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TMA Game Reviews (Read 13694 times)
SynthR
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TMA Game Reviews
06/25/11 at 09:45:13
 
Everyone should already know what this is about. I would ask anyone reading this thread to not post their thoughts, criticisms, or off-topic banter in this thread. Please discuss it in the Earwig thread found here: http://temp.tmalliance.com/?num=1238291379

If you wish to discuss the journalism side of it, please do so here: http://temp.tmalliance.com/?num=1307891712/0

If you've written a review or wish to write one, go ahead and post it, but please put some thought into it. Spend time with the game, you don't need to be the first. Be as honest, fair and unbiased as possible and don't compare everything to Call of Duty for God's sake.

The format that I will be using is something as follows. Feel free to adapt it to your own style until we can collectively come up with a universal system.

-----------------

Picture of game

Author credibility:
- Here you would put stuff down to help build your credibility. It lets the reader know that you know what you're talking about.
- Put down how many hours you've spent with the game. Eight hours in campaign, 12 hours online.
- If you've beaten the game.
- If you've played past franchises.

What you need to know/Summary:

- Here I would put down maybe five points that summarize my experience with the game. This gives the reader a brief idea of what to expect. Ex:
- Great graphics, but horrible voice acting.
- Over 50 hours of game play.
- Unlimited replay value thanks to multiplayer.

Introduction:
- Have some clever lead. Bring up who the developer is. Mention any controversy.
Ex: - After 14 years, the Duke is once again ready to get some.... Gearbox finally dropped the bomb after several developers fell victim to it....

Gameplay:

- Probably the most important thing! Talk about controls, camera, action, whatever needs to be said about the game.
- Does it stack up again previous entries in the series.
- Does it do something different than its competitors.

Graphics and Sound:

- Not nearly as important as other things, but something still needs to be said for those that feel this matters.

Single player experience:
- Without spoiling it, talk about the game's length, the writing, dialogue, does it feel rushed, pacing, is it interesting, does it do anything different, replay value, difficulty.

Multiplayer experience:
- What features are there, types of game modes, how many people can play, lag issues, does it need patch work, game play experience again if you didn't touch it before.

Your two cents/opinion:
- Instead of rating the game, you can say how you really feel about the game. Fine, the entire review is your opinion, but this is where you let it all out. This will help people understand where you're coming from as opposed to you telling them not buy the game. You mention what you did and didn't like, if you will still be playing it after this. The idea is to put any bias you have toward the game here, rather than up there. This way it doesn't skew the overall review.

Some sort of rating system

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« Last Edit: 06/25/11 at 11:25:03 by SynthR »  

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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #1 - 06/25/11 at 09:56:11
 
Stuckied.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #2 - 06/30/11 at 01:41:11
 
... ...
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing


Is Big Rigs as bad as they say?


It is worse than you could ever imagine.

It was created by a company called Stellar Stone, which is obviously a name that they did not earn. According to the cover art, you haul-ass in a flaming truck defending yourself from cops a la Burnout Paradise's Marked Man mode, except with illegal cargo and explosions. In reality, you race 1 on 1 against another semi. There are no cops, flames, or illegal cargo. And there actually isn't any racing.

The reason I say this is because the other truck does not have any AI. It literally just sits there, in all it's ugly, retarded-as-fuck glory. So, "what the hell" you say to yourself, "I'm sure I can still have fun." In reality, it is not fun you have, but a comedic meltdown. This game is hilariously bad.
You'll start hauling ass, but, OH NO A HOUSE IS RIGHT IN YOUR WAY! No worries mate, you have two options: A) you can just keep going, because thanks to a lack of collision detection, you can just drive through the building, or B) you can turn on a dime because the world of Big Rigs lacks physics. So you see that you are surrounded by mountains, and you want to drive up them? No problem-o, you can drive straight up a sheer cliff, and after it is an empty, gray void. So you just turn around, and return to the world. Did I mention that you fall through bridges?
Another problem with the gameplay is the weird reverse. You can just reverse in a circle to limitless speeds, and when you stop, you literally, immediately, stop. Plus, your tail-lights float behind you. Yep. Classy.
The game comes with 5 levels, but the last level, a mirror of the first one, doesn't work, and is unplayable.

You can't really compare this to many games, but I imagine that this is worse than all of them combined. Hell, if you want the gameplay featured on the box, go play GTA San Andreas. Seriously, you can do all of that.

There's no multiplayer, and the singleplayer isn't really a game.

Graphics are horrid and the sound is no better. Seriously, it was ugly for 2003, and it was ugly for 2000.

In reality, if there is an upside to this game, it is the trophy you get for winning:
...


Really, if you com across this terribly game of epic proportions, buy it and use it as a gag gift. Really, the only upside to this game is "YOU'RE WINNER"

0/10




frist!!!!!!111!!
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #3 - 06/30/11 at 20:14:36
 
...

Dungeon Siege III Review - By SynthR


Authorís experience with game
- Played through Normal in 10.5 hours.
- Played through Hardcore difficulty in 7 hours.
- Played online with a few players.
- Also played through both Dungeon Siege 1 and 2.

Article overview
- Combat mechanics are excellent for an action RPG.
- The world of Ehb is ripe for some great story telling.
- A great single player title.
- Game is short for an RPG. (10.5 hours first play though)
- Graphics donít hold up under scrutiny.
- Odd choices made for the multiplayer portion of the game, which limits the gameís replay value.
- Collecting loot is an afterthought and unexciting.
- Little control over your characterís development.

