Archive for the Reviews Category

‘The Last of Us’ Review

Posted in Reviews, Vlog with tags , , , , , , , on June 29, 2013 by Matt

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Review: Dead Space 3 (PS3)

Posted in Reviews on February 9, 2013 by Matt

Dead Space 3 is a game that a lot of people were worried about, due to the inclusion of co-op play, the introduction of human enemies and micro transactions. Don’t worry too much though. I didn’t use or feel like I had to use micro transactions and the game is still a Dead Space game, and it was a decent experience overall. This review will not be covering co-op at all, as I don’t generally play many multi-player games. I’ll just let you know that you don’t have another character with you the entire game like in Resident Evil 5 and 6. Without further delay, let’s get on with what is good and what is bad about the game (This review was played through on Hard difficulty and took roughly 20 hours, doing most optional side-missions).

    What did I like? What was done well?

Weapon Customization

In the other Dead Space games, there were tools and weapons, and you could upgrade them using power nodes on a grid that would increase power, reload speed, clip size and fire rate.

This time around, you have the ability to completely customize weapons. You have the frame for the tool/weapon, the engine or core, the end attachments and then some attachments for the upper and lower tool. Yes, a lot of weapons in Dead Space 3 have the option of having an over-under combination of weapons. It’s possible to have a standard assault rifle style weapon with a grenade launcher under it, or a plasma cutter with a flamethrower under it, and so on.

Each engine or core has a different end to it, so a plasma core can be a plasma cutter, a line gun, etc. with the right end attachments. Machine engines can be fitted with a rail system, turning them into a sniper rifle (and yes, you can add a scope), or another thing to it to turn it into a shotgun. You can even make a javelin gun that fires in bursts of three or that fires like a shotgun. These weapons can also have circuits added to them to increase power, reload speed, fire rate or clip size. There are a lot of options to play with. By the end, I was caring a fully automatic machine gun with a lighting gun mounted under it.

Graphics and Aesthetics
The game’s graphics are crisp and clean for the most part. The environments are detailed and the snow and weather are excellent. The views you can get when you space walk are sometimes breathtaking. They really did create something beautiful to look at, and it’s impressive considering it’s running on pretty old hardware.

Music and Sound
The music in the game is great for setting tone and sometimes it reminds me of the Alien films’ soundtracks. The music gets frantic when the monsters show up to get you, and gets the blood pumping in those tense moments. Sound is very important in games like these, and they put it to good use. Let’s say that you’re in a room filled with vents, and you hear some rustling in the ceiling. If you have a good pair of surround sound headphones or speakers, you’ll be able to tell which vent the monster will pop out of. Or if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll definitely know which vent they burst out of when they smash it open. Eventually the game makes you paranoid, and you’ll find yourself listening for the sounds of impending doom as you walk (or run) down hallways.

Monster designs
It’s a new game, and with it come some new horrors. I won’t ruin the surprise for you if you haven’t played it yet, but let’s just say that they made some really creepy creatures for this one, and made some variations on some of the older ones. Some of the monsters are kind of annoying at times, but that just makes it way more satisfying to dismember them and stomp the items out of them.

Optional Missions and Space Walks
This game encourages exploration by introducing optional missions that you can stumble upon just being wandering around. A lot of these optional missions were much better and more rewarding than the main storyline missions were, so I totally advise you seek them out. There is loot to be found and crazy sidestory/lore to be exposed!

The space walls you go on are worth mentioning. There’s something really relaxing and calm about coasting around in open space, with a gorgeous view of the world below looming in the background. It’s quite a thing and you’ll understand what I mean if you play the game.

    What did I dislike? What could be better?

Story and Characters
The Dead Space series has a pretty good storyline to it, and I was expecting that trend to continue. I put it up there as on par with the likes of the Alien movies (the first two) and it stands up on it’s own fairly well. It seems that this game, however, is the weakest of the three. Mind you, a lot is revealed, and it does wrap itself up fairly well, but the bickering that takes place between some of the characters can be described as petty, and shallow. It’s actually kind of annoying, and some of the dialogue and character choices are a bit hard to swallow sometimes. The new characters that are introduced are a tad under developed, and I found it hard to really care all that much. At least in the past two games, Isaac had his own struggles with being crazy and filled with the crazy marker knowledge, and a dead girlfriend that wouldn’t leave him alone. That was much more interesting than the stuff they threw at me in Dead Space 3.

