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Posts tagged ‘sony’

Heavy Rain – Quantic Dream – PS3

Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Interactive Drama
Release Date: PS3 Exclusive
NA – February 23, 2010
EU – February 24, 2010
AU – February 25, 2010
UK – February 26, 2010
Rating: ESRB M
MSRP: $59.99
Console Played On: PS3

Heavy Rain is one of those games that is not easily forgotten. The game stars four main characters, whose stories start separate, but gradually intertwine within each other to create a compelling, and emotionally driven storyline. The Origami Killer, a deranged lunatic who abducts children, murders them, and leaves behind a small origami figure within the child’s hand is the main antagonist of the game. The main character is Ethan, a distraught man who is struggling to keep his family together, and is pushed to the brink of insanity when his only son is kidnapped by the Origami Killer. His story, along with Madison, a photojournalist who suffers from insomnia; Norman, a profiler detective from the FBI covering the Origami Killer case; and Scott Shelby, a retired detective turned private investigator, become deeply woven in a powerfully emotional story.

Interactive dramas are not widely known as a popular style, so to pick one up and play it was an experience in and of itself. The game is played not on a scale of “beat the game or it is game over,” but rather an “every choice has a consequence.” Every action that is taken throughout the game influences what sort of ending is received and those consequences could cause any or all of the said main characters to die. The mystery of the Origami Killer could remain a mystery, and the kidnapping could end in murder, just as all the rest have. There are so many possibilities within the game; it is almost too complex to think about simply through words.

How far would you go to save your loved ones?
Graphically, the game is breathtaking. Within the game, the developers show how they modeled real people to achieve the facial expressions, which are so real it is as if a movie was being played. There are no animations where arms glitch funny, or a leg mysteriously falls through the floor. The motions were all captured using tiny cameras on real human bodies. Therefore, if an arm can bend in a certain way, then it can in the game. This plays in well with the trials that Ethan will have to face to save his son from the killer. Everything was rendered from the same images and polygons, so the cutscene characters are the same ones being used to play through the game.

The gameplay mechanics are simple, and yet quite complex at the same time. On a very basic level, Heavy Rain is played with a series of well timed button presses, tapping and holding, with a mixture of joystick rotating and controller shaking. Combining some or all of these actions together will allow the character currently being used to interact with his or her environment or surroundings. This can be as simple as pressing X, or as complex as holding X first, until square shows up, holding that and X, and then shaking the controller to allow the character to climb a fence. Quantic Dream really did a wonderful job integrating a simple control scheme to feel more involved than it really is. During the course of the game, R2 will allow the player to listen to the thoughts of your character at any given moment. This not only allows insight of what the character is thinking, but allows greater depth and understanding of the characters within the game.

Listen to the thoughts of your characters, they’ll help you through the game.
The story speaks volumes for itself. I personally got emotional through various parts of the game, and was involved from beginning to end. At the very beginning, it can be a little slow at first, but the game really uses that introduction to teach players the functionality of the controls, and how your actions change the outcomes. The player will also be presented with moral choices to make through the game that make the player question whether or not the decision that was made was actually right. The game, as spoken by the producer, is only meant to be played through once though, as you get the best experience making all of the choices the first time around, and reaping those consequences (both good and bad) the entire way through. At any point in time, the decisions and actions can be costly, even going as far as to killing off all of the main story characters, allowing the Origami Killer to remain free.

I can honestly say the only flaw within the game is the fact that it is really only meant to be played once through. The decisions that are made the first time around are spontaneous and, therefore, are the staple of how the game is meant to be played. Afterwards, obtaining trophies is all that is really left, and that is simply a matter of replaying chapters in a different fashion to earn them. Do not get me wrong, the first play through will be glorious in and of itself. However, like a good book, once the ending has been revealed, re-reading that book does not have the same luster as it did prior.

The player’s actions can cause a character to die at any moment.
Overall, Heavy Rain is a must have for anyone looking for the reason why gaming is an art form, and not just a hobby. With a compelling storyline, a gripping plot, beautiful surroundings, and one of the most unique ways of playing a game that I have ever experienced, Heavy Rain is a game that in and of itself makes having a PS3 worthwhile.