Similar to:
Dungeon Hunter, Baldurís Gate: Dark Alliance, Champions of Norrath

-------------------------------------------------

Dungeon Siege III is the latest title by successful RPG developers, Obsidian. Known for working on games like Neverwinter Nights 2, Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, Obsidian has proven they can put together a solid RPG experience.

Fans of the first two games will find the latest installment to be a little departure from what theyíre used to, which is both a good and bad thing. For starters, thereís no mule, but Obsidian has tried to evolve the franchise into something more than what itís known for. Letís take a look.


Gameplay


What stands out the most about Dungeon Siege III is the combat system. Theyíve made fighting hordes of enemies a little more tactical instead of the point-and-clickfest most action RPG fans are used to. Spells take a few seconds to cast, swinging a sword has realistic recoil, and strangely potions have been done away with. There are no health or focus (Mana) potions in this game at all. In fact, there arenít any consumable items, but I will get to that in a bit.

Whipping your sword around in all directions is going to get you killed. Itís a simple fact. As I mentioned, DS3 requires players to put a little more thought into their actions before running sword first into a mob of bandits. Each character comes with three different ďstancesĒ, which slightly changes how a character plays. Two stances are offensive based, while one is defensive. For instance, Reinhart the Mage has a close range stance for hand-to-hand combat, a ranged stance for attacking mobs from afar, and a defensive stance, which provides healing, focus regeneration and an armor buff. Lucas the Warrior has a similar set up with a one-handed weapon stance, two-handed stance, and a defensive skill set similar to Reinhartís. Each stance comes with three abilities, with all nine being upgradable as you level.

Leveling in the game comes relatively quick. By the end of the game, I was level 27 and needed to grind for 20 minutes to reach the level cap of 30. When you level, the player chooses which ability they would like to upgrade. Each ability has two choices that will give it a little extra sizzle. For instance, you could choose to give your lightning bolt a ten per cent damage increase per rank or a four per cent chance for the bolt to jump to other enemies. Players need to be careful when leveling their abilities because each ability only has five upgrade slots. Once those slots are filled, thatís it. Players can mix and match between the upgrades or select the same one all five times. Itís their choice. To add to this, abilities can also gain experience as you use them. Once an ability is maxed out, an ďEmpoweredĒ version is unlocked. However, during my experience, only two of the abilities maxed themselves out by the end of the game, both of which I rarely used in their empowered state. Itís a great idea, but needs to be fleshed out some more.

As a side note, Iíve had a chance to play as all four characters, and sadly quite a few of the abilities are recycled across the heroes. For instance, three heroes have spells that can summon a familiar to fight for them. Talents, like boosting your critical hit rate, are also repeated, but with minor changes. In my experience, the only difference between characters was whether or not you wanted to focus on melee or ranged combat. Everything else was fairly similar.

As mentioned earlier, consumables have been ditched. Instead players collect orbs dropped by enemies to regain health and focus or they can use defensive spells to restore a portion of their HP. Attacking enemies is another way to regain focus. Simply punch a fire beast in the face a few times and you will find yourself able to use one of your abilities again. The lack of consumables only adds to the strategy of combat, as opposed to repeatedly spamming the potion button.

If you happen to die, however, a companion (real or computer controlled) can revive you by standing over your twitching body and holding down a button. When your party is wiped out, you will have to reload from your last save. Donít worry though. Save points are abundant, and Iím talking abundant of the ďtoo manyĒ kind. Every few rooms you will have a chance to save, have your health replenished each time you do and carry on. The over placement of save points actually makes an already easy game easier. Hardcore is a different story.

One of the biggest draws of any RPG is plundering for new gear and loot. Sadly DS3 falls short. There are chests to open and coins spew out of dead bodies, but you never feel excited to find new gear. Each piece of equipment comes with an assortment of stats, which seem randomly generated until you have the same ďBoots of Vigorous Vigor VigĒ three times over. Rarely do you receive anything that is clearly superior to what you already have equipped and since equipment barely changes your characterís appearance, you really donít care what youíre wearing until mobs become more difficult. Not everyone is going to agree with that, but my Reinhart was wearing the same ragged, mustard stained, white shirt and a Conan the Barbarian circlet for the first five hours of the game. Toward the end, I stopped opening chests completely once I had the equipment for the build I wanted. Even end game chests that were massive and made out of solid gold would drop common loot and 200 coins.

As you adventure through Ehb, you will pick up loot for your companions. This allows you to outfit your chosen companion during the campaign. Equipment is character specific, so no swords for the mage and no guns for the warrior, unfortunately. Merchants sell a set assortment of equipment during your adventure, but again, none of it seems to be better than the rest. You literally end up with half a million gold that you canít even dump into a hole and swim in like Scrooge McDuck.

An odd feature that was put into the game is the ability to transmute unwanted equipment into gold. At no point during the game did I ever reach my item weight/capacity limit, if there even is one. I was always able to sell my junk to the merchant. Iím not sure if transmuting even serves a purpose in the game at all since youíre practically rich for most of it.


Single Player Experience

Dungeon Siege III, in my opinion, shines in its single player. O.K. The game pretty much is single player with multiplayer tacked on, I admit. The story is somewhat intriguing and you never lose your way during your quest with the Fable-like breadcrumb trail that can be brought up whenever youíre lost. The storyís narrative is told through a sepia toned moving storyboard, similar to the Fallout series. The rest of the story unfolds through conversation, which is controlled using a Bioware-esque conversation wheel. Weíve been seeing these pop up in just about every RPG lately? Unlike previous Dungeon Siege entries, your verbal actions now have direct influence and impact over the storyline, but there arenít a whole lot of options. For the most part, there are two different outcomes for each main plot point. Unfortunately, it doesnít usually go any deeper than to kill, or not to kill.