With that said, a bit more background on the main antagonist might have been nice, as well as the Earth Gov soldiers Robert Norton and John Carver (Carver being the co-op character). (minor spoilers) Isaac and Ellie both have enough back story to them already, so all they really had to do was make the game a bit less romantic drama, and a bit more focus on the saving humanity stuff. People in the situation presented would likely not be bickering about relationship problems with the human race at stake.

Lack Of Crazy Visions
In the second game, Isaac seemed to have a lot more crazy visions, and they are often disturbing and awesome. I miss those, as there are very few in this game. Maybe three or four max.

Save System
The thing that frustrated me the most was the save system. I did not like the random checkpoints, and no actual save points. You could exit the game, and it would save your inventory (which you can exploit a lot, since item boxes respawn when you load your game), but sometimes you can’t remember where the last progress save was. I’d quit the game sometimes, only to load the game up and lose fifteen minutes, and have to redo certain things (sometimes tough fights). I miss the old save system.

Poor Cover Mechanics
The cover mechanics in this game are clunky and pretty much non-existent. Basically, they gave you the option to crouch, and when you aim, you will pop up to shoot. That is all. It’s a bit awkward sometimes, but thankfully you rarely have to use it.

Fighting Humans
The only real time you need to use cover is when you’re fighting these idiots. They don’t really use a lot of cover themselves, and they tend to always know exactly where to aim, but always have a long pause before they fire. They die quickly, but Isaac does not like bullets. Or rockets. The fights are never scary, nor are they all that fun. Kill them quickly and get on with your game as fast as you can.

Some Frustrating Parts
The game had some difficulty spikes here and there. I rarely yell or swear at a video game, but there were some spots where I’d die a dozen times and it was non-stop cursing. This was mostly due to my weapon being a little inadequate for the situation I was in, so this is kind of my fault, but still. It was not pleasant. Especially when monsters would grab me, and then their buddies would surround me. I fixed that by making a force weapon that would send out a shock wave in all directions and knock monsters back (or kill the ones that were giving me this particular problem).

Too Many Regenerators
In the first two games, these monsters were unstoppable, until you were in a specific room or area of the game which would allow you to freeze or incinerate them. In this game, that option isn’t a thing. Sometimes you’ll be running away from two or more of these things, and that is your only option. It’s even worse when it’s a room your stuck in with them and other monsters still coming in to attack you. I’ll admit, they are scary monsters, but it gets old after you run into them for the eighth time, or keep dying because you have no stasis left and keep getting killed over and over (label this as frustrating).

    Overall

Dead Space 3 is a fun and entertaining game. It’s still got some intense moments, jump scares, and has it’s share of decent atmosphere that still feels like a Dead Space game. With the exception of the weapon customization stuff, the rest of the stuff they added really didn’t do much to hinder or impact my experience, and wasn’t enough to ruin the game. At around 20 hours of playtime for my first play-through on Hard difficulty, I feel like I got my money’s worth.

Review: The Walking Dead Episode 1: A New Day (PC)

Posted in Reviews on April 25, 2012 by Matt

Hey guys! Long time no post! Life’s been a bit stressful and chaotic the last week or two, and I’m finally back to playing some games. I’m a fan of the comics and the tv show, so I picked up The Walking Dead game on Steam. I pre-ordered, so hopefully I can win the prize. Anyone who pre-ordered can be drawn to make a cameo in one of the game episodes, so maybe you’ll see me there!

Anyway, the episode took me a little over 2 hours to finish. It’s not difficult or anything, it’s all based on character interaction and choices you make. Sort of like Heavy Rain, but in comic-style art, and with zombies.

What did I enjoy? What stood out? Story so far… , Art style, dialogue and choices, stressful situations

You play as a character named Lee Everette, you you start the game in the back of a cop car driving down the road. Things happen and you run into a little girl named Clementine. The story is yours to shape, depending on the choices you make, but I’m going to guess you end up with the little girl no matter what, and it’s up to you to take care of her. The story runs along side the comic’s, and you even run into some familiar faces. It’s all about the stress of surviving in the zombie apocalypse, and how people react to the events around them. Episode 1 is really just the introduction, so we’ll have to wait and see how things turn out over the next 5 months.

