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Naruto: The Broken Bond review video

Source: videogamesblogger.com

The Broken Bond for Xbox 360This sequel to Naruto: Rise of a Ninja features Naruto, who has now evolved into a well-respected Ninja, but his new status and abilities trigger the envy of his best friend and Ninja teammate, Sasuke. The enemy of the village, Orochimaru, takes advantage of the situation and convinces Sasuke to leave his friends and his village in order to join his evil clan and become more powerful. With the help of his Ninja friends, Naruto goes on a quest to retrieve Sasuke and save him. Naruto: The Broken Bond is also the only Naruto video game, other than Rise of a Ninja, that features an online multiplayer mode which allows players to compete against others in an online tournament mode.

With friends like these, who needs anime? Find out more in this Naruto: The Broken Bond video review.



Game features include:
* Play as a respected and heroic ninja: Enjoy being a hero and benefit from the newly acquired status gained from saving the village.
* Discover the importance of teamwork: An all-new feature to the series, use the abilities of your ninja teammates to overcome bigger obstacles and join forces in tag battles. Players can now team-up with multiple characters from the Naruto universe when in combat and throughout their heroic adventure.
* Explore rich open environments: Following the attack of the Sound and Sand ninja, participate in the reconstruction of the Hidden Leaf Village: enjoy its depth from a new perspective, adding a new level of detail never reached before in a Naruto game. Outside of the village, discover remote locations and enjoy making your journey through vibrant and imaginatively detailed settings.
* Witness and be a part of the series’ most epic battles: Engage in battle with some of the fiercest characters from the Naruto Universe, and use new techniques and jutsu to defeat your enemies.
* Take your teamwork skills online: With the only Naruto game to feature online multiplayer, you can now choose among 25 characters and play alongside friends and defeat other teams online via Xbox LIVE. Take your skills a step further and compete in online tournament mode.
* Live in an authentic Naruto world: Relive the best moments of the anime, adventure through the open village of Konoha, and enjoy voice-acting and music from the original series.

To quote the IGN video review: “Much of Broken Bond improves on Rise of a Ninja, but there are a few areas that seem worse. In particular, the lack of innovation in mission design hurts, as you will be sent on numerous fetch quests. It doesn’t help that the forest looks pretty much the same no matter how differently each area has its traps set up. Aside from some bad quests, The Broken Bond is a great game. I’m not a huge Naruto fan, but I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the story. And the end set of missions — which can take well over an hour to complete — are thrilling. A fun online brawler is just more reason to keep playing Broken Bond after you’ve beaten the main mode.”

Presentation — 8.0
Graphics — 8.5
Sound — 8.0
Gameplay — 8.0
Lasting Appeal — 8.0
Overall — 8.3

Published on November 30th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , ,

N Plus review (DS)

Source: videogamesblogger.com

N+ on Nintendo DSAs you may or may not know, N+ — also known as “N Plus” — is an update to the beloved and award winning N flash-game, N+ brings the action-puzzle platformer to the DS (there’s also an N+ version on PSP).

With all the features of the cult favorite and more added (see details below), it faithfully translates the old-school look and fast & fluid action of the online game to the handheld. N+ will have players leaping and avoiding obstacles using the excellent physics and collision detection while they scour each level for as much gold as they can reach before finding the switch and opening the door to the next challenging level.

System: DS, PSP
Genre: Platformer, Action, Puzzle
Release dates: August 26th 2008 (USA/Canada/Mexico/Latin America)
Players: 1-2 simultaneous (Multi-Card)
Developer: Metanet Software & SilverBirch Studios
Publisher: Atari
Origin: America
Rating: E for Everyone with Mild Fantasy Violence
Pricing: $19.99

N Plus DS screenshotYour god-like speed, dexterity, jumping- sliding- & climbing powers, and reflexes are all the result of an amazingly fast metabolism; sadly, so is your natural lifespan of 1.5 minutes.

Like all ninjas, you have an unquenchable thirst for gold, a natural propensity for exploring rooms infested by increasingly lethal ninja-killing robots, and a devour belief in N.

N is a highly advanced system of spiritual, cognitive, and physical training. It emphasizes pacifism, humility, and the need to traverse five rooms before the end of your lifetime; a feat known only as ‘beating an episode.’

In accordance with the teachings of N, it is your profound hope that one day you will develop your skills, intelligence, and inexplicable ability to reincarnate, necessary to achieve mastery of all N+ levels.

The gameplay modes are:

* Tutorial: Before you begin Single Player Mode, you can play through the tutorial, which will assist you with sharpening the basic ninja techniques necessary for surviving and developing your N+ skills.

* Single Player Mode: Whether you are racing through an open room avoiding Zap Drones, jumping over Floor Guards, or navigating through a maze scattered with Timed Mines, your objective is clear… SURVIVE!
– Note: Aside from the single player game, that you can continue at any time, there’s the option to choose an episode, access your latest statistics, and look at your saved replays in user data.

* Cooperative Multiplayer: Team up with another cunning ninja in Cooperative Multiplayer Mode. In this mode players assist one another in order to survive an onslaught of enemy attacks. Be careful and remain in tune with your ninja skills. Your partner is counting on you! Work together with your ally in order to survive. Get the exit door open at any cost! Only one ninja must get to the exit, but it won’t be easy.

* Competitive Multiplayer: Now prove there is no other ninja with your level of skill and intelligence. Move with speed and agility, but move with purpose. Don’t let your competitor steal all the gold… that could prove fatal! Accomplish your goal faster than your adversary and stay alive.
– Domination Mode (competitive match type): The goal of this mode is to own as many black switches as you can. The ninja that has activated more switches gains time and the other ninja loses time. Have your ninja grab red colored switches to turn them black. Keep control of the switches and keep your time up!
– Tag Mode (competitive match type): You’re it! The only way to become a Tag Mode master is to make contact with your opponent making them ‘It’, then stay untouched for as long as possible. Whoever is ‘It’ loses time. Lose all your time and it’s game over for you.
– Blitz Mode (competitive match type): A race to the door. Race your ninja to the door as many times as you can in the time provided. The ninja with the most ‘doors’ wins!