Liked:
+Incredible story and realism.
+Highly fleshed out characters
+Unique gameplay (enhanced with Playstation Move)

Disliked:
-Limited replayability

Innovative:
~Gripping story from beginning to end
~Interactive drama is brand new for PS3, and is a unique genre overall
~Listening to the thoughts of the characters

Rating: 10 of 10

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White Knight Chronicles – Level 5 – PS3

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review on a game that I’ve beaten, let alone a review period. My apologies for that.

This game was sort of a fluke buy. I watched the trailers, and I was really all for it, but as the reviews started coming out, I started becoming more and more skeptical. This is not like me, because I’m the last person who will base my purchase of a game on a review (does that make me a hypocrite for reviewing games for others?).

Anyways, WKC is your typical ‘save the princess’ storyline. You’ve got your heroes, allies, enemies, etc. If you’re a gamer, you’re familiar with all of these aspects, so I’m not going to delve into them too much. There are a few things that stand out in this game, both positively and negatively, which I will emphasize on.

First, your senses. This game is auditorially (made up word?) a very appealing game. All of the music is very fitting, and really gives you a good feel of where you’re at, what’s going on, and so on. I didn’t really pay attention to who composed the music, but they definitely deserve some credit for coming up with an epic track. There are many different instruments used in each song, and if this game had an OST, I would recommend all game music listeners to purchase it. It definitely completes the project, that’s for sure. One thing I noticed about it too is that none of it seems repetitive. In fact, you almost don’t notice it’s there unless you try hard enough to listen. That’s just how good it is.

Also, the graphics in this game are beyond breathtaking. Granted, I played the majority of this game on my 19″ 1080i Asus monitor, but still. Sometimes it really blows me away just how much the PS3 can do. The environments are expansive, the towns seem alive (similar to FFXII), and you really have to sometimes just drop the camera low to suck in all of the surroundings. I feel if you don’t take in some of the sights (and use the Crystal Camera) then you are not truly experiencing this game.

The third was the battle system, and the primary reason this game lost a lot of points with me. You are able to free roam the environment, and pick and choose your battles as you see fit. This was great, because nowadays, I don’t have time to wait as I get into a battle of a traditional RPG anymore, go through the battle, then item and experience distribution, then back to the field, only to get into another battle three steps later. Action RPG’s have slowly grown on me over the years, and I have a feeling it’ll be like that for a while. However, the way the system is set up feels clunky. Original, but clunky.

You set your attacks up based on the weapon you are carrying. For example, the basic attack of a shortsword is slash. If you change your weapon, and forget to change your attack tray, then you are stuck with no attacks. When you engage an enemy, a ring pops up with the name of the attack you’re currently ready to use. When the ring fills, you can press X to initiate the attack, and the ring empties for it to be filled again. This ring fill speed is based on the equipment you have on your player. If you wear clunky, heavy armor, the ring fills anywhere from 6-8 seconds. If you wear light knit armor (or roll nude, which I needed to do a few times), the ring can fill as fast as 1.5 to 2 seconds. So in a sense, you still feel like you’re trapped within a traditional RPG waiting for your ATB gauge to fill or something, and it’s ugly on the screen. I understand their concern for making a button masher, but I can think of a few different ways this could have been handled. Then again, I’m not a game programmer, so who am I to say?

One of the biggest complaints that I saw in most reviews was the lip syncing and yes I agree, it is really badly done. The storyline is pretty cheesy as well, so it only adds to it. The one saving grace that it does have is that come midway through the story, it stops being cheesy and becomes much more drama filled, giving you much information about the characters you’re with, their backgrounds, and why they are where they are. It does get good if you can bear with it, even to the point you almost forget how bad the voice acting is.

The game is relatively simple, and if you didn’t horse around like I did, you can get through it in a few short hours. There is a few things to do outside of the main game, such as going on line and playing with peers (which is a lot of fun) or messing around with your Georama, but the game is pretty cut and dry. All of the trophies are hidden though, so be prepared to do a lot of playing to figure out what they are.

Overall, I don’t regret buying the game, I just think there were some issues they could have (and should have) worked on before a release. I am just hoping WKC2 will address these issues. Oh, and the ending is totally worth playing through the game, if nothing more.