If youíre a shy person and donít play online much, fear not for you will not venture alone. One of the remaining three heroes will tag along with you throughout your adventure as an AI controlled companion. As the game progresses, you will eventually meet up with all the playable heroes. Companions canít be directly controlled, but all their skills, abilities and equipment can be tailored to the players liking. The AI makes pretty good decisions for when and where to use their abilities and will also save your rear a couple times.

Aside from the main story there are side quests. They arenít so much as ďon the side,Ē but more like ďalong the wayĒ quests. You will end up completing a ďFind my lost watermelonĒ side quest while youíre clearing out the halls of the Legionís Chapterhouse, which happens to be filled with animated armor. Each quest gives you a bit of experience and some loot, otherwise they arenít essential to the storyline.

Playing the game on Normal almost feels empty. You never have a tough time taking down enemies and occasionally you might spontaneously die and be forced to reload your game. With that said, Hardcore difficulty is a saving grace. It adds just enough challenge to the game without being cheap. It gives you a sense of urgency as well since bosses will bust out the old one-hit and being swamped with enemies will likely result in death. Itís honestly what my first play through could have used. The down side is the game is exactly the same regardless of difficulty. The amount of money and gear you receive remains the same, with the enemies hitting for more damage.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #4 - 06/30/11 at 20:15:11
 
Something the game truly lacks is exploration. The world is far from open and pushes you through what seems like a long hellacious corridor. Thankfully there is minimal backtracking. Once youíre done with an area you have little reason to return. And that seems to be the theme of the game, honestly. The adventure took me ten and half hours to complete. I listened to every conversation, reached the max level and did every side quest. Thereís no New Game Plus option and your character canít be exported or carried over to other games. Replaying the game means youíre selecting a new hero and re-watching the story. Theoretically you could play the game for 40 hours, each with a different character, but as I said earlier, there is little variation between heroes.

To leave it on a positive note and tithout spoiling the story, I will say the game does a nice job leaving itself open for an expansion pack or whole new title altogether. Dungeon Siege III is only the beginning of what might become a multitude of sequels. Hopefully they have better multiplayer. Speaking of whichÖ


Multiplayer Experience

Multiplayer is severely lacking. What were they thinking? Itís pretty much co-op single player. Taking your game online means you will be hosting your single player save where three other players can join up as one of the unselected heroes. The problem is nobody can import their characters nor do they receive any benefit from playing with you. No gold, gear or experience. Essentially thereís no incentive for anyone, other than your local friends, to join your game. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed. Like most people, I was expecting a Diablo type multiplayer, which let me have complete control over my chosen character. Most action RPGís do it, but someone decided to scrap that idea for something that feels archaic.

Perhaps in an attempt to make things more frustrating, the camera zooms out and remains in a static position while online. Players can only move so far away from their buddies before they get the illusive invisible wall. I think that sort of thing is fine when youíre playing locally, but when youíre not sharing the screen with someone thereís really no reason for it. Instead, combat becomes a mess riddled with frequent deaths and confusion. At times too much is rammed together onscreen and thereís no escaping it. When playing Hardcore with a full room it becomes party wipe central with constant restarts. Itís a frustrating experience at times.

On a positive note, the only semi-praise worthy aspect of multiplayer happens to be the conversation wheel. Each player can listen to a conversation at their own pace and can make their own choice as to where the conversation will go. During this, each player can see what the others are picking, which only really matters if youíre looking to collect the achievements/trophies. A useless, but neat idea.

As a whole, multiplayer could have been significantly better. It feels thrown in because games sell better with it. Multiplayer isnít completely lost, however. A simple patch or DLC could fix the issue. Raise the level cap to 99 and add a New Game Plus with scaling enemies. Ta-da!


Graphics & Sound

Graphics simply get the job done. The textures do not hold up well against close scrutiny. Faces are devoid of character, equipment is dull and the environment has just enough foliage in it to give the illusion the world actually exists. In motion the game looks fine, but overall the title looks like it belongs on a last generation console. Perhaps the scariest/funniest things in this game are the goblins. I donít know who designed them, but they totally donít fit in the world. One such goblin looks like Benjamin Franklin. You will come across him during the story, so keep a look out because itís horrendously hilarious.

The musical score is orchestrated, which is nice, but all too often I could hear influences from other well known pieces. For instance, the most intense song in the game sounds like it was ripped from Batman: The Dark Knight. If I could link to the soundtracks for comparison, I absolutely would. Other than that, the sound is an assortment of fiery explosions and clashing swords. Youíve heard it all before.


My Humble Opinion

I enjoyed my time with the game. I love most RPGís even if others donít. The game is there, but itís held back by a few correctable issues. The game is a fantastic rental though. Itís long enough to last you a week and it has co-op for you and a buddy. Multiplayer definitely needs an overhaul. RPG fans love investing in their characters and eliminating that aspect truly ruins the replay value. Loot collection also needs to be looked at. When you pick up a rare sword you need to feel excited that it dropped. Not once did I get that addictive feeling of winning the loot lottery.