Features included in N+ are:

* Hundreds of built in Levels: Conquer over 200 levels in single player or play with friends in over 100 Cooperative and 50 Competitive levels!

* PURE and PLUS modes: Play in PURE mode reminiscent of classic “N”, or try out the new enhanced PLUS mode only in the handheld versions!

* Ninja Techniques: Master stealthy Ninja techniques like wall-climbing and missile dodging to get past deadly laser drones, homing turrets, and other deadly enemies!

* Networked Content: Download new maps and replays from the N server. Design new maps or show off your slick ninja moves.

* Level Editor: Design maps and share them with friends or the world using the integrated level editor and the infrastructure modes of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection on the Nintendo DS (and the PlayStation Portable system).

* Unlockables: N+ offers optional unlockables such as different-colored ninjas, extra music tracks from up-and-coming video game music producer 5 Limbs, extra single and multiplayer level sets and more!

If you haven’t played the flash original N, you might want to watch the following N+ trailer for the platformer and action gameplay described in this review to make sense.

Click on the bottom-right corner arrow to view it fullscreen.

As a conclusion let’s rate N Plus on its fun-basis.

FUN FACTOR – 9.0
I can fully endorse the game for fans of the flash N original, the Xbox Live Arcade N+ game, or simply anyone who want to feel like a badass pixel ninja! Simple button-controls and a cheap $19.99 price make N+ easy to recommend. The best news is that it has 350 all-new levels and a new music soundtrack. The graphics are a perfect fit for this type of game, minimalistic but heavily stylized. You get all the simple-but-fast gameplay you want, and it lets you perform amazing acrobatics that’ll make you feel like you’re on the top of the world, or you’ll die dozens of times in a row and are left nearly pulling the hair from your head! No matter the outcome, your skills will improve over time making this challenging gem of a game crazy addictive.

Graphics – 7.5
You can play with either classic/pure or enhanced/plus visuals. In both settings the graphics come off as minimalistic yet incredibly sharp. The stylized character and level design gives the game a charm of its own.

Audio – 8.0
The fantastic music beats in the many retro-sounding techno tracks drive you forward in the game. The sound effects are pretty standard, meaning the death and other impact sounds are satisfying enough but don’t ‘pop’ like the music does.

Ingenuity – 9.0
The simple pick-up-and-play controls can be summed up like this: Running, jumping, and dying in unpleasant-yet-comical manners has never been more fun. If you happen to be a long-time fan of the N series, then you should know that this portable version has slightly different physics giving the game a bit of a controls-feel learning curve compared to the other versions, but it works great in the end.

Thanks to the DS stylus the level editor is simple to use (compared to the PSP version I tried). The zoomed-in and zoomed-out views of the level displayed on the DS’ dual-screens give a good overview, too bad there are no camera controls though (same story on the PSP where its set to medium view only).

Frustratingly difficult as the level design may be at times, since you’ve go unlimited lives that challenge makes for platforming at its best. The spot-on physics deliver gameplay that almost seems to be there to let you know that, if you die, you’ve got only yourself to blame!

Replay Value – 9.5
You’ll be playing this for many hours in a row. It won’t be easy, but you have all the skills needed to display your ninja mastery. Be clever, cunning, and quick. Unlock all of the level groupings to discover hidden bonuses and features. Once you get hooked, you’ll want to play through all 350 included levels and there are tons more to download for free.

The single player experience is expanded by the game’s support for: wireless multiplayer, unlockables like ninja colors, online community leader boards, local level sharing as well as the ability to upload your created levels that might get included on the levels downloadable content that comes out twice a week, and then the downloadable content in the shape of those user-created levels — only the PSP has unlimited storage for the free weekly levels downloadable content compared to 8 save slots on the DS — but you can browse/rate/download/play countless levels made by others this way. Altogether this gives N+ near-unlimited replayability.

Published on November 2nd, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Strider 3 action game rumored to be looked at by Capcom

Source: videogamesblogger.com

1990's Strider on Sega GenesisThe latest issue of American gaming magazine EGM has an interesting rumor in the Quartermann section. Apparently a Strider 3 game series revival is being considered by Capcom.

To quote: “It looks like Capcom may not be done revisiting classic franchises and characters from its massive catalog due in large part to the success of Bionic Commando: Rearmed and high praise for the retro resurrection of Mega Man. The Qmann says that Capcom is eying none other than futuristic ninja Strider Hiryu as a potential candidate for revival in a new Devil May Cry-style action game.”

Published on October 3rd, 2008 under , , , , , , ,

N+ PSP preview: I’m a pixel ninja!

Source: videogamesblogger.com

N Plus PSP screenshot
N+ AKA “N Plus” is an update to the beloved and award winning N flash-game, N+ brings the action platformer to the PSP (at the same time there’s N+ on DS) when it’s released on August 12th, 2008, in America. Created by Metanet and developed by SilverBirch Studios, Atari will be publishing the game.

With all the features of the cult favorite and more added (full features list at the bottom), it’s faithfully translating the old-school look and fast & fluid action of the online game to the handhelds. N+ will have players leaping and avoiding obstacles using the excellent physics and collision detection while they scour each level for as much gold as they can reach before finding the switch and opening the door to the next challenging level.

N Plus for PSPHaving now played the nearly finished version 1.02 of N+ on PSP, I can fully endorse the game for fans of the flash N original or Xbox Live Arcade N+ game. This portable version has slightly different physics giving the game a bit of a controls-feel (re)learning curve compared to the other versions, but it works great in the end. The best news is that it has 350 all-new levels and a new music soundtrack. You’ve got all the simple-but-fast gameplay you want back (play with either classic / pure or enhanced / plus visuals) to perform amazing acrobatics that’ll make you feel like you’re on the top of the world OR you will die dozens of times in a row and are left nearly pulling the hair from your head! No matter the outcome, your skills will improve over time making it addictive as heck.

