Reviews for Gamers by Gamers…

The Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Review

Filed under: Playstation 3 Games,Uncharted 2: Among Thieves — Tags: , , — David MacNeil @ 15:28 February 26, 2010

Format

PS3

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves CoverStyle

Third person shooter, Action, Adventure

Modes

Single Player, Online

Pros

Amazing Graphics, Great Single player, Online was a nice addition, No loading screens during campaign

Cons

Shooting in close quarters can be challenging.

Introduction

Naughty Dog released the original Uncharted: Drakes Fortune back in 2007 and it was a big release for Naughty Dog, and the PS3. It has since sold over one million copies. Since then, they have been working on their next big title, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Uncharted 2 has sold over 3.5 million copies as stated in the February NPD.

Gameplay

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves Screenshot 1It is just like Christmas, you have opened the case, and out pops that brand new Uncharted 2: Among Thieves disc, you let your PS3 devour the disc, and get ready to go, When you first choose your difficulty level in the campaign however, It takes a good 5 minutes to load. Once you get it going though, you really start to admire the graphics this game really has. This game has the best graphics I have ever seen on a console; they are even comparable to Crysis’s graphics!


The starting scene to this game is amazing, you are not just watching a cut scene, you are playing in one, you wake up in a half destroyed train hanging over the edge of a cliff, Nate is badly injured and you have to guide him to safety, it is a much better introduction technique than seen in some video games. Rather than having to play through a boring side level, the level itself is the introduction, and what an introduction it is, they start it off like Star wars, you play through a part in the middle, and then you have to play through it again, except its much faster and there are more fighting scenes.

Uncharted’s game play mechanic is a much more refined version of Uncharted: Drakes fortune, the climbing, combat and puzzles all just seem to flow and work together much better, the climbing isn’t as finicky, and there are some parts in the game where I had to ask a friend what exactly I had to do, that is the level of difficulty and determination Naughty Dog put into this masterpiece. As I pointed out earlier, the combat is good, but a little bit tricky in close quarters, the movement is heavy, and

This can restrict your ability to kill an enemy in time, this can translate into you dying quite often if you are playing on Crushing difficulty, thankfully, the game has fairly good checkpoints, and will never save in a bad location.

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves Screenshot 2The campaign in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves takes you all over the world from the mountains of Nepal, to the lush jungles of Borneo on your fight to stop the main villain Zoran Lazarevic from gaining ultimate power by getting access to the Cintamani stone, it is said in the game that rulers like Genghis Khan only had a sliver of the Cintamani stone, and even he had great power. The Campaign is about 10 hours long, and will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It also has lots of replay value, because of the many trophies, and treasures you can collect.


Once you beat the campaign, you should definitely head over to the multiplayer, the online in this game is intense, and is noteworthy, Naughty Dog could sell this game for the single player alone, but adding online is frosting on the cake. It has a ranking system, and instead of earning experience, you gain cash, you can also have 2 Perks, and may choose your favourite villain and hero to use for each game.

Graphics/Audio

Uncharted 2 Among Thieves Screenshot 3This game looks and feels absolutely awesome, from the time you put the disc in, until the time you take the Uncharted 2: Among Thieves disc out, your jaw will be on the floor the graphics are that good. The graphics from the cut scenes to the actual gameplay do not change at all, creating an amazing cinematic feel to this game. All of the Cut scenes from this game were acted by the voice actors and it all blends very well. I hope that someday, graphics like these will be the standard set for video games.


As mentioned in the last paragraph, all of the voice actors did the acting, and it turns out really well, this game has sound almost as good as the graphics. The soundtrack in Uncharted was done very well with many of the scores being done by Greg Edmonson, the sound greatly affects the game, and it makes it very powerful.

Ratings

Graphics – 10/10
Audio – 9/10
Gameplay – 9/10
Replayability – 8/10
Final Score – 9/10

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Rating: 9.9/10 (9 votes cast)
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Sonic the Hedgehog 4 announced for Summer 2010

“Sonic Team has officially announced that the 2D Platformer will be released in summer 2010 for download.”

Sonic The Hedgehog 4SEGA and Sonic Team have finally announced their secret title that they have been teasing the gaming community with the past several months. Codenamed “Project Needlemouse,” the game has been revealed to be Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. It will be available for download on Nintendo’s WiiWare service, Sony’s PlayStation Network, and Microsoft’s Xbox Live. There is also one more platform it will appear on, currently in secret though. No inclination of price or specific release date has been announced as of yet.