As a single player game, the game is a great restart for the franchise. The lore and story are both there and the combat is genuinely fun. If Obsidian can expand upon its foundation, I have no doubt they will muster up a winner. This isnít a Diablo-killer, but itís a little something to tide us over for the time being.
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« Last Edit: 06/30/11 at 22:07:03 by SynthR »  

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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #5 - 07/03/11 at 14:36:42
 
...

DJ Hero 2 Review - By SynthR (Matthew Le Blanc)

For Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii

Almost exactly a year later, FreeStyleGames offers up its second helping of DJ Hero. There have been a few new additions to the game but nothing groundbreaking. Theyíve seemed to have found a winning formula and have no intention of tampering with it. However, the game itself is still as solid as it was last year. So instead of focusing on whatís the same, for the purposes of this review, I will focus on the improvements and additions that are offered.

DJ Hero 2ís theme this year seems to be all about freestyling. Youíre now able to freestyle scratch and crossfade during certain sections, which actually works out pretty well. Itís an interesting addition and allows you to mix things up a bit each time you play through a track. The sampler also plays a bit different. Instead of choosing a sample pack to play with during your mix, each track has itís own set of samples that go a long with it. They can range from instruments, sound effects and vocal samples that are usually grabbed straight from the song, which is completely different from last yearís version.

Too make the game even more difficult then it was, theyíve added notes that need to be held and long directional scratches. Believe me, Expert difficulty is much more chaotic when youíre trying to hold down a button, press the one beside it with a different finger and scratch in rhythm with the track. I still think DJ Hero is the hardest rhythm game on the market, however, that may change with the 102 key Rockband guitar thatís coming out next year. For now, DJ Hero can continue to sit on its throne of complexity.

Even though the game can be extremely intense, through career play, you can unlock different turntables. Some of the tables, called Power Decks, come with special abilities, which make grabbing those five stars much easier. All of the abilities help get those massive scores you will see on the leaderboards and add a bit of strategy to the game play. For example, you will have to pick between a turntable that will give you more points for every scratch you do or a table that makes Euphoria last twice as along.

Perhaps the cheapest Power Deck, and I know a lot of people will agree with this, is the table that allows you to rewind two entire sections instead of the usual one. Top tier players know in order to get those high scores, Rewind is crucial. Being able to go back twice as far makes the table overpowered.

If youíre looking to earn these new turntables, you will need to play through Empire mode, which is this yearís career campaign. Nothing has really changed and itís pretty straightforward.

You pick a set list and play through them to unlock new tracks, venues, characters and outfits. Youíre pretty much forced to play through the lackluster career mode but I hope in the future they can make the career mode more interactive. They really need to get away from its currently linear format.

The game itself is aesthetically improved, both visually and audibly. When youíve created a track list, each song goes into the next to keep the party going. The visuals are crisp and run smooth with all the lights and activity going on around the DJ. The DJís modeled after some names in the industry, such as Tiesto and RZA, are fairly accurate representations. Thereís only so much you can do to make an in-game character look like the real thing. One thing that gets on my nerves is the amount of product placement within the game. You will see Coca-Cola bottles on the DJ table, on shirts and banners, along with some big names in audio equipment like Rokit and Stanton. Even if a sponsorship helps pay the bills, thereís something about seeing a real life product in game that takes away from the enjoyment.

The sound is where this game shines. I know, all of Activisionís rhythm games sound great but DJ Hero does it all right. Even if music is subjective, thereís no denying that all the tracks are well put together. The idea of blending two tracks together, which essentially makes an entirely new sound, is genius and is something music games needed. Some of the tracks are so well done that they should have their own singles available. This is definitely something the franchise has going for it. Other then that, the sound is what you would expect.

Perhaps the biggest changes made to the game are the small details that were missing in the first DJ Hero. The menus are still easy to navigate through but now players have the option of tagging preferred tracks in the list to easily locate their favourite mixes. On top of this, you can now save the track lists youíve made instead of sifting through them and wasting time. Track lists can also consist of more than eight songs and can be shuffled to mix things up a bit.

Despite being another party-type game, I find myself once again unimpressed by the multiplayer. There are a lot of new options strictly created for you and a buddy but it still feels lacking. The new Battle mode, where you take turns ripping up a track, is definitely the highlight of the additions, but other then that, itís standard fare. Oddly enough, DJ Hero 2 offers players the option of busting out a microphone and rockiní it. However, itís a little odd since players manning the turntables can rewind the track, forcing the MC to stand around silent for a bit. Itís a nice feature but poorly implemented.

If none of your buddies are around, taking the game online will pit you against the worldís best heroes. However, playing ranked matches is severally broken. Youíre given the option to choose what level of player youíre looking to be matched against but Iíve found it difficult to find players that play on Expert and Iím eventually matched up against players of lower skill. Winning a ranked match is based on percentages.

Each difficulty has different score requirements, so 100 per cent on Medium is much lower than on Expert. With that being said, an Expert player will have a difficult time beating someone on a lower difficulty. Out of the ten matches Iíve played, Iíve only managed to win once. If winning isnít your thing, there are lots of badges and titles.

Conclusion:
DJ Hero 2 is a great addition to Activisionís already stellar music game line-up. Even as a sequel, it injects new life into a formula that has slowly become stale over the years, yet manages to keep it familiar. All the tracks are brand new and there will be the inevitable overpriced DLC available for those that can afford it. People who loved the last installment will absolutely love this one.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #6 - 07/03/11 at 14:47:58
 
...