The final game will have full support for wireless multiplayer, cartridge sharing ability (upload levels that might get included on the levels DLC twice a week), unlockables, local level sharing, downloadable content — only the PSP has unlimited storage for the free weekly levels DLC compared to 8 save slots on DS — and community leader boards… meaning gamers will be able to settle, once and for all, who is the greatest ninja of them all. I don’t know if I’m the best, but by now I’m definitely feel like a badass pixel ninja!

If you haven’t played the flash original (link at the start of this page) you might want to watch the following N+ trailer for the platformer and action gameplay described in this preview to make sense.

Features for both the PSP and DS versions are:

* Hundreds of built in Levels: Conquer over 200 levels in single player or play with friends in over 100 Cooperative and 50 Competitive levels!

* PURE and PLUS modes: Play in PURE mode reminiscent of classic “N”, or try out the new enhanced PLUS mode only in the handheld versions!

* Ninja Techniques: Master stealthy Ninja techniques like wall-climbing and missile dodging to get past deadly laser drones, homing turrents, and other deadly enemies!

* Networked Content: Download new maps and replays from the N server. Design new maps or show off your slick ninja moves.

* Level Editor: Design maps and share them with friends or the world using the integrated level editor and the infrastructure modes of the PlayStation Portable system and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection on the Nintendo DS.

Published on August 6th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , , ,

De Blob field manual trailer

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Pre-order De Blob for WiiPlaying as De Blob, Wii action/puzzle/platformer gamers will embark on a quest to re-animate the city of Chroma, and bring spunk and character back to the oppressed.

De Blob achieves this by splattering buildings, landmarks, and citizens with color.

De Blob game introduction video:

De Blob game field manual trailer:

Published on July 21st, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , ,

Classic PS2 Review: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Sons Of Liberty for PS2The secrets of Metal Gear have spread across the globe, with every nation now wielding the lethal technology. Solid Snake and Otacon have begun working for an anti-Metal Gear organization called Philanthropy, and the game opens with the duo infiltrating a container ship leaving New York harbor to investigate mysterious rumors of an amphibious prototype Metal Gear designed to best the existing generation of machines. FOXHOUND is still running, with a different cast but similar agenda; some time after Snake infiltrates the ship, untried FOXHOUND operative Raiden is sent to stop a group of terrorists who have taken over an offshore chemical cleanup facility and a bevy of hostages, including the President, in the process.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty is the 2001 sequel to 1998’s Metal Gear Solid. With the worldwide success of the previous game on the PlayStation, fans were desperate to see what creator Hideo Kojima could do with the then new PlayStation 2.

System: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC (Windows)
Genre: Stealth, Action
First Released: November 13, 2001 (US), November 29, 2001 (JPN), March 8, 2002 (EU)
Players: 1
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Country of Origin: Japan

Say what you like about the Metal Gear games’ mix of cinema and play, but when a team that excels at graphical detail, atmospheric music and a penchant for extravagant and flamboyant stunts assembles a game, it makes for a phenomenal intro movie:

A Drama In Two Parts
For most of Metal Gear Solid 2 the principal character is not Solid Snake. It is the new, Virtual Reality trained FOXHOUND agent, Raiden. Raiden’s existence was kept secret prior to the game’s release, and reactions from fans who were hoping for another Solid Snake tale were mixed. On one hand, Hideo Kojima and his team had pulled an enormous bait-and-switch operation, on the other; they had produced a visually stunning game with an epic, at times mind-blowing story.

Solid Snake began his work on the PlayStation coming out of retirement. He’s always seen as immensely athletic, and his face is whiskered and hard. His husky voice is wisecracking and cynical, and, as you might expect, he has lost the ability to be surprised at the depths to which his fellow man will stoop to further their own ends. The player, however - and Hideo Kojima is always wary of the player’s interaction with the game - is navigating the world of subversive operations and high technology espionage with eyes wide open, learning as they go. There’s always going to be a limit to how naive Solid Snake can be - he’s an old hand; a man whose career has taken more turns than a Nascar racer.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Raiden screenshot

Who’s A Pretty Boy, Then?

There are so many reasons for the decision to introduce a new principal character to the Metal Gear saga, but it’s also easy to understand the upset Raiden’s appearance caused. Seeing Solid Snake through to the bitter end of Metal Gear Solid makes it tough to relinquish control of the guy, but the switch adds depth to the canon.

With graphics and gameplay drastically improved but spiritually similar to that of the previous game, the plot and the drama that unfolds with the game is a major part of what makes Metal Gear Solid 2 what it is: an ambitious, complicated marvel.

Messing About In Boats
The only survivor from the Shadow Moses incident of the previous game is Revolver Ocelot, ricochet genius. A glimpse of him in the opening credits suggests intrigue to come, especially as he seems to have two hands, a substantial improvement on his last appearance.

In the first section of the game Solid Snake is on the trail of a new Metal Gear, with Otacon’s remote support. I found dialogue between the two characters at this stage of the game one of the high points of the game’s plot. Their exchanges refer to the first game, laden with self-referential humor and sarcasm. The writing has maturity and a wry tilt, and you gain a real sense of their relationship and opinion of each other, and because of that their discourse retains its reality even when Otacon is giving the player the usual infodump about new controls or unusual situations.

The tanker chapter asks many questions, not the least of which is “What’s going on?”
Ocelot and his cronies are intent on stealing the prototype Metal Gear from its owners, but these are internationally renowned villains we’re talking about, and at least some double-crossing was inevitable. As the twists and turns in the story begin to stack up, the writing strains a little under the pressure, but unlike the previous game, the ensemble of graphics, play and dialog actually comes off. More of the storytelling load is taken by flow between cutscene and play, rather than play and static dialog screens, and, for this stage of the game at least, the balance feels about right.