The aesthetic and art-style in the game are excellent. It’s all hand drawn, so fan of the comics and comics in general may appreciate this. On the technical side of things, the graphics don’t push any boundaries, but it’s good enough for me. The blood, the gore and the graphics nature of the comics is still here.

There are a lot of choices to be made in this game, and they can all have different outcomes. I’ve only played through the game once, but since the game comes in episodes, your choices carry over to the next episode as well. Who knows what could happen over the course of the entire 5 episodes? Could be good, but we’ll have to wait and see what they do with it. I’ll be playing through the game again and making different choices this time. Choices can also save or kill certain people, so if you lose someone, you lose their skills and interactions in the next episode as well.

Choices can also lead to stressful situations, and I expect there to be quite a few of those in this series. When you are making choices, most of the time there isn’t much time to make them. Being a quick reader will help you here, but you must act fast. I like this as it captures some of the panic that you might see in the comics when a character has to make a quick decision. If you’re one of those people that reads the comic or watches an episode and you say something like “Oh, I would never do that” or, “I would have done this instead”, well, play the game and see what decisions you make when you’re forced to make quick choices.

What did I dislike? What could be improved? Occasional camera restrictions, semi-clunky controls, sometimes not enough time to read all dialogue choices

While walking around, it feels like the camera is very restriction. I love exploring rooms and areas for clues and useful items, but it just never felt like I could look around much. It’s really not that big of a deal, but I would have liked more options while I’m free to roam around rooms and such.

Speaking of roaming around, it seems slightly awkward to move around with the control stick. Clunky and sluggish. It’s not an extremely important part of the game, as it’s really not about running around and shooting zombies, so this is pretty minor.

Sometimes, I found myself barely being able to read all of the options for dialogue. The stress of something bad happening around you, and making a choice is tough enough without reading what the choices are. I kind of wish they’d give you a little more time. I’m not a fast reader, but I feel sorry for people out there that are any slower than I am.

Overall

If you enjoy the comics, and/or the television series, or just love zombies in general, you’ll most likely enjoy the video game episodes (or at least this one). There’s a preview of the next episode at the end of each, and a cliff hanger as well, so you’ll be craving the next one. If you haven’t read the comics or watched the tv series, it’s not 100% necessary, but it might make things a little more enjoyable.

Review: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PS3)

Posted in Reviews on March 23, 2012 by Matt

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has finally been completed. The game took 40 hours to finish on Normal difficulty (that includes doing some side-quests, all faction storylines and the main storyline). I wish I had played it on Hard difficulty though.

What did I like? What stood out? Story, Voice Acting, Combat, Customization, Overwhelming Amount of Quests

The story in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning starts off with an intro to the conflict. A big bad guy named Gadflow has corrupted an army of Tuatha (a faction of Fae) and there is a huge war. You are in battle, and are killed. You wake up in a pile of corpses, resurrected by the Well of Souls, and are now “the fateless one” in a world that is bound by fate and you have no memory. Your story begins and you fight your way out of the Well and meet it’s creator Fomorous Hugues, a gnome scientist. He tells you to meet up with a fate weaver named Agarth and once you’re out of the Well of Souls, the real game begins. Throughout your travels, you meet Fae(beings made completely of pure magic that remind me of dryads), elves , gnomes and humans, and they all have something for you to do.

The main quest has you and your pals, fate weaver Agarth and shady Alyn Shir, on a huge journey to figure out how you were brought back, and how to prevent evil triumphing over the world.

Funny enough, I enjoyed the faction quests more so than the actual main plot of the game. The Warsworn story was fairly long, and has you investigating the theft of old relics from a vault. You find out what’s really going down and need to stop it. Then there’s the House of Ballads which has you investigating problems with a Fae faction. I found these really connected me more to the world, and help flesh it out a lot more. I began to care about the world I was trying to save.

I’m reluctant to really say much about the main story, as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Now, the amnesia has been played out quite a bit in a lot of games, and it returns in this game. Be rest assured that you do find out who you were before you died, and you are not just a completely blank slate. Your character does have a bit of depth and it does have something to do with the main story. Play the main story and the faction quests, enjoy them, and skip the majority of side quests.