The speculation began back in September when SEGA released a trailer for a title called Project Needlemouse, and showed Sonic racing across the screen. The video made huge emphasis on the fact the game will be focused on speed, also stating that it will be in HD and released in the summer. Since then, Sonic Team has been teasing the fans more and more, encouraging them to enter contests and submit artwork. Eventually, they initiated the “Character Countdown Challenge.” This was an image with several Sonic characters listed on it. If fans submitted enough of their artwork to the site, they would slowly take characters off the list. Over the course of the week, it was shown that Sonic would be the only playable character in the game.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Concept ArtThe game will use 3D characters with 2D backgrounds, in vein of the New Super Mario Bros. games, and the upcoming Metroid: Other M. It will take place right after Sonic & Knuckles ended, with Eggman somehow surviving their latest battle.

Furthermore, due to the “Episode 1” subtitle, it is safe to assume that Sonic Team will release more episodes of the game, if it proves popular. Look for the first one this summer, and see if the old Platformer can successfully return to his roots.

Visit the official site here:

http://www.sonicthehedgehog4.com/


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Rating: 9.9/10 (8 votes cast)
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BioShock 2 – The Review

Filed under: BioShock 2,PC Games,Playstation 3 Games,Xbox 360 Games — Tags: , , , — Mike Cieply @ 20:03 February 17, 2010

“While the return to Rapture is more of the same, it supplies an overall enjoyable experience that will satisfy most players.”

Format

Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC

Style

First-person shooter; action-adventure; survival-horror

Modes

Singleplayer; online multiplayer

Pros

Impressive visuals; Brilliant art and level design; Superb voice acting; Large array of plasmids, weapons, and tonics; Gathering ADAM is a great addition; Many moral decisions and rewards that really impact the story; Improved hacking system; Extremely intense soundtrack; Improved research method; Audio diaries provide addictive side-plots; Engaging and rewarding online multiplayer

Cons

Weaker story than original; Majority of weapons and plasmids are carried over from the first; Not many changes in gameplay; Rather short; Playing as a Big Daddy isn’t satisfying at all; Less suspenseful and surprising than original; Big Sister fights aren’t innovative or enjoyable in any way; Underwater sections are rather dull and useless

Introduction

Bioshock 2 CoverBioShock is one of the greatest games I have ever played. It completely abolished the typical FPS rules and regulations and featured a groundbreaking story. With a game as perfect as that, it raked in millions of sales. Of course the Publisher, 2K Games, wanted a sequel. Unfortunately, the original developer, Irrational Games, wanted to focus their efforts on a new idea, and never intended to work on more BioShock. 2K Games turned to one of their other companies, 2K Marin, to handle the job. Enormous pressure was put on the team, for it was their job to do the impossible: make another perfect game.

Graphics/Audio

One of the greatest attributes from BioShock was its breathtaking visuals. The sequel’s graphics are nearly identical to the original’s, with minor improvements here and there, although sometimes they will even appear worse. For 2007, these are fantastic graphics, but they just don’t work well in 2010. However, the art style still remains incredible. All of Rapture remains similar in style to the first game, fortunately, and the adventure really feels like it takes place in the 50’s. The developers did a fantastic job with the culture and environments, and the old music was a great touch. This is a game that will make you impressed as you play it, and you’ll feel truly awed.

Besides the amazing art and level design, the voice acting is just incredible. Some standouts are Augustus Sinclair, who serves as your guide throughout the game; Stanley Poole, who used to run the newspaper; and Mark Meltzer, who is trying to rescue his daughter from Rapture. While the voice acting you hear from the main characters is well done, it truly shines in the audio diaries. The old voice actors of Andrew Ryan and Atlas return, and they are truly wonderful to listen to. Seeing how there are 129 of these to listen to, everyone’s needs will surely be met.

Character design has also been greatly improved. Splicers are now much more individual and unique, although some voices return from the original. It is really a mystery to me why so many of the splicers have the same exact voice and say the same commands, but their outward appearance is definitely worth noting.

Story

Bioshock 2 Screenshot 1Ah, the story. The first BioShock truly had one of the most engrossing, interesting, and well-written stories I have ever witnessed in a game. It was completely unique, and gamers had never seen the like of it before. To their credit, 2K Marin delivers another enthralling adventure that will please most. Is it on the same level as the first? No, but it gets close. Returning to Rapture slightly ruins the feel of the game. The city is no longer the mysterious dungeon it once was. You expect the unexpected, and know what you will find around the corner. However, the story is filled with an amazing cast of characters, plot twists, and awesome moments that will encourage you to keep playing. Furthermore, the story keeps up at an impressive pace, and will not bore most players.

When you first start the game, you take the role as Subject Delta, the first successful Big Daddy prototype. You are on a quest to find your “daughter,” Eleanor. While slow at first, it picks up momentum more and more throughout the game. This is a huge step up from the original, where the plot sagged towards the end and felt like a drag.

Gameplay

In addition to the revolutionary story, the BioShock games are known for their innovative spin on the FPS gameplay. Rather than the run-and-gun style of play traditionally used in most shooters, BioShock 2 presents you with a far more intelligent and rewarding style of play. There are roughly nine “levels” in the game, and you can travel across the entire level as many times as you want until you choose to leave the place. This is where the RPG elements arrive. In the level, one can find upgrades and items to make themselves stronger. Enemies don’t simply rush at you; oftentimes you’ll see them in groups of two or three, and won’t come near you until you startle them. Of course, there are many variations of enemies.