It’s revealed that Solid Snake’s clone ‘brother’ Liquid Snake, the leader of the rogue FOXHOUND crew in MGS1 is still alive -in a fashion- because Revolver Ocelot took Liquid’s arm to replace the one he lost. Liquid Snake can take over, almost possess, Ocelot, at will. Under the influence of Liquid, Ocelot steals the prototype Metal Gear and exits stage left, pursued by Snake.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Metal Gear RAY

Don’t Make It Angry

Offshore Accounts
Even as his chapter begins, Raiden’s identity is blurred, initially being called ‘Snake’ over the radio. It’s almost as though the production team wanted to lull players into the firm belief that this was also Solid Snake. Raiden infiltrates the ‘Big Shell’ offshore cleanup facility underwater, with the intent of freeing hostages, including the President of the United States, from members of a group called ‘Dead Cell’, also calling themselves the ‘Sons of Liberty’. As he makes his way through the facility there is a much stronger vein of similarity to the previous MGS - Colonel Campbell is guiding the mission, and while there is also female audio support, it is rather unusually provided by Raiden’s girlfriend Rose. As is made transparently clear as the game progresses, she’s quite a worrier, and apparently even wore down FOXHOUND’s commanders in her quest to keep an eye on her boyfriend.

The Sons Of Liberty and ‘Dead Cell’ consist of the roller-skating, bomb-loving Fatman, superfast, blood-loving Vamp, who also has the ability to survive horrific wounds, and Fortune, who deflects any projectile launched at her. Atop the pile is another clone of Big Boss - the former president of the United States, Solidus Snake. Standing beside him is Revolver/Liquid Ocelot, last seen in possession of prototype Metal Gear RAY, and in the two years since the tanker chapter, that one RAY has become many, many more…

As the player’s view of events begins to buck underneath cleverly induced preconceptions, the similarities between MGS1 and MGS2 stack up, strange characters appear, both familiar and yet different. The fourth wall is crossed and re-crossed and the player’s mind is toyed with, played with, almost, by the story as it takes loop-the-loops of logic in the space between the real world and the game world. And always, behind the scenes, referred to in shadowy terms and almost in awe as master manipulators and puppeteers of all, are an organization called The Patriots.

Fight and Flight
Metal Gear Solid 2 is spiritually true to the previous game. The controls are more complex, but retain the same feel - this is the same Solid Snake, with the same pace and movements, only the graphical superiority of the PlayStation2 means the focus is a little better. The first person shooting controls open the door to inventive interaction with the environment - shooting pipes to blind guards with steam, or spraying papers or fruit across their line of fire, and the camera switch is quick and intuitive to use. The tranquilizer pistol is a stroke of genius in terms of gameplay. With a silenced pistol a few random shots should dispatch an enemy, but tranquilizers take a while to take effect depending on where on the body the dart hits. A headshot leads to instant sleep, but a dart in the leg or arm gives a guard enough time to raise an alarm or fire back. This gives the player a huge impetus to fire carefully, subtly but strongly enforcing the benefits of a stealthy approach.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Shooting Gallery

Shooting Gallery

Weapons come thick and fast; there’s excellent variety with a few favorites from the last game thrown in, but the balance of power between the player and the massed enemy guards has shifted - an alarm will now bring a squad of reinforcements to an area, who thoroughly scope the place, checking shadows and corners, covering exits and occasionally even looking in lockers and cupboards for hiding suspects. Continued resistance will bring more guards with riot shields and more powerful weaponry. Patrolling guards who discover a wet footprint on the deck or an unconscious comrade will raise the alarm - so Raiden and Snake have to be careful about the sorts of trails they leave. Snake and Raiden can hang from ledges to sneak past guards for a limited time, depending on their strength - which can be improved by doing pull-ups - and the peeking mechanism from the previous game which allowed a discreet look around a corner has been expanded to allow shooting from cover.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Line Em Up, Knock Em Down



Line ‘Em Up, Knock ‘Em Down

The camera movement is a lot more fluid and focused than the previous game. It will follow Snake and Raiden within the environment where it can, and the presentation of the ‘lid-off-the-building’ level sections is much less jarring to the eye. Environmental damage, while far from pixel-perfect, is excellent for the PS2, and the damage-detail at times is amazing, although specific to certain instances (one bar full of individually shootable bottles, a huge glass window) rather than uniform throughout the game. One thing that is especially impressive is the character design and clothing graphics. While the environmental detail is high, the layers of texture and form that have gone into the character design is truly remarkable.

Metal Gear Solid 2 Discretion

Discretion Is The Better Part Of Valor

Experience
For all their high-tech gadgets and plot, if MGS2 and MGS1 were works of literature, you could happily call them magical realism. From the fantasy-world style codenames to the mystical aura surrounding the main characters and their enemies, and no matter how strongly enforced by technological or scientific explanation, the story of conspiracy, betrayal, identity and ideas is grounded in real people with motivations and complexities who are nonetheless faced with a series of events so incredible they border on unbelievable. Once the player takes the first step by accepting the plot, it’s one hell of a ride.

Check out this gameplay video, from the tanker chapter, so as not to give away too much of the plot:

Fun Factor: 9/10
Metal Gear Solid 2 works. The balance between cutscene and gameplay was always going to be difficult when the developers strove to do so much with both, but I’m very happy to say it comes off much better than the previous game, even when, towards the end, the cutscenes heavily outweigh the playable sections. The gadgets and weapons are fun to use and incredibly satisfying to use well. The characters, even when exposing their sordid sides, are simply very very cool. The dialog might be a little wooden at times, but when it occurs over the top of gorgeous and explosive action scenes, it doesn’t matter as much as it does when the dialog takes place over a static screen.