Hoard Review - By SynthR (Matthew Le Blanc)

For Playstation 3

When you think of dragons what comes to mind? Burning castles, knights and princesses? What about the fat stash of gold they sit on and never have the opportunity to spend? Well, if all of these images came to mind then Big Sandwichís latest downloadable helping might be down your shady back alley.

Hoard gives you complete top-down control over a dragon and sets you loose to burn havoc into the nearby farms and villages. The gameís main objective is to collect as much gold as dragonly possible, return it to your lair and increase the size of your mountain of gold in ten minutes. Sounds simple enough but throw in the fact villagers fear you, knightís hunt you and fellow dragons want to turn you into a charred piece of meat, and you have yourself the closest representation of what a dragonís life would actually be like. Maybe Iím being a little too liberal with that last statement, but unless the Discovery Channel does a documentary on it I donít think itís really up for debate.

The gameplay is fun and addicting. Even though the concept is simple, itís made deep with RPG-lite elements and strategic decision-making. Dragons can upgrade their speed, damage output, gold carrying capacity or defense as they collect more gold. Each stat has its own benefits and strategies to go a long with it. Knowing when to upgrade a specific stat can vary depending on what mode youíre playing or how many people youíre playing with.

The strategy continues in the way the game progresses. Everything on the map has a monetary value that you can burn down and collect. Farms produce carts that travel to villages, which then produce a wagon that is worth even more. Allowing farms and villages to grow will increase the amount carts and wagons are worth. Burning them down resets that amount. Allowing a castle to evolve produces a princess that can be ransomed off for large sums of coin. Sometimes you will have to play it safe, while others you will need to get in there, burn everything down and take your weight in gold before your competitors can.

As time passes, you will be rewarded with a multiplier, which maxes out at three. Keeping the multiplier active is a huge help when racking in the cash, so you may not always want to go in to situations mouths blazing. With that in mind, taking too much damage will cause you to drop what youíre carrying and lose your multiplier. Donít worry, after a set amount of time the multiplier will make its way back up. If youíre feeling extra sinister, dragons can harass and terrorize a village in hopes of scaring them into sending regular tributes to your liar. The dragon with the most damage done to a village, without completely destroying it, will receive carts filled with cash at regular intervals as long as they remain in control of it. Not only that, any defenses surrounding the town will no longer attack your dragon. Not a bad deal for a few seconds of terror.

The game is broken into four different game modes, each with its own set of maps and objectives. On last count, there are roughly 36 maps to conquer. The most common game mode, however, is Treasure, which pits you against up to four other dragons in a race for the highest score. Co-op changes things up a bit by giving players a single liar and asks them to collectively accumulate as much treasure as possible. Mentioning that thereís co-op should have perked up a few ears. It doesnít stop there folks. Even though Hoard is a downloadable game, Big Sandwich made sure to pack it with the thickest of multiplayer meats to increase its gaming life span on and offline. Hoard comes equipped with four player local multiplayer. Not only can you take your gaming online, those friends sitting beside you on the couch can tag along too.

Unfortunately, multiplayer isnít without its faults. Having more than one dragon on the same console causes the camera to zoom out to keep all players on the screen, making it difficult to see whatís really happening. Although this is a minor issue, there have been plenty of times where Iíve died because I couldnít see what I was about to fly into. A few other issues I ran into were the lack of players online. Iím sure they are out there but thereís no way to tell. What ever happened to the lobby systems of old? Low budget games tend to have a small player base, making it hard to set these games up, but a lobby system would most likely remedy that. However, the few games I have managed to get in on have ran smoothly. No hiccups, drops in frame rate or random booting of players.

The overall package of the game is fairly solid. The art direction is mostly taken from pre-existing sources, with nothing overly original added in, but how many times can you recreate what an archer looks like from the 1500ís? As for technical issues, there have been a few. Iíve lost control of my dragon a couple of times where it would try and fly off the screen, forcing me to restart. The game has also randomly restarted itself after completing a map. Iím sure these glitches are temporary and will soon be patched out.

The graphics arenít anything thatís going to push the limits of the Playstation, but what youíre given is fairly adequate for a downloadable game. The game is made to look like a tabletop board game with castles, mountains and rivers strung through it. However, the bland graphic style and top down view take away from any sort of depth. Even though youíre flying, everything still looks like it is taking place on the ground. When things get a little chaotic, you will find yourself scrambling to escape from being mowed down by charging knights and balls of magic.

The sound is perhaps the weakest part of the game. The musical score is a strange beast. At times it fits the era the game is taking place in, while other times the bards slip their dancing shoes on and rock a synthesizer. The songs are relatively short and on repeat as well. After a while you might want to shut the music off entirely to save yourself the trouble of being haunted by that pan flute riff youíve heard for the last hour. The sound effects do their job, although, can be a little too loud at times. There have been a few moments where Iíve been blown out of my seat from an unexpected explosion of sound. Beware.

Perhaps my favourite part of the game is when youíre making a deposit at your hoard and it sounds like a slot machine paying out. Nothing is more rewarding than hearing that. You could be filling your car with outrageously priced gas and as long as the pump plays that sound, you would drive away feeling like you beat the odds.

Conclusion:
Hoard is a great game to just sit down and play alone or with friends. Its main drawback is the price. Clocking in at $14.99, itís a little overpriced for what it is. Thereís no doubt it will provide hours of game play but with a $9.99 price tag, this package would become the perfect balance. Hoard is unique, easy to grasp and a lot of fun in the right hands. No game is without its flaws but Big Sandwich Games has definitely come up with something any casual to hardcore gamer can enjoy.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #7 - 07/21/11 at 12:49:13
 
...