The voice acting in the game, in my opinion, is definitely a bit better than Skyrim’s. Not every person you talk to is the best, but overall, the quality is up there. Everyone has something to say, but unfortunately, there are so many damn people that you never want to listen to quite everything. The script could have been a bit better, but the acting was excellent.

The combat is very God of War’ish, and has you performing different moves and combos depending on the weapons you use, and the skills you unlock. If you get bored with the weapons you’ve chosen, then you can always find a fate weaver, and re-allocate your skills points for a different character type. So, if you’re using hammers and bows to start with, switch it up to use long swords and daggers, or invest in sneak attacks and start back stabbing more. It’s up to you. It can get a bit boring after a while, and it eventually ends up being you mashing attack buttons, but it’s quite good for a while.

As mentioned above, the amount of customization is high. The fact that you can re-allocate your skill points at a fate weaver whenever you want is awesome, there are mage, light and heavy armours, and a good variety of weapons, and a lot of different skins for all of your equipment. Some weapons and armour will look the same, but some properties or magic effects can make it glow differently, or appear physically different in some way. It’s nice that you can change and customize pretty much any aspect of your character. You can even look in a mirror and change your facial appearance.

It’s sort of a good and bad thing at the same time, but when you start going around the world, you’ll find people with exclamation marks above them, and every single one of them is a side quest. There are almost too many of these. Most are basically “go here, get this, come back” or “save this person” quests, and then there are the item collecting quests. I skipped the vast majority of these quests after the first area few towns in the game. It’s nice to have a lot to do, and when you’re done the main story, you’re free to go and do them if you like. It was hard to say whether this was in my dislike or like category, but in the end, it’s nice to have extra stuff to do.

What did I dislike? What was done poorly? Graphics, Lack of body types, Too Easy, Lack Of Enemy Variety

The graphics in the game are pretty simple and nothing ground-breaking. This game will not push the console’s hardware. The aesthetic of the game is really nice, and it’s really colurful. It attracts the eyes, but the quality of the graphics are definitely not as polished as they could have been.

Every gnome’s body looks the same, every human’s body looks the same and every Fae’s body looks the same. There are not fat people, or scrawny people, or tall people or short. Every race has the exact same body type. If there are differences, then they are definitely subtle.

The difficulty is a huge problem. I died maybe 4 times in the entire 40 hour play-through. I wish I had started the game on hard difficulty so that it could have been a bit tougher and more interesting.

The enemies in the game don’t really change much as you progress to different area. In a long game like this, I like seeing a change in the enemies. There are quite a few different enemies, but I hate it when a game has enemies show up in an early section of a game, and then appear later as different colour and are tougher. This is acceptable in games that are more simple (Gauntlet) and stuff like it, but in a long game, where you have to fight a lot of stuff, variety in enemy appearance beyond just a colour change, would be nice. This is really just a small gripe.

Overall

This is a good game and deserves some attention. It has the capacity to be long game (200 hours?), but you won’t spend that much time in it, I promise. I felt that 40 hours was sufficient and I was able to play through the five faction plot lines and the main story in that time. I don’t regret buying it, and with the new DLC that just got released, there’s a new area and more quests to do.

Review: Twisted Metal

Posted in Reviews on March 22, 2012 by Matt

Here it is, The Twisted Metal review. I finished the game a few weeks ago, and now I finally have time to write this. Yay! This review is based on: a play through of the main campaign in split-screen with a friend, some of the single-player campaign (no difference to story or anything), and some online multi-player matches. The campaign was done in 6 hours, roughly.

What did I like? What was done well? Storylines, Bosses, variety of vehicles and weapons, destruction, soundtrack, 4-player split-screen

The campaign feels unique and doesn’t remind me of any of game (other than maybe old Twisted Metal games), and is divided into three separate stories for three characters: Sweet Tooth, Reaper, and Doll Face. Each one is tied together loosely and is in chronological order. I say loosely, because some events effect the next story. Anyway, each one is actually pretty fun and I really enjoyed the way they did the cut scenes. The mix of live action with cg gives it that old feel and it’s something you never see anymore. The cut scenes are not too long and well done. If you enjoyed the twisted stories of the old games, you’ll like these.