Graphics: 9/10
The polygon count has gone up, the precision of the detail has gone up, but because of the mind-blowing integrity and scope of Metal Gear Solid, this sequel feels very much like the same world. The lighting and color palette retains the same blue-green tint, the weather is marvelous, the attention to level detail is superb and the animation, while a little jerky between preordained sequences, is wonderfully rendered.

Audio: 9.5/10
The music in this game is excellent. It swells and ebbs under the action, the theme is stirring and catchy and the atmospheric sound and noise spot on. My only gripe is the voice acting, and I think even then the actors are making the best of a script that can only generously described as stilted in places.

Ingenuity: 8/10
The way the game has built upon its previous structures and gameplay methods is very clever. There is a stylistic continuity as well as development and growth. There is something new to learn about and deal with at every level, constantly revising the player’s expectations and concerns. After your first laser trap, you must be wary for more, after your first guard resists tranquilizers long enough to raise an alarm, you’ll think twice about firing haphazardly. This honing of technique and method of play constantly keeps you on your toes. Stealth is optional, but strongly enforced – guards once alarmed will not stick to standard patrol patterns. This is a real breath of fresh air when it comes to stealth gaming play, and most games where a lone attacker comes up against a network of guards – without regular patrol patterns to rely on and regular timings aiding sneaking past, life becomes a lot more difficult for Snake and Raiden.

Replay Value: 8/10
Beyond the simple fact that the story is deep enough to warrant a second visit, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and the bonus re-release, MGS2: Substance are packed with features to keep gamers coming back. Guards and bosses yield collectible dog tags to unlock different player outfits. Substance includes over 300 missions in the style of MGS1’s VR Training Missions, as well as… and I am grinning as I type… a really enjoyable skateboarding mode.

Next in the Metal Gear Solid series of reviews we’ll be looking at Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and the ultimate soldier and clone-father of Solid Snake, Big Boss.
Big Boss

Tenchu 4 announced as a Wii-exclusive

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Tenchu 4 Wii scanTenchu 4 has been announed by From Software for a Wii-exclusive release in Japan on October 23rd, 2008.

The latest issue of Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu revealed this, along with the news that Acquire is developing in the stealth-action ninja game.

Futher details will no doubt follow when the game is announced for other countries.

Published on June 4th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , ,

PS2 review: God of War 2

Source: videogamesblogger.com

God of War 2 for PS2In the PlayStation 2-exclusive God of War 2 (AKA Divine Retribution, AKA The End Begins) you once again take the role of Kratos, a fearsome Spartan warrior. Unmatched in strategy, tactics and ferocity, after defeating Ares he’s rewarded and becomes the God of War, but in his lust for war he becomes restless and goes down to Earth to go hands-on wielding the Blades of Chaos that the player uses in the game.

Watch the sequel to the heavy-action series that put “context sensitive moves” button killing minigames on the map. God of War 2 has so far sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide.

System: PS2
Genre: Hack and Slash, Action-Adventure, Platform, Puzzle
Release dates: March 13th 2007 (USA), April 27th 2007 (EUR), May 3rd 2007 (AUS)
Players: 1
Save: 525KB minimum
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Creator: David Jaffe & Cory Barlog (designers)
Origin: America
Rating: M for Mature with Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

God of War 2 screenshot

God of War saw Kratos, a mortal warrior, set upon an epic quest to dethrone a God. But his journey did not end there. In God of War II, Kratos sits atop his Olympus throne, as the new God of War – far more ruthless than Ares ever was. To end his continued torment, Kratos must journey to the far reaches of the earth and defeat untold horrors and alter that which no mortal, or god has ever changed, his fate. God of War II sets an epic stage for a devastating mythological war to end all wars.

In God of War II, players retake the role of Kratos. Armed with the deadly blades and blistering rage, players are aided by new breath-taking magic and new brutal combat moves that are acquired as the plot progresses and can be used in conjunction with the Blades to kill enemies. Defeating foes using a combination of attacks, including chaining attacks together in combos, will release red experience orbs, used to power up Kratos’ weapons and magic, and green, blue, and yellow orbs to replenish health, magic power, and the Rage of the Titans power, respectively. Chests distributed throughout the levels can also release these orbs, as well as providing Kratos with special artifacts to increase his maximum health and magic levels. The journey takes them through vividly striking environments where they are faced with a labyrinth of challenging puzzles and mini-games intricately woven into the story. The violent world of Greek mythology comes to life in gory detail as Kratos encounters new mythical characters, and compete in epic boss battles in his quest.

New features in God of War II include additional relics introduced in the game. These allow Kratos to reflect magic spells back to their target, to slow down time when near special statues, and to open locked doors. Additionally, Kratos takes flight on the back of Pegasus with the combat similar in nature to rail games such as Panzer Dragoon Orta. A new Challenge of the Titans mode allows the player to attempt 7 different challenges with increasing difficulty after they have completed the main game once. There is also an Arena of the Fates, in which the number and types of opponents can be customized. The experience points gained therein carry over to the main game. An overall rank of Titan must be achieved in the Challenge of the Titans in order to unlock the Arena of the Fates. Finally, a series of Grecian urns hidden throughout the game allow the unlocking of additional abilities when starting a New Game Plus, known in this game as a Bonus Play.

Watch the God of War launch trailer.

What are God of War 2’s main features?

* Huge Collection of Combat Moves: Players can utilize their favorite combo attacks from God of War along with a whole new set of moves and magic. Magic is based on nature’s elements which include utilizing the power if wind, ice and much more.

* New Characters: From the popular Cyclops and Cerebus to the Flying Gryphon and more, players will encounter some of the greatest Greek mythological beasts, along with more enemies and bosses.

