to bring her back he must defeat the three lords of shadow to gain their power and bring his wife back to life. That has NEVER been a bad idea in any situation before has it. He is part of a brotherhood of which the only other person we see is voiced by Patrick Stewart. Although as I said when I first saw him, "Patrick Stewart does not a good game make". The game is littered with puzzles, upgrades and trials that you can replay levels to get more from them, which is good. Especially on the PS3 version as you don't have to swap discs.

You can't ignore the gameplay in this game. It is very God of War-esqe, with a bit of Shadow of the Collosus like platforming sections on the three times you need to do it. The quicktime events are what kill me though. Castlevania: LOS uses alot of quick time events. More than I have seen in any other game. You can't relax during the cinematics, which look very good by the way, because without any indication it could change to a quicktime event that results in instant death. This happened on more than one occasion to me.

One thing that really bothered me about this was what the three lords of shadow were. We have Werewolves which I expected, Vampires which I again expected, and Necromancers? I didn't really see that coming. I know there probably wasn't a huge list that they could have had, but I wouldn't have had that as my first choice. What bothered me more about this concept is when you fight the Lord of Shadow for the Necromancers as well. I didn't really expect Death to show up, because he has never been mentioned before, and isn't mentioned again after this.

The worst thing I found in this game was the Chubacabra sections. A few times in the game, normally in a inconvient location, a Chubacabra will appear and take away all your magic and relics. You then have to find it and kill it to get them back. This is just trivial and a cheap way to add a couple more minutes of play time to a chapter. It just comes off as annoying.

Just a warning. Chapter 12, the final chapter is a lot like the ending cinematic to Enslaved: Odyssey To The West. I say this because it really does come out of nowhere, is not led up to or have any significance on what has happened up to this point, and has little to no bearing on the plot past this point as well. Overall this game was very average for most of the experience, until I got to the post-credits cutscene where it really won me on side, but you will hear no spoilers from me on that.

Lets talk about the characters starting with Gabriel. I really don't like Gabriel for many reasons. The first thing I noticed was that most of the game he just looks bored, even in the opening fight where he is killing waves of werewolves. Even when a horse appears in front of him and talks, his facial expression doesn't change. The same look of boredom makes when he expresses emotion better by contrast, but why couldn't he have been slightly more emotional all the time? The fact that he has a scottish accent also bothers me. But I can't really complain about that when the first time you meet the god Pan, I couldn't figure out his accent. I thought it was russian but I just don't know.

Gabriel is the only what I would call "Main Character", but there are some supporting cast members who I prefer in some cases to Gabriel for one reason or another. Zobek, Patrick Stewarts character, is likeable and narrates most of the story. Obviously getting as much as possible out of what Patrick Stewart is most recognisable for. His voice. Zobek doesn't do much in the story, just tells the player whats he thinks at the start of the chapter. His actions can get a bit questionable at points, but it never gets old. Gabriel's dead wife Maria plays a very small role in this game, despite the fact that she is the one who is trying to be resurrected. She is a very uninteresting character, but with the next character is gets interesting again.

Pan is my favourite character in this game. He is described as one of the last of the "Old Gods", and it shows. He is portrayed as a beastman, who can turn into a horse, or giant eagle when he feels like it. Likewise he only seems to help Gabriel when he feels like it. I love him for that. Just the general attitude of "I will help you in your quest. When I am in a good mood. Also when it is convient for me and I happen to be in the area."

Overall, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a very average game with some good parts and a good final ending. I highly doubt it will be the best game you will ever play, but if you can get it new for about £20 like I did it's worth every penny. Overall verdict 6/10.

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Dead Scary 2 - A Dead Space 2 Review

Dead Space 2 is a game that I never thought would be made, and when it was first announced I was very skeptical. In addition to this the prospect of Isaac talking and interacting with NPCs was not pleasing to me and Dead Space 2 had to do alot to break my expectations of this game. Dead Space 2 delievered.