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

By SynthR (Matthew Le Blanc)

For Xbox 360 and Playstation 3

Article Summary
- Long, but repetitive campaign.
- The campaign is significantly shorter than EDF 2017.
- Four classes to choose from; each with their own skills and weapon load outs.
- Online capabilities.
- No checkpoints. Prepare for frustration.


Introduction
Over four years after its first Xbox entry comes Insect Armageddon. A game where using a wash bucket to rinse and repeat is a clear understatement. This latest offering brings a few improvements over its predecessor, but nothing as groundbreaking as the numerous ant holes this game has you blow up. Fans of the previous entry will retread a lot of familiar ground, but now have the chance to revisit it all with an online friend.


Gameplay


The game is broken up into three chapters, which are then broken down into five missions. Each mission pits you against what seems a never ending fountain of ants, spiders and gigantic alien robots hell bent on doing ďsomethingĒ to Earth. You never know what their motives are, but EDF has never been known for its epic story line. During each mission your dispatcher gives you waypoints to head towards. Upon arrival you either need to find a flight transponder, kill aliens in the area or blow up some ant holes. Throw in some cheesy dialogue and essentially thatís the entire game. Once youíve beaten the campaign, you can play a survival mode that throws you into endless waves of enemies all for the sake of scoring the best time or replay the same missions on two other, probably even more infuriating, difficulties.

As in the previous game, there are a ton of different weapons you can take with you into the Armageddon. The problem is thereís too much trial and error involved since the game never fully explains what the guns do in the load out screen. Instead youíre forced to make sense of a gunís statistics, field test it and then make a mental note of its usefulness. Out of all the guns I tried, I kept using the same ones despite finding a ton of others. Killing things, the only aspect of the game, is ruined by an attempt to provide weapon variety. I would rather have had a few guns that I could upgrade using experience points than a wide selection of slightly altered gun fire.

The most notable addition to the game happens to be the four character classes a player gets to choose from. Each character has different attributes, a set of somewhat useful skills and a class specific weapon selection. For instance, the heaviest character can use all the massive rocket launchers, but runs the slowest. To make up for it they are given an energy shield they can bust out to block some damage while firing. Conversely, the lightly armored classes run faster, do less damage and have less health. It adds a little variety to a monotonous game, although in my opinion, choosing the heaviest class was a clear choice when it came to survivability. Lightly armored players seemed to be incapacitated far more often than I ever was and needed me to revive them every so often. Luckily revived players come back with full health and as long as you stick together you will make it through the onslaught. Once youíve completed a mission you will receive experience points that go towards ranking up, which unlocks new weaponry.

My biggest complaint, and cause for a few rage quits, is the complete lack of checkpoints. On average a mission will take about 20 minutes. Whether you fail at the beginning, middle or end you will have to restart the mission from scratch, losing any weapon crates you picked up during it. There were so many missions where I invested a half hour into it just to die during the final few seconds of its completion. The one that stood out was when I took down an alien drop ship and it landed on me. I could have avoided it, but I certainly wasnít expecting it to come crashing down on my exact position. Needless to say, I shut the game off immediately and played something else. If a game ever needed checkpoints it would be this one, especially when the game becomes pure chaos on higher difficulties. At times the game will throw so much at you that you donít have enough infinite ammo to deal with them all. How is that even possible?

Playing through the game on Normal difficulty clocks in at six to seven hours. The two other difficulties add even more time making it a lengthy and repetitive game. The game is fun in short spurts and even better with a friend, but not something you would sink an entire day in to. Itís mind numbing shooter action at its unevolved best.

Something I should also bring up for the achievement hunters out there are the ridiculously time consuming achievements this game has. If youíre going for the full 1000 gamer score prepare to log hours upon hours of grinding. Most of the achievements have kill ďXĒ number of ďblankĒ goals; some of which are in the tens of thousands. Itís enough to drive anyone mad if youíre not already for loving this game.

Lastly, multiplayer consists of local split-screen and online. Both play the exact same as single player campaign, just with more explosions. Honestly, I wish there was more to say about it, but thatís all there is.


Graphics and Sound


Comparing the graphics from EDF 2017 to Insect Armageddon is like night and day. There are definite improvements to the gameís engine and textures, however, even with the improvements it isnít anything to behold. All the character designs have been improved upon, but levels still consist of endless buildings and intersections. Something I noticed, and actually miss in the latest installment, is the lack of dead carcasses lying around the battlefield. Anything you kill vaporizes into dust, probably to free up some of the gameís memory. I actually enjoyed seeing dead bugs lying all over the place in the original game since it added a little something to the landscape.

The sound on the other hand has stayed pretty much the same. When you start a mission, youíre locked in for a half hour of ear blowing explosions, gun fire and low-end rumble. I do recommend listening to the horrible, yet hilarious dialogue though. The banter between your dispatcher and Intel is so cheesy you will find yourself quoting it for a few days after just to make yourself laugh. Things like ďIt is super duper top secretĒ and Intel telling you to shoot the ants to kill them are priceless. Whoever wrote this stuff is genius. Other than that, itís standard fare. I honestly canít even remember what the soundtrack sounded.