Rating:
7.5 / 10

Katamari Forever – NamcoBandai – PS3

This is the third Katamari game I’ve played out of the five they have out, and let me tell you, each one is just as fun as the last. This one might be my favorite though.

The objective of the game, for those of you who may not be familiar with the series, is to take your katamari and roll up objects around an environment, in an attempt to make your katamari as big as the goal. You can only roll up objects that are smaller than your current katamari size, so it’s similar to the snowball effect.

Now I know this sounds boring and simple, and in theory it is, but something about this game is so compelling that you want to play so much more of it. The control scheme is simple, you can play through the entire game with just your joysticks. They’ve added in other features, such as jumping and what have you, but we’re just going to disregard that, because it doesn’t play too much of a role. But yes, two joysticks is how you move through each level, sucking up as much stuff as you can.

There is lots of stuff to collect, as each item picked up is added into your library. Perfectionists like myself will have a good time getting all the items, finding all the cousins, collecting the presents, and making the biggest stars. So while the gameplay itself is simple, there is some depth.

I have yet to figure out what the storyline of the videos have to do with anything that’s going on in the game. It’s so insanely random it blows even my mind. I do enjoy the eccentric humor though, and find myself chuckling at the way things unfold. The actual story of the game (and why you’re rolling katamari) is pretty straightforward.

The one thing that blows this game above the rest of the games is the OST. Katamari Damacy has always had really great music, but this soundtrack is full of remixes that just make your ears sing. I can’t get enough of it, and I wish that Namco would release an OST with all their games like Atlus has been doing.

Overall, if you’ve never played the series, I reccomend at least giving the demo a wholehearted shot. Fans of the series will want to certainly get this game for the sake of having yet another amazing game in their collection.

Rating:
7.5 / 10

Resident Evil 5 – Capcom – Playstation 3

This game is epic. There is no if’s and’s or but’s about it.

First off, the storyline is epic. EPIC! They fill in just about every single plot hole and make sense of everything. Like, I haven’t beaten a few of the mainstream RE games, and I still got things answered for me that I had questions for. It was that. good.

Visually, the game is impeccable. All of the infected people are insanely detailed. Chris Redfield got a HUGE makeover. And by huge, I mean his biceps have more rips than an old pair of jeans. He’s got a new hairstyle too, to keep up with today’s modern styles. And Sheva has some bangin’ curves. There were three things I stared at in the game: the zombies, my health, and Sheva’s butt. Her accent is pretty stupid though. It’s like a cross between African and British. Africish? Ugh. It’s bad.

For those of you who loved the new style of gameplay they implemented in RE4, rejoice, because it is back and better than ever. They allow you to have a set of controls with strafing if you want, but I just stuck to the plain old RE4 controls. They are much tighter in this game (I tried going back to RE4, and thought there was something wrong with my controller). But it handles really well, with very little problems. The camera cooperates very well, unless you’re using the Gatling gun. The backpack is way too big.

Oh. The biggest thing about RE5? Two player co-op. Hell. YES. Wonderful, flawless, and a damn necessity on the harder difficulties.

The only complaint I have is the stupidity of your AI. Sheva is really useless on the harder difficulties, unless I just haven’t mastered the technique right or something. But the harder the game is, the more of a liability she is. It’s seriously the only complaint I have. Well that and when the frick the next RE game is coming!

If you own a PS3, you need this game. Period. End of discussion.

Rating
9.5 / 10

Steambot Chronicles – Atlus – Playstation 2

ZOMG a new console?! Haha, yeah, I decided to review something new. I’m not exactly finished with this game, but I think I have a basic understanding of it to review it.

Vanilla Bean, a boy who possibly crash lands his ship on a beach, and is awaken by a girl he thinks is named Coriander. Why is everything variables? He’s lost his memory. Its up to you to guide him through this newfound town, and see if you can jog his memory and see where he came from.