What I recieved was a survival action horror game where ammo is scarce and most things, both Necromorph and Human, are trying to kill you. They all have their own agendas however, not all the humans want to eat your flesh... Dead Space 2 starts off with Isaac in a hospital on the space colony on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. It appears that Isaac is still not over his wife's sudden departure from this world, as her ghost won't leave him alone. Necromorphs appear in the hospital that Isaac is in and as he flees for his life, starts a tale of horror, betrayal and survival that will take Isaac from the intensive care unit to the very place where it all began.

A cast of new minor and major characters are introduced, although most of them are killed off as soon as they appear, but I won't spoil these for you. I know that they are trying to convey a feeling of a big city with alot of residents, but without the ability to tell whether the character you just met is a main character that you are supposed to get attached to or to start waving goodbye to them now. The ending is very good, not as good as the original but very conclusive, while keeping it open for sequels that I will now be looking forward to.

Dead Space 2 is one of the best sequels I have played in a good long while. While it does not surpass the original in terms of quality, it not only adds to the original story but sets up for its own story as well. Using this it distances itself from the original without completly ignoring it and changing vital information *cough* Highlander 2: The Quickening *cough*.

Dead Space 2 gets a very well deserved 8/10 and is the best game I have played so far this year. With just 10 months left, let us see if something else can impress.

This is Tyramatt, and something else probably will impress more.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Look Back - Dead Space

So I just completed Dead Space 2. It was a good game, but i'm going to let it sink in before I talk about it. Lets talk about the first Dead Space for now. Just so you know there will be no spoilers in this review.

Dead Space was the first game I completed on the PS3, after attempting to play Mirror's Edge and Resistance 2 and failing miserably. I loved it. It was mainly full of jump scares, but I would definatly class it as action-horror if that makes any sense. Isaac Clarke is our character here and he goes on a routine mission to fix a minor communications bug. Being a engineer by trade Isaac travels there with two other companions, but this it turns out is no routine mission.

Bottom line is the whole crew is dead and have mutated into creatures that have been since dubbed Necromorphs. The basis of the game is to get off the star cracker space ship Ishimura alive. What follows is a journey of discovery, frights, and thrills that will keep you coming back for more and more. Theres also a sub-plot about Isaac looking for his wife, who may still be alive, but we are not going to talk about that.

Lets talk about Isaac Clarke now. He is a very strong main character in this game because he never talksand you never see his face, and you can make of that what you will. It was originally speculated that he could be a robot, but you just don't know until you play. This made Dead Space unique in its own way as while there are other main characters in games that don't talk e.g. Link in legend of Zelda, and other where you don't see their faces, there are few games that encorperate these things and have a main cast of six people.

Dead Space is one of my favourite games of this console generation and possibly even in my top 10 games. Although now the Dead Space series will be in the top 10. If they do a hollywood movie, please let it be good...

Im going back to Castlevania: Lords of Shadow now, so do with that what you will, but expect the Dead Space 2 review before long.

This is Tyramatt, in a Dead Space craze.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A Look Ahead - Febuary In Games

Happy February everyone! Since Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is taking so long to complete and Dead Space 2 is too fun to stop playing, I thought I would take this chance to look ahead to some of the games that are getting to see the light of day this month.

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
I still haven't completed the ninth installment but I am still looking forward to playing this remake of the sixth installment in this game series when it comes out. Release: 14th February 2011

Its hard to ignore this game, with the demo now being out and all. I know alot of people are looking forward to this, but i'm not one of them. I like the concept, I understand how it is different to other games, but I will not be picking this game up on release. I'm a bit sick of first person shooters at the minute. Release: 22nd February

Killzone 3
If you own a Playstation 3, you will be lucky to not have heard of Killzone 3. I have had this shoved down my throat quite alot not only from the Playstation blog, but from the store, and other internet sources. This game cannot possibly match the hype that it has earned itself. Killzone 3, considering I didnt like Killzone 2 that much you have alot of work to do. Release: 22nd February.

So overall, not really the groundbreaking month. We may still be getting out of the whole "Early year is an easy time to dump shit games on" period of the year.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow will have to wait just a little longer, Dead Space 2 calls...

This is Tyramatt, signing off.