Final Thoughts

I played through the first EDF, so I knew what I was getting into with Insect Armageddon. I would have enjoyed my time with it more if it had checkpoints and wasnít so unnecessarily frustrating at times. I played through it with a friend and we could only take so much of it before wanting to move on to something else. The improvements are a step in the right direction, but we really donít need another Earth Defense game. With games like Halo, Gears of War and Call of Duty featuring cooperative modes where youíre pitted against endless waves of enemies, EDF pales in comparison. However, for a budget title I feel like it has made its mark with its own cult following behind it. Now excuse me as run out into the streets screaming ďE.D.F.Ē and ďRemember the Alamo!Ē

Game Rating: 6.5
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #8 - 07/23/11 at 23:05:27
 
You know what? All I can say dude is, YOU DAH MAN!!

Seriously. I really think it'd be cool that you'd be able to do honest reviews, than some shit I read in magazines and internet.

Where ever this leads from here, I'll follow. I'd rather hear reviews from you guys here than some shumck at a desk.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #9 - 09/19/11 at 05:29:57
 
After reading the post that the topic owner posted, Ican not keep silence, unbelievable! Why !?I have never saw such a wonderful post that can touch my heart deeply in my life for galloping in the BBS today. topic owner you let me know a sentencethat is ďthere is people always better than you, and there is sky always higher than the sky that you can see.ĒThank you in advance! After reading this post, Ireplied at once, because I am afraid the four-letter post will pollute this brilliant post. If Ican notleave my name follow thiswonderful topic, even if I die, Ican not keep peace! How proud thatI can leave my name follow this wonderful post! Topic owner, please pardon my selfishness! No matter how beautiful words that I used to describe your post is not enough. And now I just want to say: your post is best, no one can beyond you! I would like to read your post with my whole life.This post original in conception, the unique subject, clear paragraph, strange  and changeful story, clear thread, and undramatic with uncommon. The literary power that the topic owner show us is strong, every sentence can be classical, the topic owner should be our quintessence about the literature.From the viewpoint of the art, maybe this post is not succeed, but the significance of this article is bigger than the succeed. It called ďriding horse, handling sword, whole universe just stay in my mindĒtopic owner is the real leader of the BBS! Originally, I have already desponded to this forum with slop over. But after I reading your post, I see the wish of this forum. It is you, give the fire to forum in the night, you make the forum alive, it is you, save me from the cold. Originally, I want not want to reply any post in this community, but your post give me enthusiasm ,I tell myself, I must reply this post, Ican not confuse! This is a post that never appeared in a hundred year. Oh, Jesus! Let me see such a wonderful and splendid post in my limited life. Your world like the ď wonderful song breaks the silenceĒ and ď the sunshine through the cloudĒ, letís see the wish and the future. shocking thunderclapcan not be the 0.01percent of masterís mien, wonderful and brilliant can notassimilate to your literary talent! Touch my heart, touch my soul!  Your shine light the land, your tear moisten the plants! Thought your deeply words, let me feel your soul, your sharp eyes like the eagle, your agile action like the tiger. It looks see your ground body when you write the wonderful and grandiose article, and your heroís mettle when you watch around and handle the sword. Topic owner , how brilliant your words are! I live in the community for a long time, and saw different people came from all corner of the society, I think nothing can touch me, but you give me a new experience. You are really different from the others, you are the real master, the wonderful intonation, the brilliant sign, and the magnificent words. No matter how many IDs you change, I can find you in thousands of people, you must be the strongest ID.
















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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #10 - 09/19/11 at 13:35:08
 
I was going to just delete the obvious spam bot reply but that was actually funny to read lol.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #11 - 09/19/11 at 17:00:10
 
And because of that I will now buy nine pool sticks and some accessories.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #12 - 09/19/11 at 20:33:13
 
Hey, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  I did the same as Xizor this morning.
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #13 - 09/20/11 at 00:12:18
 
"We make a love like trashcan."
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Re: TMA Game Reviews
Reply #14 - 02/18/12 at 08:43:46
 
...

Twisted Metal (Playstation 3)
By SynthR (Matthew Le Blanc)


For the full, formatted review with videos, please visit: http://synthr.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/twisted-metal-review-playstation/

Valentineís Day is usually reserved for make out sessions, gorging on chocolates and sappy romance movies, but not this year. Feb. 14 marked the return of one of Sonyís most famous and beloved exclusive franchises, Twisted Metal. Even though it didnít ruin my day Iím sure relationships around the world were put on hiatus as drivers strapped themselves back into their machine gun clad vehicles to re-enter the dark and demented minds of David Jaffe (Past Twisted Metalís, God of War, Calling All Cars,) and Eat Sleep Play (ESP).

For those who arenít familiar with Twisted Metal, a little history lesson if you will. Categorized as a vehicular combat game, a genre popularized in the mid-90s, itís a combination of Mad Max married with the remade Death Race films (Which blatantly took designs from Twisted Metal). Mix in rocket launchers, flamethrowers, and some of the most sadistic and unreal weapons you probably wouldnít even think of and you have some metal worth twisting. In the TM universe, a man named Calypso holds a contest where the winner of the Twisted Metal competition is granted a single wish. The wish could be to bring someone back from the dead or being given the chance to right a wrong. Either way, contestants see the competition as a way to whet their murderous appetites and compete for a prize only Calypso can make reality. Are you up to speed now? Letís dive into the thick of things and see how things play out.