The game is very open ended, allowing the choices you make turn you into a hero, a villain, or somewhere in between. On the back of the box, they say that if Miyazaki were to make a game, this would be similar to what it looks like. I suppose from a certain view, I can see it, but that was really shooting for the stars. Its a sandbox style of gameplay, and they make it well known from the title screen. Basically, it means that you don’t have to follow the beaten path the whole time if you don’t want to. You’re free to do what you will.

Gameplay consists of playing musical instruments, which all have a neat way of going about it, to maneuvering in the Trotmobiles: vehicles of mass customization. I mean, everything on these things are interchangable, from the most useless things like the license plate to the more essentials like the body and legs. They’re a nifty little thing, and kind of give off a Mechwarrior feel.

The controls are perfect for the game, but I think they could have made them a little more comfortable, mostly for the Trotmobiles. You use the two joysticks, pressing both forward to move forward, one up and one down to turn, etc. But there will be times when you are fighting someone and you’ll not be facing the foe completely. It tends to get a little frustrating, but you can get used to it. Also, Vanilla is SLOW without a Trot, so make sure you have yours readily available. He becomes even more slow when he’s hungry.

The visuals are great. Everyone is beautifully colored and drawn, the towns look great, coming alive at nights, and busy worker people running around during the days. Its really quite awe inspiring. Also, all of the main scences are done with voiceovers, which are synched extremely well. The voices also fit the characters properly too, so none of that “he should sound more like this”.

Other little quirks are the mini games to earn money, the album collection for your records, and two player pool and trot battles give the game a little icing on the cake. I wouldn’t not recommend the game to anyone, I just feel that slapping Miyazaki’s name on it was a cheap shot. :P Atlus makes wonderful games, they don’t need tactics like that to sell.

Rating:
7.5 / 10

Final Fantasy XII – Square-Enix – Playstation 2

Oohh maahhh gawwwd.

You are Vaan, a young orphan living in Rabanastre, trying to get your life back together when the empire killed your parents and your brother. He is joined by his best friend Penelo, along with the Sky Pirate Balthier and his attractive Viera friend Fran, the ex old empire soldier Basch, and Princess of the old empire Ashe. Each character has their own specific goal in mind but it all leads to one thing: overthrowing Emperor Gramis Solidor, and his two sons, Vayne and Larsa.

Kay well first off, this game steers off the beaten path for being the first non online FF to not have a turn based battle system. Lots of people were skeptical on it, saying as how it tears away from the “classic” feel. Let me reassure you, if this doesn’t feel like a true FF game, then President Bush is my uncle. I assure you, he’s not. FFXII’s new battle system is so much more entertaining than the original its a wonder why they didn’t make this earlier. They’ve now implemented a new system called the Gambit system, which allows you to create an AI for each character. Playing through a totally new dungeon? Keep the gambits off, and make decisive actions that could cost you your life. Running through an area with creatures you can kill in one hit? Throw the gambits on so you don’t have to sift through the menu every time. The new active battling along side of the gambits make for an interesting prospect on FF gamers.

The Licensing system is another new feature added into FFXII. Basically what it means is when your character owns a weapon, he or she cannot use that particular weapon unless they have the license to do so. To earn LP, you just kill monsters. They are gained right along side EXP. The LP are also used to power up your characters with more gambit slots, additional HP, or added attack power. With the license system in place, no two people’s characters will be the same, and you have nearly all the control to develop a character the way you want them. If you want to have a group of white mages be your party? Then by all means do it. The choice is yours.

The graphics are the third thing that stand out. They are truly phenominal. The CG’s are absolutely breathtaking. Its hard to tell that I’m still playing a PS2 when they show those gorgeous scenes. And even during gameplay, its hard to tell the difference between a CG and the game itself. Don’t get me wrong, the change is noticable, but its not out of control like in FFX or below.

With all the new features, its easy to see why FFXII would be a scary game to purchase. They say never to fix what’s not broken, and believe me, before XII, Final Fantasy was far from broken. But you know what? Who takes a perfectly good car to a modification shop and says, “Please take everything off and put it back on again!” You gotta try something new every once in a while, and Square-Enix has done that, succeeding every step of the way. With a cast of highly lovable characters, beautifully created worlds, and a vivid storyline, you’ll recognize the true Final Fantasy magic once you’ve experienced it first hand.

Rating:
9.9 / 10