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Archive for the ‘PS3 Reviews’ Category

Review: Sega Rally Revo (PS3)

Posted by rapaleeman on August 12, 2008

So I’m a huge rally racing fan.  Everyone who is an avid reader of my so called “home on the web” knows this.  I loved Sega Rally back on the Saturn and the Dreamcast, but when the demo for this game came out I just sorta let it go and wrote it off as a lame cash in.  Well, I was out last week and found a copy brand new for under 10 bucks at Circuit City and did I make a smart investment.

Let me preface this with saying that at $60 bucks this game is not worth it.  There just isn’t enough content.  However, for $40 or less, worth every penny.  I wish I would have bought it sooner.

So, if you’ve played DiRT or the previous Colin McRae (RIP) games then you know what simulation rally racing is.  Well, forget it.  This is closed circuit, racing with rally embedded.  At least that is the simplest way to describe it.  You run 3 laps and start at the back of the pack.  Every time.  Get used to it.  Things don’t change.

As with most Sega Arcade games from back in the day, this console title was made with the same quarter crunching, punishing difficulty (anything after Amateur is a challenge) as its parents.  Which makes it really nostalgic and just flat out fun. 

The races and cars are very fast, with bright beautiful landscapes and gorgeous terrain to traverse.  The backdrops are almost breathtaking and the cars look great, but take no damage.  This isn’t a sim so it’s ok.  The greatest feet however, is the track themselves.  They are outstanding.

The track deforms as tires go through it and it changes depth based on the appropriate surface type you are currently on.  This leads to some strategy after the first lap.  Should you follow in the tracks of the leader for better grip in the snow, or should you take to the outside of the proper line and powerslide through.  Your call.  All in all, this is an awesome addition to an otherwise standard Sega racer.

Other than a few different leagues and a minimal set of cars and liveries, that’s it folks.  Not much depth in terms of content, but the racing is oh so sweet that it almost doesn’t matter.  Each race is edge of the seat excitement and I mean that.  Even the amateur races.

The only other minor flaw, besides content is the track deformation.  While yes it is awesome, visually you can see it pop into view towards the final lap.  A minor issue, but a big visual flaw to an otherwise perfect game.

Oh and I forgot to mention the mud, dust, dirt, and snow that gets kicked up onto the car.  It is awesome.  The cars take on the elements as need be based on how much dirt and crap you flow through and if you hit a puddle, will actually wash off.  It looks amazing and with the almost surreal environments put a realistic spin on this arcade game.

So what’s the verdict.  Well if you can get it for under $40 then buy it.  Worth every penny.  Not enough content is the only complaint, but what is there is great.

RECOMMENDED

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Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots

Posted by rapaleeman on June 25, 2008

Never have I said a game was perfect.  Never.  Until now.

MGS4 is one of those titles that needs to be experienced.  Whether you like the series or not.  Whether you have kept up with the story or are a die hard fan.  This game is worth every penny and is flatout the best game on the PS3 if not on any system right now.

I’ll start with the easy.  The graphics are superb.  This game looks like Final Fantasy: Advent Children the movie.  Both in cutscenes and out.  The transisitons are smooth and the whole game looks amazing.  There are a few dips in frame-rate, but to me it looks too good to even care.  The slowdown lets you see what is actually blowing up and how good it looks.  The game looks beautiful and not just the Beauty and the Beast Corp of women badguys (or is that badgirls).

The characters, environments, vehicles, and weapons all look gorgeous.  The animations as well look great and there are only a few instances of issues and that is mostly because I have played through the game 3 times now.  I didn’t notice any of these issues the first time through.

The other thing is voice acting.  Amazing and 100% percent believable.  David Haytor embraces Snake and even though he is “older” in the game, he has the same attitude and style of delivery the series has always been known for.  The only bad in the voice acting is some of the awkward lines being delivered, but they aren’t bad enough or stick around long enough to get annoying.

The gameplay has changed.  Thank you Hideo Kojima.  You can now aim and view the game in 3rd person and not that stupid over the head crap.  The new camera involves you and brings you into the warzone.  The first chapter has a few “oh shit” moments and thanks to the camera and shooting mechanics you are there.  The dirt, dust, and blood that appears there make the difference and just complete the package.  Atmosphere is great.  You feel the tension when you are caught.

The story is where the game makes it name.  The Metal Gear series has always been about these stories that are somewhat out there, yet believable.  Same rules apply here and it is a great story.  If you have been following the series, then the loose ends are all tied up here.  The game left me with only one or two questions.  All of the storylines, characters, and events from the past are represented here and totally explained in typical MGS style.  Long and exponentially.

Which leads me to my only gripe.  The cutscenes.  They are long!!!  They range from a couple of minutes to damn near an hour and a half.  Some of them could have been shortened or spaced out better, but overall the story that is told is told well and excellently crafted.  Even if you have only vaguely followed the series, you will get most of it.  I still wished for a few more gameplay moments at times though.

Well one more gripe.  Loading/installing.  It does it between every act.  Not terrible considering what you end up seeing on screen, but it is annoying on your third playthrough.

