Archive for the ‘Video Games’ category

Halo 3: BELIEVE….in multiplayer.

November 3, 2007

Well by now I’m sure most of you who’ve wanted to play Halo 3 have bought it and probably have beaten the campaign, so I’m not going to bother with spoilers, so read the first paragraph about the single player at your own discretion.

The lighting in the game is incredible.

I got it the day it came out and quickly ran through it before I crossed the pond. I have to say, after all the hype and the years of playing and/or waiting, the SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN was a dissapointment. Yes it had some pretty cool epic moments with the new piano theme song playing in the background and a bunch of marines battling with you, but overall it felt just like more of the same. Every level was fairly linear, and it just pushes you through one group of enemies after another with some vehicle encounters sprinkled in between. I felt that two things should’ve been implemented. First of all, there should be more urban battles. I throughoughly enjoyed the one urban level, where it actually felt like you were helping Earth survive its last stand. Secondly, I wish there was at least a little variety and openness in choosing where you can go and what you can attack. Every level felt very linear as I was directed from one encounter to the next. The story could’ve also centered more on Earth, as I was dissapointed in Bungie repeating their formula of transporting you to another Halo-world half way through the campaign. The new guns, equipment items and vehicles however are pretty interesting. I don’t think any guns were added that were as important as the battle rifle of Halo 2, but they are different and refreshing in their different uses. The two new brute weapons do well in helping the brutes flesh out their side of the armory in both look and utility. I love speeding around in the new Mongoose, and the Hornet flying section was fun, but I don’t think they’ll change the multiplayer scene much. I personally have not begun to master any of the new items, but I can already tell from the few games I played online that they will change the whole landscape of the multiplayer scheme.

You can play up to 4 people co-op over Live.

Which leads me to talk about the section of the game that really makes Halo 3 the console-seller that it is. The multiplayer for Halo 3 is fantastic. With the inclusion of the Forge and Theatre, which allows ANYONE to make their own customizable maps, items, and gametypes and share their most awesome experiences in Halo on Xbox Live, Bungie has in my eyes perfected the console FPS multiplayer experience for this generation.

The hammer and new armors are awesome. (So is the Theater, where all of these pictures are from.)

I haven’t played more than a few hours worth of the multiplayer due to my internet being messed up, but I have been keeping track of it and have already seen the great results of the Forget and Theatre. Already there have been some interesting player-created multiplayer maps on the internet and freakin’ awesome videos of kills that everyone wished they could’ve recorded in Halo 2. I also like the new appearance models that can be unlocked. Even if everyone chooses to use a few models, it’s still a lot better than just seeing the same elites and master chiefs running around. It would take pages and pages to go over every aspect of the multiplayer, but trust me in that every part of Halo 2’s multiplayer has been improved. Bungie has even started with date-based downloadable events like a zombie-based gametype just for Halloween. Also, I’ve heard them promise updated versions of older maps from previous games. If you don’t know anything about Halo, you really don’t need to bother with either of the older ones, as Halo 3’s multilayer could potentially last you a lifetime with a sufficient playerbase and gives you a “greatest hits” version of the last two in addition to all new content.

I would say that Halo 3 has definetly lived up to its hype. The single player could have been a little better, but the reason one buys the game anyways is for the multiplayer. It will definitely go down as one of the best FPS games for any platform for this generation. I really hope more games in general can copy Halo’s Theater mode. I know a lot of PC games can let you take screenshots and make maps, but I would like to see more console games follow suit. Finally, if you would get any game for your 360, this is the game to get.

Halo 3 deserves a 5 out of5 stars. (add me on Xbox Live: Dumhartoir)



October 11, 2007

Just a quickie before the full Halo 3 review comes up: Sonic, the Blue hedgehog that used to be the archnemesis of the mustachioed plumber Mario and Nintendo itself back in the heydays of the SNES and Genesis , has finally been officially announced for Super Smash Brothers Brawl! I believe this is truly the end of the old Sega that we grew up with. It started with the demise of the Dreamcast, which was way beyond it’s time, and has finally ended up with Sonic guest starring in one of Nintendo’s flagship titles. (The Olympics game is way less remarkable then this.) Sonic hasn’t had much luck in the last few years with his games, which have mostly been poorly reviewed.