The boss battles are interesting. Giant monster trucks, mechs, and what-have-yous are intimidating, and fun to battle against. They have some interesting mechanics in place for achieving victory, and I appreciate the effort they went through. It was a fairly unique experience, as far as games go in general. The bosses are all gigantic, and all have there own unique feel. The final boss, I’ll leave mostly as a secret, but I’ll just say this: you are inside of it. Oh…that sounded dirty.

The variety of different vehicles in the game is excellent. It’s no Gran Turismo, but once you’ve played the campaign through, you’ll have a nice selection that includes a helicopter, a motorcycle and a mac truck or two. There’s also an ambulance that can shoot gurnies with exploding patients at other vehicles. Sweet Tooth can use his special to turn into a mech and run around. The helicopter (Talon) can pick up enemies with a magnet and drop them from high up. There are a total of 14 different vehicles to select and 4 different factions (clowns, skull men, holy men or doll face) that drive the selected vehicle.

Each vehicle can equip one of 5 mountable weapons: Machine guns, sub-machines guns, shotguns, or rocket launchers. The first would be mounted on the vehicle, the rest are carried by a passenger. There are also plenty of pick-ups, including: rockets, fire missiles, homing missiles, napalm, cluster missiles, remote bombs, RC car bombs, and more. Each vehicle has an emp shot that can temporarily disable enemy vehicles, and also drop mines. There are also shields and shield pick-ups and well as health pick-ups (duh). Some of the weapons are kind of lame, but a lot of the specials are quite fun. Some can be difficult to use, but once you get the hang of it, most are actually pretty good.

If you like destruction, almost every building in the game can be destroyed, or driven through. This allows for secret spots and pick-ups. It fits well with the chaos of the game and I’m glad it wasn’t left out or forgotten.

The game’s soundtrack is awesome, and filled with very suitable music. It’s been a long time since I last heard White Zombie’s “More Human Than Human”. That song and the rest of the metal in the soundtrack really gets my blood pumping. I found a list of tracks on a forum board, here on IGN. It’s safe to say that if you’re a metal head, you’ll enjoy listening to the game. If not, than you can use the custom soundtrack option to listen to whatever you want. Yay!

The game has up to 4-player split-screen. I don’t need to mention much else, other than it is awesome and I wish more games had this.

What did I dislike? What was done poorly? Only 3 character stories, race/checkpoint levels in campaign mode, connectivity problems with online matches, learning curve

This is fairly straight forward. I want more characters damn it! The character stories that are here are good, but I miss the variety of the older games. Unfortunately, getting more won’t happen since there is not going to be any DLC released for the game. I’m not even sure if we’ll see another Twisted Metal game with David Jaffe gone from Eat Sleep Play. I’m saddened by this.

During each character’s campaign, there is a checkpoint race that you have to do. They are not fun. This game was never meant to have racing in it, as some vehicles don’t stand a chance of winning, and getting nudges can lead to you missing a checkpoint, or being knocked off of a narrow pathway or off of a building. Once you’re behind, it’s extremely difficult to catch up and it’s not fun at all. Also, once you’ve missed a certain number of checkpoints, you die. If my friend Sean wasn’t here, I wouldn’t have made it through these levels. I wanted to quit the game, but Sean at least beat these levels when I couldn’t. They made me want to smash my controller. Not cool.

The very small amount that I played online so far was plagued by connectivity issues. I got booted so many times that I gave up one night. This is why I haven’t had much chance to review the multi-player online stuff. The problem was with PSN, not my connection, as I ran all sorts of tests to make sure that it was stable. The matches I did play were a lot of fun though!

The controls in the game are fairly complex. Every single button on the controller has a useful function, and it can be a bit stressful to get the hang out it right away. It took my about half an hour to start getting comfortable with them, and maybe an hour or two before I was even remotely confident.

Overall

Twisted Metal is definitely a throw back to the older games, and it does a fairly good job of it. From the split-screen multi-player, co-op and soundtrack, destruction, evil clowns, giant bosses, everything I wanted is in the game (set aside the lack of actual characters, and races). It’s fair to say, not everyone will agree with me, but the game is a lot of fun and I urge you to consider buying it. Get some friends together and destroy each other. It’s either an extremely good weekend rental, or a worthy purchase for fans of the series.