Some final thoughts are of the great references and moments in the game.  They make the whole process bearable.  Everything from Johnny Sazaki from MGS, Meryl, Big Boss, The Boss, Ocelot, Otacon, and all of the little boss fights and references you’ll find.  One fight features a return from Psycho Mantis and the whole way you beat him (well her) is just great.  There are so many references to the first game it made it that much better.  The music at places and the entire fourth act is total fanfare.  There is even a really neat dream sequence with a recreation… … well, I’m not telling.  Plus the final Snake Versus Liquid fight (you knew it had to happen) is just breath taking.  You need to experience this game.

This game is just great.  Highly Recommend it.  How could I not.  Even with the minor flaws, the game is still perfect in my eyes.  Never have I experienced a title so thought out, polished, and just finished.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Review: Gran Turismo 5: Prologue

Posted by rapaleeman on April 17, 2008

I picked up GT5P yesterday (take a guess at the acronym) and played the admittingly short events mode last night.  I never thought that driving in a video game was realistic to the point of actually being in a car until now.  The closest thing to perfection was F355 Ferrari for the Dreamcast and PS2. 

Yes, even though I have been a fan of Gran Turismo since numero uno, it wasn’t exactly a simulator like the box would describe.  The games were always more simulation than the competition, but it still had that unrealistic feeling.  Each iteration has moved forward towards perfection though with GT4 only being a slightly improved GT3 (probably because there wasn’t much else Polyphony Digital could do with the PS2).  With that said, the difference between number 4 and the Prologue is amazingly drastic and well worth the $40 purchase of what really is a prologue of things to come (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun).

I’ll start with the easy thing you’ll notice upon firing it up the first time, well after the painfully long install and the extremely slow update.  Yes after those little minute issues you will be treated with the most breathtaking intro I have ever seen.  Forget all of the opening CG cutscenes from games like Gears, Resident Evil 2, and even Final Fantasy titles.  This one just has to be seen to believed.  The lighting, the people, the tracks, and oh yeah the cars all look stunning and 100% real/authentic.

This can be said about everything else in the game as well with just a minor correction.  Some of the aliasing is kinda bad (not that noticable) and some of the shadows can flicker every once in a while (again, not that noticable).  Besides that the game is perfect when it comes to the graphics and presentation.  The new My Page menu is really a nice touch.  It displays the date, time, your current car, some other random stuff, a sweet background setting, and the weather at key racing locations.  A little overkill on the weather, but it is so cool that I can’t knock it (not sure why it’s cool since the weather at Motegi will never have an affect on me at the same same, but whatever it’s sweet).

Also the tracks look great.  All 6 of them.  That is a problem since well, in order to earn 2,000,000 credits to get the F1 Ferrari I have to replay one of the six tracks over and over again, but they all look great (though the Norwind is a little shaky).  The backgrounds, trackside details, and even the people look like they belong in the world.  Just a great experience overall.

Moving on to the driving and you will notice a significantly improved driving engine.  The cars turn realistically, make great contact with the road, and actually have weight to them.  Never before have I experienced (yeah, you experience this GT, not play it) a game that makes me feel like I am actually driving a real car as opposed to a video game car (there is a difference, talk to Need for Speed ProStreet for some examples).  The in-dash camera helps to add that feeling of immersion and the fact when you hit the rear view you look out the back window literally makes it that much more impressive.  All of the car interiors look great and authentic to boot.

The car sounds are great as well and can actually help you drive better unlike most games where they are just kinda there.  Here, the screeching of the tires, the wind (or lack thereof) from the slipstream of the car ahead of you all make a difference.  When used properly you have all the weapons that you would have in a real car to help you win the race.  Also, I usually turn off the music because it is either annoying or it hinders the gameplay, but the audio mix here works great.  The audio sounds like it is coming from the car speakers, the tires come from below and the on the correct side, and that also goes with the competition.

About the competition, it is better.  Though the AI is still lacking significantly when you compare it to DiRT or the Race Driver series, they at least know your there.  They no longer purposely ram you, at least not the majority of the time.  Obviously in races where there are only 7 other cars, the AI is better than when you are competing against 15.  Plus the AI will make mistakes.  Sometimes, not always but often, they take a corner too wide or too tight and spin-out.  Like I said, it’s better.  Needs more work, but it is better.

Finally, the online component is as bare bones as can be.  There is a simple menu interface and that is it.  Just a drop down list like the listings in the events section.  It’s functional, but not pretty.  There is quite a bit of lag and my fellow racers like to abuse the no damage modelling by bumping off of my car around corners.  So in other words they cheat as much as the idiots on Xbox Live (at least I’m not paying for it here).

Ok, if you haven’t guessed by now this game is worth every penny.  True there are problems (the AI, lack of damage modelling, track selection, and bare bones online) but overall the actual driving is top-notch and that is what counts in my book.  I would have loved more selection for my $40 bucks, but there are 71 cars and they all drive differently and realistically.  I cannot stress this fact enough.  Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is the best driving simulator on the market right now.  Yes it is better than Forza in the driving aspect (but the AI is better in Forza’s races so they are a little more intense).