“Hey Sonic, remember when you used to be a threat to me and Mario? ”

If I were a betting man, and I definitely am, I would say that another major third-party character will probably be announced before the release date. Megaman is the most probable bet, but I would love someone like Leon Kennedy, or, ridiculous as it may seem, Cloud Strife or Master Chief. Now the last two have about a Goomba’s chance in Hell to get in, but I think it would be a great way to attract fans from other consoles. I think a Square character could just make it in, but it would probably be Sora, just because he’s the most recognizable face of Square on Nintendo in the last few years. The delay itself is killing me because it means I can’t pick it up and play it when I’m back in California, but if they need the time to perfect the online play, then I GUESS Rock Band, Mario Galaxy, Assassins Creed and others will have to tide me over until then.

Phhh. Yea right.

Mario Strikers:Charged

August 13, 2007

Right when I started up this game and saw Mario with a fierce expression of rage, fully clad in battle armor, dive-bombing from the sky ready to kick Bowser’s ass while a guitar was wailing in the background, I knew that this was the kind of Mario that I had been waiting for.

In the past, I have understood Nintendo’s apprehension with trying to make their games more appealing to the “Mature” audience (which in this case means people who will avoid a fun game if it does not have blood or gore, which ironically, makes them immature) because of the raping of certain other franchises, (*cough* SonicandBomberman *cough*) but sometimes it seems that they make their characters overtly happy and cute, just to stay on the super safe side. In the end, this just causes many of us gamers over the age of five to wonder if the characters we grew up had gotten a lobotomy somewhere along the line. That is why I thank God that Next Level games took the risk in putting their own style onto the Strikers franchise. In making the Mario characters tough and competitive, it puts a more realistic sense of challenge and urgency when playing the game.

If Mario was more freakin’ awesome here the internet would probably explode.

As for the game play itself, Next Level games has decided to evolve its game beyond that of simple arcadey soccer. In fact, it hardly seems like soccer anymore. The soccer ball has been replaced by an iron ball that “charges” every time someone passes or charges up a shot. The more a person charges and passes, the more the ball glows and the faster it rolls when it’s kicked. It’s almost impossible to score without charging the ball up at least a little, which makes regular shots obsolete. Also, every character, even the different support characters, have been given different “dekes”, which are moves that help shake off defenders either by dodging or hitting them with some part of their body. Many of the dodging dekes can be used to dodge the keeper altogether and just lets the character run into the goal, adding a whole new element to the game. Furthermore, every captain has a special item they can use which lets them use a special move characteristic of their character, like Donkey Kong smashing the ground and creating a shockwave or Wario farting and disorienting the opposing team. If you are worrying about the Wii controls, don’t. They are very intuitive and easy to use. There really isn’t much motion sensing used in the game except for having to shake the Wiimote when you want to tackle. Most of these additions should be seen as improvements, as it looks like Next Level has deigned to make Strikers into more than just Mario Soccer. Anyways, if you wanted a realistic soccer game, Strikers was never the place to go as even the first one was more simplified and arcadey.

The graphics are a little dissapointing, but c’mon, freakin’ craters and a 10-foot tall Mario!

The other major new feature is the online capability. After you sign online with your Mii, you can enter a ranked matchmaking service that pits you with another player looking to play. I don’t believe they match by rank, as I have played people in the top 100 and people ranked below 10000. The connection is pretty solid. I have played about 30 games over a few days, and I have not received many disconnections or laggy games that were caused by a bad connection, although I have heard of others complaining about the lag. There is also a friend roster where you can add your friends and challenge them whenever they are online. These features along with a leader board and changing seasons make for a comprehensive and fun online experience. One grudge I have is that the rank is based solely on points, which can be earned in victories or defeats, making a bad player who has more time to play often outranking more skilled players. Other than that, the online game play should be where one spends the most time in the game, as everything is already unlocked and it is where the competition is at its fiercest. Although the single-player is more robust, it should just be a place for you to get ready for the online play. The major addition is the event challenges, which places you in interesting scenarios that force you to rely on different skills. However if you have no internet connection, the single player can still offer you 15+ hours of game play with plenty to unlock. Unfortunately some of it is quite tedious, as each cup takes quite a long time to complete.

Strikers is only a must buy this year if you have only a Wii, are a big fan of the first Strikers (having a few friends that are fans doesn’t hurt either), or you are ridiculously rich. While I would love to see Next Level games make other Mario spin-offs in their unique style, Strikers: Charged will not appeal to everyone. Furthermore, due to the overabundance of A+++ titles this year, I would seriously plan ahead and see if you have the budget for the games coming ahead.

Freakin’ Awesome!! rating: 3.5 stars