Review: The Darkness 2 (PS3)

Posted in New Releases, Reviews on February 22, 2012 by Matt

Well, I finally got around to finishing up the platinum trophy for The Darkness 2, and now it’s time for a review. The main story was played through on “Don” difficulty first time through, and it took around 6 hours to finish. The Vendettas campaign was played through with my friend Sean, and we finished that in one sitting (2.5-3 hours).

What did I like? What really stood out? aesthetics, story, voice acting/dialogues, being a walking death machine, skill trees, the darkling

The hand-drawn environments and characters in this game are excellent. The colours are well defined and vibrant, and it has the comic book feel. The graphics are fairly standard, but the game is still nice to look at. If you like comics, than you’ll enjoy what you see.

Story-wise, the game is alright. You are Jackie Estacado, and you are head of the mafia. You have suppressed the darkness and have kept it under wraps for around 3 years. Someone tries to kill you at a restaurant and you have no choice but to let it out. You run around, tracking down who did this and why, killing anyone in the way. Someone wants your powers, and the darkness does not want to leave it’s host. There are quite a few characters in the game, and though the story is straight forward, the actual ending threw me for a loop.

The voice acting in this game is actually very good. It’s on the same level as games like Rage, where you actually go around and talk to everyone, just to hear all that they have to say to you. I spent a long time in the asylum parts of the game, just talking to the crazy versions of everyone. And the dialogue between Frank and Eddie was excellent, especially if you come back and talk to Frank later, when told to do so. There’s some great little tales that they tell.

Being Jackie, the host of the darkness, can be stressful, but ultimately you’re just a walking death machine. Rending people limb from limb, and spearing them with poles, or eating their hearts. All this is happening while you’re shooting with your own hands. It’s fantastic and you feel extremely powerful for the most part. The story is fairly straight forward and easy to follow, so most of the focus is just on the killing. I;m not saying that the story is bad, but it’s just semi-predictable.

With all that killing, you get dark essence points, and you can invest these points in different skill sets. There are different execution moves to unlock. One gives you health, another gives ammo, another armour, and yet another gives you faster power regeneration. Then there are swarms of carnivorous flies, and then gun channeling that allows you to shoot bolts of dark energy. One for quicker reloads, extra ammo in the dark, and all sorts of stuff. Once you get them all, you’re pretty much unstoppable. It’s a nice variety, and it adds that small leveling element that I like. It compels me to play more, since I want to see what gruesome things I can do next.

Throughout the story, you have a little sidekick called a “darkling”. This little fella is awesome and can be kind of funny sometimes. You can even pick him up and throw him at enemies. There are two instances when you get to play as him. It was fun the first time, but he doesn’t have much variety in attacks, so the second longer instance is a little boring. I found myself pretty attached to the little guy by the end.

What did I dislike? What was a let down? Vendettas, difficulty spikes, occasional glitches/bugs, end battle was too easy

The multi-player “Vendettas” mode is not exactly what I would call good. Mediocre at best. It has a very “thrown on for the sake of having multi-player” feel to it. The enemy AI is horrible, and the missions are not really all that special. The difficulty can ramp up at random, and then when you die and load a checkpoint, the game is way easier. The characters are not overly interesting, except the Scottish guy is kind of funny. Each character gets a piece of the darkness’s power, and have a weapon that is infused with darkness. It only took around 2-3 hours to complete the campaign, and another hour to finish the hit list. The final boss in the campaign was annoying and took forever to kill. The final boss looked cool, but it was overall an bland, boring and long battle.

The difficulty spikes are not as bad as Uncharted‘s, but there were two or three of instances in the game where I died around a dozen or more times and wanted to destroy my controller. This shouldn’t happen, and I don’t understand how developers can miss this stuff. At one point the game auto-saved and I was standing in light. Light in the game blinds you and makes the darkness powers go away. You don’t regenerate, or have any powers at your disposal. At the point it saved, there were two guys in armour jumping down to kill me. I died over a dozen times at this point trying to get myself out of that situation. Those two guys are followed soon after by more enemies, so it’s a serious pain in the ass to start a battle off so vulnerable.