Anyway, buy this game if  you have a remote interest in driving or racing.  I know it is an extended demo, but it seems this will be the best and most realistic driving experience for a while. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Side-Note: Yes I know GRID is coming out soon but it is said to be more “for the masses” and less simulation so we’ll see.

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Review: Dark Sector

Posted by rapaleeman on April 1, 2008

To add to this blog, I will be putting in random reviews on video games, movies, tv shows, music, or whatever else I feel may need a review. I think this will allow me to expand upon this blog and its’ seemingly random nature, by giving it a little structure.

Anyway, on with the review.

Dark Sector by D3 publishing (you know they guys that brought you Pariah for the Xbox) finally hit shelves last week and after playing through the game along with a few hours of the multiplayer I think it is time for a review.

Dark Sector was the first game announced for the next generation consoles (the PS3 and the Xbox Next, now the 360). It has been in the works for over four years and the final product could use a little more work. Not that it is bad or terrible, since it is actually very good, but there were some things that could be fleshed out.

For one the story is almost non-existent. After the amazing black and white (yep you read that right) prologue mission, the story pretty much goes away. I think that is part of the reason the game is so short. Nothing is fleshed out, or even expanded on making the “big reveals” towards the end of the game feel lackluster and tacked on. I mean seriously, throughout the ten chapters not much is explained about the virus, the knight thing trying to kill you, or the main guy Messner and his reasons for wanting to pull all of the zombies towards this vault, which in turn I have no clue exactly what it is. All I know is that as Hayden (voiced by the awesome Michael Rosenbaum) I have to get to this vault, stop the bad guys (and good guys), and kill everyone/thing that gets in the way. Oh, did I mention this game is actually pretty good (it’s coming).

The second issue is two-fold. For one the game is too short and the other is that the bosses are a pain in the ass. There is zero hint that you are “doing it right” making them extremely difficult, even though they are actually pretty easy on practice. This is where length comes into play. I beat the game in a little over five hours, but I spent a ton of time dying at three of the five(if memory serves) bosses. They aren’t overly difficult as I said. but the specific ways you have to beat them, no matter how creative, are quite annoying. I think D3 did that to increase the length of the game. A little one-liner, or on-screen text would have been an easy solution.

Finally, the multiplayer is terrible. The two modes are terrible and to be honest I thought they were crap. One is an everyone hunt down the Hayden and the other is two teams with two Haydens that kill each other. Simple and really boring since everyone online acts like an adolescent that just discovered the f-bomb and racism and feel the need to distribute that particular ideology to everyone. Not my cup of tea, but the modes did have potential. At least a different idea than some other games I’ll give them that.

Did I mention this game is great. Graphics are top-notch trespassing on Gears of War and Uncharted territory. Everything looks great and runs relatively smooth besides a tad bit of clipping, but it doesn’t really hinder or ruin anything. Control is spot on with a mix of Resident Evil 4 and Gears. I also like that D3 took the vault function and gave it its own button. No longer having to press your back to something to vault is a blessing.

Now for the best part: death frisbee. Yes, you read that correctly. Hayden gets infected with the virus at the end of the prologue and gets the best gift a virus can give. A glaive. This thing, think the glaive from Blade combined with a frisbee is the best weapon in the game. You can use it to dismember people and even relieve an enemy of their head should you see fit. That along with the some of the other abilities you get (I’ll leave those unrevealed at this juncture) make you the ultimate badass. Plus the cool suit you get at the end that looks like the one from the original trailer is sweet.

Not only do you have the glaive, but you also have access to some pretty powerful weapons. While utilizing the glaive, you can have a single-handed weapon in your left hand to dual wield. You start with a pistol but can upgrade to a burst pistol, machine pistol, magnum, or even a double barrel shotgun. You can also have a two-handed weapon consisting of an AK-47 style rifle, a stockless shotgun, a full on Spas 12 shotgun, or a G36 lookalike. Not only that, but you can also upgrade each weapon with stuff like more firepower, clip capacity, and tings of that nature. The only issue is you won’t have enough dough to buy/try every weapon on the first play through and since your save games don’t carry over, you start from scratch the next time. Not a deal breaker but an annoyance.

The sound is also top-notch. As previously mentioned, Michael Rosenbaum is awesome as Hayden and plays him perfectly. Everyone else in the game also does a great job. Very surprising. The music is cool as well kicking up at the right times. Made it feel like a faster paced Resident Evil 4.

I know I dissed this game pretty hard and for that misconception I am truly sorry. This game is awesome. Definately recommended, but the few flaws are noticeable and needed to be said. I was really looking forward to this title. Maybe that’s why I was a tad pissed at the lack of polish and extras. I mean hell four years. I expect perfection dammit.

Anyway buy it if you got the extra scratch. Worth every penny even though it is a tad short.  Definate must play though.

RECOMMENDED

Oh, more on the ratings scale later.

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