* Puzzle Solving: God of War II features more puzzle solving, where players must solve intelligent, challenging and progressively more complicated puzzles latent with brutal elements that are intricately woven into the overarching story.

* Exploration: Players will continue their previous experiences in the dark, violent world of Greek mythology and test their agility through more levels as they traverse treacherous, often brutal terrain that will range from the undiscovered Sisters of Fate to the Dark Swamp and more.

* Critically-Acclaimed Franchise: With more than a dozen “Game of the Year” awards received for its predecessor, God of War II is based upon the same foundation and comes from the same award-winning development team.

Watch some of Kratos’ special moves in this gameplay footage.

As a conclusion let’s rate this game on its fun-basis.

FUN FACTOR – 10
God of War 2 eclipses the original God of War in terms of quality, gameplay, and violence and excitement in its story. The best way to describe is to say that the game’s pacing is extremely well balanced. The single player game is polished to a mirror-like shine and constantly makes you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster ride. God of War 2 costs $40 new on Amazon, you have no excuse not to own this if you’re an action-adventure fan who doesn’t mind brutal, bloody killings and likes a mature storyline. A classic, a must-have! The PlayStation 2 could not have possibly asked for a better swan song. Perfect fun!

Graphics – 10
The graphics are amazing, the best the PlayStation 2 has to offer. It’s so polished that there’s no slowdown during gameplay. God of War’s story is told primarily through beautiful pre-rendered cutscenes. The art design of ancient mythical Greek environments looks fantastic and matches the story perfectly. The game’s fantastic animations make every different combo transition from move to move seamlessly; it also makes the gore more visceral, this one’s not for the faint of heart.

Audio – 10
The music is spectacular. Orchestral pieces scored by the original game’s composers and performed by the London Sessions Brass Players and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra String Players and Choir are featured alongside electronica and hard rock music, including tracks created specifically for God of War II by Junkie XL and Atlantic Records recording artist Shadows Fall. The voice acting is another strong suit, it’s convincing and always gripping. Kratos, Zeus (Corey Burton), Atlas (Michael Clarke Duncan), the story narrator (Linda Hunt’s true character identity is unveiled in this game), and Perseus (by Harry Hamlin, the original 1981 film Clash of the Titans’ voice) stand out above all.

The sound design makes for a far more intense gaming experience. To create the best possible in-game sound effects, Sony Computer Entertainment America enlisted critically-acclaimed Foley Artist John Roesch to deliver an added level of authenticity that immerses players in Kratos’ battles with the gods. Utilizing all of the tools at the Warner Brothers Foley Studio, Roesch thumped watermelons, snapped celery, clanked chains and twisted lettuce to underscore the head bashing, sword fighting and bone breaking of the game’s intense combat.

Ingenuity – 9.5
The new weapons switching is a single button (R2) and it is fast and easy. There is no animation delay and you can switch from the Blades of Athena in mid move to The Barbarian Hammer, do a big hit, and then switch to any of the four magic’s to hit the creature some more, and if you like (and the creature is still alive) you can switch back tot he Blades of Athena to do the final kill move, all the while keeping your combo going. It makes for a more fine-tuned and perfected deep multi-hit combo system. Slight platforming and puzzling elements return and are more diverse, and kicking, puzzling and opening doors are all slightly improved as well. All in all, the action is feels epic and flows smoothly. It feels very satisfying to control Kratos as second story unfolds.

Replay Value – 8.0
Expect to play through the game in anywhere from 12 to 15 hours. After finishing the game, you’ll find the bonus modes add replay value. The Challenge of the Titans adds seven challenges (no worries, you can save after each one) and you’ll be ranked (Mortal, God or Titan) depending on how well you do. Get Titan on each challenge to unlock the most features.

Look forward to God of War 3 on PlayStation 3 in 2009-2010.

PS2 review: God of War

Source: videogamesblogger.com

God of War for PS2In the PlayStation 2-exclusive God of War you take the role of Kratos, a fearsome Spartan warrior. Unmatched in strategy, tactics and ferocity, after being defeated he desperately offered his life and service to Ares — the God of War — and was granted victory, from then on he wields the Blades of Chaos that the player uses in the game.

Watch the beginning of a heavy-action series that put “context sensitive moves” button executions on the map. God of War ended up selling over 3.17 million copies worldwide.

System: PS2
Genre: Hack and Slash, Action-Adventure, Platform, Puzzle
Release dates: March 22nd 2005 (USA), July 8th 2005 (EUR)
Players: 1
Save: 454KB minimum
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America-Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Creator: David Jaffe (designer)
Origin: America
Rating: M for Mature with Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

God of War screenshot

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” – Euripides (480-406 B.C.)

In God of War, the dark brutal world of Greek mythology comes to life before your eyes. As you take the role of Kratos, a story unfolds with various plot twists and multiple endings that take the player through explosive, aggressive gameplay fused with traps, stunts and story driven puzzles. Featuring an hour of cinematic sequences and a deep combat system built around unique double chain blade weapons, God of War will take the player through various environments that will have them fighting fierce enemies, swinging on ropes, scaling mountain cliffs, swimming through rivers and sliding down zip lines resulting in a one-of-a-kind action-packed Greek mythology adventure.

Kratos is an ex-Spartan soldier possessed by Ares, the God of War. Over time, he becomes the most vicious warrior in Ancient Greece to a point where he can’t bare it anymore and sets out on a journey to kill Ares. However, the only way to destroy Ares is to find Pandora’s Box, which is located in a temple that’s perched upon a hill and guarded by traps, puzzles, enemies, etc. The story is told as a flashback of three weeks prior to where the opening movie starts and then sets the stage for the game…

Watch the God of War launch trailer.

What are God of War’s main features?

* God of War introduces a brutal slice of life set in the mythological Greek era. Players can live according to their own nature. Even, if it is by brute force.