With difficulty in mind, the end of the game wasn’t difficult at all. The last big battle was actually almost a joke, as I only died once when playing on the hardest difficulty. It wasn’t overly challenging, and it was underwhelming. At least the story has an interesting ending though.

Overall

The Darkness 2
was a fun single-player experience that had blood and gore flying everywhere, with a multi-player mode you can skip. It’s a short game, and you can get 100% achievements/trophies in it very quickly. My recommendation is that you get it if you really love the first game and are a fan of the comics. Otherwise, it’s either a weekend rental, or wait for the price drops.

Review: Alice: Madness Returns (PS3)

Posted in Reviews on February 11, 2012 by Matt

This game has been out for quite a while now, but I felt I had to finish it. I’ve been trying to play catch up on a few games, and I told myself I wouldn’t buy a new game until I finished Alice. Well, here we are!

Alice is a platformer and took me around 20 hours to finish. It was played on Hard difficulty.

What did I like? What stood out as something done well? Alice’s hair, Atmosphere and Story, Weapons, Secrets

The number one thing that I found awesome was Alice’s hair. And no, not her hair style. The way her hair flowed and moves was great and is likely some of the best hair effects I’ve seen.

The atmosphere and storyline in Alice are excellent for the most part. Think of it as Wonderland being infected with a tiny bit of Silent Hill’s atmosphere. The story can be a bit hard to follow sometimes around the middle sections of the game, but it all comes together in the end and works out well. The setting for the game also creates a great, depressing and creepy atmosphere for the story to be presented in. Things may appear normal in the beginning, but it gets pretty demented later on. All of the characters gave me an uneasy feeling, and I’m going to assume that is what they were going for when making the game.

The arsenal of weapons in the game isn’t huge, but it’s at least unique. You get 4 different weapons. The vorpal blade is your starting weapon, followed by the pepper grinder (acts as a machine gun), the hobby horse (slower, but packs a punch), and the tea kettle (almost like a mortar). There are also explosive bunnies you can wind up and they also pose as a distraction for enemies, taking their attention away from you. These weapons are not overly unique in how they work (pretty standard set-up), but as far as items used as weapons, they are unique and the hobby horse made horse sounds as you beat stuff to death. What else do I need to say?

There are a lot of secrets hidden throughout the game. You can find momories, bottles, radula rooms, and pig snouts. The pause menu tells you how many of each there are in the current chapter. These can unlock extras for you to view later, and the radula rooms give you a quarter of a rose each, and when you get a full rose, you get more health. Pig snouts will often lead to a basket of goods (teeth collectibles for upgrading weapons) or even bottles or memories. Sometimes you have to shrink to be able to see the secret areas as well, so it adds a bit of a need to explore. I like exploring.

What did I dislike? What stood out as poorly done? Difficulty spikes, the game dragged on, glitches/bugs/collision detection, poor overall mechanics during side-scrolling portions, useless rolling head sections.

As you progress through the game, you’ll find it fairly easy to get around for the most part, and then the game will drop a huge hammer on your head in some spots. There were one or two spots in the second half of the game that had me wanting to throw my controller. Some spots didn’t seem fair at all. I eventually got by them, of course, but it really knocked down the enjoyment of the game.

The beginning of the game was exciting, the end of the game was actually pretty sweet, but the middle of the game seemed to drag on forever. By the time I got near the end, I wanted it to just end. I wanted the game over with. I was sick of it all. I don’t feel like I should have that feeling when I am playing a game. Isn’t it supposed to be fun?

Games have glitches and issues most of the time, and I didn’t have too many huge problems with those, but the collision detection in Alice needs to be improved. This is especially true in the side-scrolling sections of the game. I found myself dying and falling into the abyss when I thought I was clearly going to make a jump. Spikes would kill me without touching me. It was…madness. Not fun.

Then there’s the rolling head sections of the game. They are not fun, and they are annoying. The camera goes from fixed at the side, to you having to control the view sometimes at random and it wasn’t happy times. They weren’t that difficult, but they could have done something else with this. Like not have it at all.

Overall

Alice: Madness Returns was an okay game. Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I hated it. If you can find it at a discounted price and you like the idea of a really demented Wonderland, then consider it, but it’s definitely not worth the $60 I paid for it.