As a disclaimer, Iíve been a fan of the franchise since the original came out in 1995. Iíve played the series online ďcompetitivelyĒ with folks from the Twisted Metal Alliance (TMA) since 2001. I will keep the review as fair and unbiased as possible. Also, I will be calling the Playstation 3 version of Twisted Metal TMPS3 to reduce confusion with the original 1995 release with the same title.


Game play


I really do like this game. Itís not my favourite Twisted Metal, it might be after spending some more time with it, but itís definitely taking a step in a positive direction. Technically the game could have used some more tweaking and a beta test before launch, but overall weíre given a solid product with a lot of potential. After a few patches, I believe the game will really come into its own.

The core mechanics of Twisted Metal has always been the same. Pick a car, grab weapons and destroy your opponents. Since its first inception, the game has evolved into something more akin to Street Fighter with metal armored vehicles. Each vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses, will handle differently and has a unique special attack you can blast through someoneís windshield. Some people may not agree with that comparison, but when you see two twisted titans going at it the game becomes a fast paced back and forth dog fight across a collapsing cityscape.

It may sound simple and mindless at first, but the game can become pretty deep once you understand the basics. The hardest of the hardcore found past Twisted Metalís to be so deep that despite playing them online for years they still discovered new ways of playing and improving their skill level years after release.
With that said, Jaffe wanted reinvent the franchise with this version and to make it more accessible for a wider audience, something he viewed as a barrier in his past games. This meant change was coming. I moaned and groaned when I heard that comment years ago. TMA moaned and groaned with me. I thought we would be getting the Call of Duty of Twisted Metalís with all of its imbalanced game play and dumbed down skill threshold. Turns out I was only half wrong.

In past Twisted Metalís, most weapons took a bit of forethought and knowledge to fire. You needed to physically aim certain weapons and lead shots like you would in reality. TMPS3 has dumbed itself down a bit by giving most weapons the ability to home in on opponents more so than in past TMís. Although it still requires skill to launch a straight shooting missile, most of the weapons once fired will travel toward your targeted opponent without needing to aim. Because of this, the game lends itself to spamming the air with everything in your arsenal, something you couldnít do to this degree in past games. The second you see another driver, you can unload your weaponís bay without putting much thought into where things are going. They will eventually hit something and a hit is all you need.

TMPS3 definitely ranks the highest in terms of uncontrollable chaos within the series. The pace of the game has been quickened compared to past titles. There can be so much going on at once that itís hard to tell whatís happening as you jump off cliffs, drift around traffic and try to fire a weapon off. These are things the franchise is known for, but the mix of speed and violence feels slightly out of balance. To make matters worse, the targeting system feels unreliable at the best of times. There has been far too many times where Iíve fired a missile only to watch it fly past the car that should have been targeted and hitting someone that wasnít even involved in our dog fight. Usually targeting systems target the closest threat, something this game doesnít seem to always do. A little tweaking should fix this.

Something new to the franchise is the ability to manually aim into the air. At first you would think it weird, but it serves two purposes. For starters, for the first time in Twisted Metal history one of the selectable vehicles (Talon) can actually fly. Funny enough, the helicopter is probably the worst idea Iíve seen put in any Twisted Metal game. You have a roster of 16 cars that are stuck on the ground against a helicopter that can fly in any direction and have a clear line of sight from pretty much any angle. †At first it may sound extremely unfair, I make it sound that way at least, but the vehicle has low armor and can be brought down for a few seconds with an EMP blast. The real problem isnít Talon. Itís from having to aim up at it to cause damage. While aiming youíre crashing into curbs, traffic and buildings. Maybe youíre even being attacked by someone you didnít notice thatís directly in front of you. It forces you to take your eyes off threats just to attack something thatís taking pot shots at you from the clouds.

The second reason for the addition is to accommodate a new game mode called Nuke. In Nuke game play, players must hunt down the opposing teamís faction leader, drag them to a sacrifice truck and once sacrificed, launch a nuclear missile at the opposing teamís gigantic statue to score a point. Donít worry if it doesnít make sense. It needs to be seen to be believed. Once the nuclear missile is airborne, players can shoot it down before it reaches its destination. Simply aim up, crash into a few walls and fire all your homing weapons at it. So once again, we have a reoccurring problem in having to aim skyward. Itís something players will have to get used to, but adding things that float in the air just doesnít seem to work as well as it should.

Vehicle selection has always been a broad and exciting experience in Twisted Metal. In the past, vehicles always came equipped with a unique special weapon that would regenerate over time. However, in TMPS3, several cars have been given similar special weapons and play almost exactly the same. With a roster of 17 cars, maybe 11 of them are truly unique. Were there a lack of ideas or is there something I havenít discovered yet? Itís a shame, but I canít help but feel its wasted potential.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of the game is the level design. There are several massive environments built for 16 player mayhem that breakdown into over 25 other smaller maps. Sunsprings is a suburban environment with a hospital, movie theatre, stadium and picket fenced houses to plow through.This massive level can be broken down so a smaller group of combatants can do battle in the tighter confines of the movie theatre or the stadium. Each smaller level has so much detail that itís easy to miss them when youíre playing in its massive counterpart. The smaller maps really show you the level of detail that went into crafting each level.

Overall, the game itself plays great, especially offline. Itís as much fun to watch in action as it is to play. Although there are a few other minor issues I had with the game, like the remapping of the control schemes that have gone untouched in the previous years, all of the issues just take a bit of readjustment. There are some balancing issues between cars and specific weapons that need to be looked after, but as I mentioned above they can be corrected in future patches.

Review continued on next page....

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