* Defining the next evolution in gaming, God of War presents an explosive gameplay mix: raw melee combat fused with traps, stunts and story driven puzzles.

* Huge collection of moves: players can swing on ropes, scale mountain cliffs, swim through rivers, slide down zip lines.

* God of War delivers an extensive combat system based on uniquely linking combos for a myriad of fighting moves. Take the combat in air, take out a number of enemies at once, and utilize “context sensitive moves” – moves that in particular situations, allow you to grab, kick or throw an enemy.

* Kratos’ main weapons are two blades – one attached to each arm by a long chain that wraps around his arm. This allows for both short-range and long-range attacks.

* Encounter some of the greatest mythological beasts and enemies: Medusa, Cyclops, Minotaur, Harpies and more.

* Unleash an innovative magic system that grants the power of gods and monsters: use Medusa’s head to freeze your enemies, strike them with Zeus’ thunderbolt, cut them down with Ares’ blades.

* Explore and unravel numerous puzzles that range from simpler lever pulls to the most mind-bending, sadistic twisters around.

* Players can experience a real-time world of interactivity: soldiers battle and die, structures fall to the ground, and the dark, violent world of Greek mythology comes to life in gory detail.

* From the creative director of the Twisted Metal and Twisted Metal: Black franchise.

Watch some of Kratos’ special moves in this gameplay footage.

As a conclusion let’s rate this game on its fun-basis.

FUN FACTOR – 9.5
Similar to game series like Devil May Cry, Rygar, and Castlevania, God of War draws its inspiration from ancient Greek mythology and boasts a heavy emphasis on exploration and battle strategy. Broken into three to four acts, the game also has a strong focus on story-telling and boast tons of magic spells and abilities. God of War costs $19 new on Amazon, you have no excuse not to own this if you’re an action-adventure fan who doesn’t mind bloody killings and likes a mature storyline. A classic, a must-have!

Graphics – 9.0
Fantastic graphics. God of War’s story is told primarily through cool pre-rendered cutscenes. The old Greek art design of the mythical environments looks fantastic and match the story perfectly. The game’s fantastic animations, make every different combo transition from move to move seamlessly. No noticeable loading times either.

Audio – 10
The music is spectacular, it goes from soothing when there’s no action, to an epic orchestral soundtrack when the action’s going on. The voice acting is another strong suit, it’s convincing and always gripping. Kratos and the story narrator stand out above all. Sound effects like those of the weapons and background sounds are all effectively placing you in a violent, ancient Greece.

Ingenuity – 9.5
Described as “Clash of the Titans meets Heavy Metal”, God of War equips its hero with a pair of sword-like chain weapons that can grab enemies, perform multi-hit combos, and pull off a variety of different aerial attacks. Slight platforming elements and an energy collection system similar to that of Onimusha have been incorporated as well, and players are even able to use certain elements of their fallen enemies as a weapon (re: Medusa’s head, for instance, can be used to turn enemies to stone after you’ve defeated her — shown in the video above). All in all, the action is feels epic and flows smoothly. However, a downside during fights with lots of enemies is that slowdown can occur and the platform segments aren’t always that exciting, but those are minor quips compared to the heavy action that keeps up the pace of the gameplay from beginning to end. It just feels satisfying to control Kratos as his story unfolds.

Replay Value – 8.0
Expect to play through the game in anywhere from six to 10 hours. After finishing the game a new God Mode difficulty appears to add replay and the game definitely exciting enough to warrant a replay. But most of the replay value comes from the wealth of unlockable features, anything from deleted levels, pictures of art and costumes, story backgrounds, etc.

Published on March 15th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Woo Presents Stranglehold Xbox 360 review

Source: videogamesblogger.com

John Woo Presents Stranglehold for Xbox 360Stranglehold, starring international film icon Chow Yun-Fat and world-renowned action director John Woo, brings all of the action and suspense of a summer blockbuster to your home. Acclaimed action director John Woo presents Stranglehold, a stunning third-person action adventure videogame and “spiritual sequel” to Woo’s 1992 action masterpiece Hard Boiled.

John Woo's Hard Boiled on DVDYou should definitely watch the movie Hard Boiled before playing the game as it features a tough-as-nails cop who teams up with an undercover agent to bring down a gun smuggling ring and has some of the most amazing and influential action set pieces in cinematic history. Fifteen years later the game Stranglehold redefines the action gaming experience with its acrobatic gunplay, thrilling cinematography, frenetic combat and incredible Massive Destructibility (Massive D) that your itchy trigger fingers have been waiting for.

System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Action-Adventure Shooter
Release dates: September 7th 2007 (USA), September 14th 2007 (EURO), September 20th 2007 (AUS)
Players: 1-8
Developer: John Woo’s Tiger Hill Entertainment
Publisher: Midway
Origin: America

Stranglehold screenshot

Chow Yun-Fat reprises his signature role as Inspector Tequila, pitting gamers as a take no-prisoners cop waging a personal war with Hong Kong crime lords. Tequila’s loyalties to the force are tested when his ex-wife and daughter are kidnapped by the Russian mob in Chicago. Tequila struggles to balance his duty to uphold the law with doing what it takes to save his family.

Stranglehold allows players to experience the excitement of true next-gen action as you take on the role of Inspector Tequila created by John Woo for his influential action film, “Hard Boiled” starring Chow Yun-Fat. Ensnared by a crime boss with a gripping secret, Inspector Tequila is forced to cross the line from sworn duty to bloody revenge. Engage your enemies with intense cinematic gun battles and cause massive environmental damage in real-time or revolutionary slow-motion sequences called Tequila Time.

Watch the Stranglehold launch trailer.

So what are the main features of Stranglehold?

* Stranglehold allows gamers to play a John Woo directed action blockbuster movie. dual-wielding,stunt-laden gunplay combined with massive destructible environments ensures that Stranglehold will be a true tour-de-force. The environmental interactivity and two-fisted gunplay all come online, bringing the experience to a whole new level.

* Gamers will experience smooth flowing gameplay, such as running up railings, swinging on chandeliers and leaping onto moving objects, all without interrupting intense gun battles.

* Featuring the cinematic flare of acclaimed action director John Woo, Stranglehold will also benefit from Woo’s direction on storyline, camera placement and cutscenes. Starring international action-star Chow Yun-Fat as Inspector Tequila, the game’s cast is also comprised of other A-list Hollywood talent.

* The innovative physics engine will provide gamers with an unprecedented level of interactivity. With two huge areas to explore (Chicago and Hong Kong), the interactions will be infinite with each level offering massive amounts of destructibility.

* Stranglehold’s inventive combat camera and Tequila Time slow-motion system allow players to simultaneously aim and shoot at the current target while diving, providing for robust gunplay combat between foes. This generates a cinematic effect that mimics Woo’s. Tequila Time is managed through a meter which drains with use and regenerates with time.

* Using a highly modified version of the Unreal 3.0 engine integrated with the Havok physics system, Stranglehold will breathe new life into game environments and characters with stunning graphics, and feature an ever-changing battleground depending on how players approach different scenarios.

From character design to gameplay mechanics, learn all you need to know before you enter the destructive world of Stranglehold. Watch this Stranglehold single player gameplay feature.

Get an in-depth look at the characters, weaponry, and gameplay elements present in Stranglehold. Watch this Stranglehold multiplayer gameplay feature.

Now let’s see how much fun Stranglehold is on a scale from 1 to 10?

FUN FACTOR – 8.5
John Woo's signature white doveStranglehold will give you intense, non-stop action, cinematic gunplay and massive destruction all over! It’s incredibly awesome and satisfying to see a game that’s a sequel to a movie, yet still features the choreographed action and freeze framed sequences that John Woo is known for. It makes you feel badass and the badguys will remind Inspector Tequila plenty of times (excuse my language) of how big his balls are for taking them on… after which you usually end up shooting them in the head with blood gushing everywhere or blowing up the entire place resulting in massive explosions, that all help make you feel like you’re in the middle of a blockbuster movie kicking ass like there’s no tomorrow.

The developers really stayed true to John Woo’s directing style and Chow Yun-Fat’s cool acting, and both clearly had their input into the action-packed gameplay and cut-scenes. All movie-based games or movie game sequels should look at Stranglehold as to how to get that cinema feeling into a game right. The controls are perfect and thus the action plays fantastic. Definitely try out the demo for the game before buying and if you love that first level, you’ll have a blast playing through the entire game! There’s loads of fun to be had in Stranglehold story mode and you can also check out the online multiplayer, but look at that as more of an optional extra mode, the story mode packs the real adrenaline-pumping punch here.

Stranglehold Collector's Edition for PS3 includes Hard BoiledSince I already owned John Woo’s Hard Boiled movie on DVD, I picked up the regular Xbox 360 version of the sequel game Stranglehold. But there’s also a PS3 Collector’s Edition that includes the aforementioned Hard Boiled fully remastered in high-definition and on the same Blu-ray disc with all the additional game extras and features. Then there’s a different Xbox 360 Collector’s Edition that includes the same extras and features, but on a separate disc without the Hard Boiled movie.

Graphics – 8.5
Stranglehold’s graphics and movie-style scenarios looks great thanks to a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine 3.0. Among these modifications is Massive D, a set of physics technologies that allows players to destroy nearly every object in a given level. Yes, almost everything! The character animations could be better though, especially when the characters are talking it doesn’t look that next-gen, luckily the rest of the game does. Stranglehold incorporates a body swapping technique that randomizes parts of enemy character models, producing varied characters rather than repetitious clones. Stranglehold’s gunplay uses location-based damage. The A.I. responds differently to various hit locations, varying enemy reactions with damage-mapped impact points, even Tequila himself will automatically move his head away from a gunshot impacting the cover he’s hiding behind if it’s near his head. This feature is integrated throughout the game, but especially apparent in enemies during the second of four Tequila Bombs: Precision Aim. Also, while targets take time to recover from flesh wounds, they will eventually revive (even if unable to stand) and continue to fire until passing out from simulated blood loss, so you better be safe and really take ‘em out while your guns are blazing and causing blood to flow and buildings to blow!

Audio – 8.5
The action-packed music score for the game was written and composed by Serj Tankian. Two complete songs are “The Essence of Tequila” and “Chicakong”. The various gunshots, explosions they cause or impact they make on the many different surfaces, all sound fantastic. Midway did a fantastic job on the sound effect. Of course the main attraction is Chow Yun Fat reprising his role as Inspector Tequila, they scanned his entire body and his voice acting is convincingly cool and angry at the same time. Once again John Woo makes a cameo as the bartender pouring tequila for Chow Yun Fat’s character.

Ingenuity – 8.5
As mentioned before, it really does feel like you’re playing through a John Woo blockbuster movie, which was exactly the creator’s intention. The controls are easy to learn as they are shown to you as you progress through the game. There’s nothing quite like diving to the side in slow motion while emptying your guns into mafia goon’s chests to take them down. Every action, shot, and special move you take/make looks cinematic and feels rewarding. Simply awesome.

Replay Value – 7.5
Expect Stranglehold’s main story mode to give you 6 to 10 hours of playtime depending on the difficulty level you choose. You may think it’s short, but it’s oh so much fun that the game length doesn’t really matter. Stranglehold’s online multiplayer is for up to eight players and it can get pretty crazy playing it in deathmatch or team deathmatch modes, but that’s not to say it’s much fun. For example, the Tequila Bombs like slow motion doesn’t really work as you’d expect it to in multiplayer unless both people activate it at the same time. In January 2008 the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Stranglehold received a multiplayer map pack that adds 10 new maps and 21 new character skins to the online part of the game.


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