The most common enemies, splicers, are unfortunately very similar to the original. Leadhead, Houdini, Spider, and Thuggish splicers all return and are exactly similar. However, the Nitro splicer has been replaced by the Brute splicer, a massive, mutated beast. In addition, more variations of Big Daddies have been added. Along with the Bouncer and Rosie from the first, there are now Rumblers and Alpha series Daddies. The amount of enemy types feels just right for the game, with splicers appearing frequently throughout the game, and with Big Daddies still sending chills down your spine.

However, the newest enemy type which is one of the main focuses of the game is the Big Sister. These are young women who have grown up from being Little Sisters. Their job is to kidnap young girls from the shore to bring them to Rapture, and to keep the flow of ADAM, the game’s power and energy, flowing. Whenever you harvest or rescue every Little Sister in the level, you’ll need to face one. The developers were hyping these fights like there was no tomorrow, even so much that they had to delay the game to improve the experience with them. Unfortunately, the Big Sisters are nothing more than a standard fight against a really powerful enemy. They are certainly not more fun than any other fights, and are not difficult to kill. This was, by far, one of the biggest disappointments of the game.

Of course, the weapons have been improved, with the game’s stronger focus on combat. Some guns return, while others have been changed. The Tommy gun is now a massive Gatling gun; the crossbow is now a spear gun; and the wrench, pistol, and chemical thrower are gone. Instead, we have the rivet gun, one of the Rosies’ weapons, and the drill. The drill is a wonderful new weapon that is extremely enjoyable to use … while it lasts. Unfortunately, the drill is powered by gas, which runs out quite quickly.

In addition to weapons are plasmids. Plasmids are enhancements to your body that grant you the power of using mystical abilities. For example, plasmids allow you to do a number of actions, such as shoot bolts of electricity and fire out of your hands, or set up a decoy to lure splicers away. However, the plasmids are nearly the exact same as they were in the first BioShock. The same applies with gene tonics, which give you more abilities. One great improvement, on the other hand, is the capability of dual-wilding plasmids and weapons at the same time. This allows very smooth combat, and will definitely give you an advantage in Rapture.


Another improvement is hacking. In the first game, hacking was a ridiculously complex activity that resulted in minimal reward. In this game, hacking is now much easier, and the rewards you receive are fitting. Additionally, hacking takes place in real time, adding suspense.

Thankfully, researching has taken a turn for the better. Rather than having to snap photos at every enemy you see, research is now done with a video camera. Simply start recording the enemy, and fire everything you have at it. Eventually, your progress will level, presenting you with fulfilling awards.

Bioshock Screenshot 3Because you’re a Big Daddy, you have the outstanding ability to interact with Little Sisters. Tagging along with these little girls will result in you getting a great deal of ADAM. While your buddy is gathering the sweet juice from a corpse, you’ll need to defend her (and yourself) against a horde of splicers that will come for you, eager for ADAM. At any time, you can choose to harvest her. Harvesting Little Sisters is another word for killing them, and collecting all their ADAM. Choosing to rescue them will only result in half as much ADAM, but you will receive compensation for your good deeds frequently.

Yes, moral decisions truly shine in BioShock 2. In the game, there are three main characters that you can choose to assassinate, or walk away from. Couple this with the ability to have your way with the Little Sisters, and the story becomes yours to shape. Your decisions have an enormous effect on the outcome of the story in the end; the game itself offers six different endings, based on the moral choices you made.

Finally, you play the entire game as a Big Daddy, the mascot of the series. These beings were enormous threats in the first game, leaving gamers (including myself) eager to play as one. However, what I found was a huge blow to me. You are, in fact, weaker than you were in the first game, where you played as an average human being. The game in noticeably more challenging than the first, and you’ll be finding yourself taking many trips to the Vita-Chamber. Your weapons won’t feel very powerful against splicers. The only differences are your ability to use the drill, and the ability to travel outside in the ocean. Like the Big Sisters, the ocean sections were enormously overhyped. They entail walking along the ocean floor for a few moments, only to return inside Rapture. These moments offer nothing exciting, nothing rewarding, they are only included to add a bit of variety. Playing as a Big Daddy had massive potential, but unfortunately, it fell short of being a great change from the original.

Replayability

As I stated before, the game is shorter than the first. It will take approximately ten hours to complete, but you will add a few hours if you’re hunting for collectibles. Speaking of those, there are plenty of items to find, such as the 129 audio diaries and the fourteen weapon upgrade stations. The game rewards you for playing longer and taking the time to explore the world and make your character more powerful. I have also found the game to be almost equally fun the second time through as the first time, and to be honest, I could go for a third.

Besides the singleplayer campaign, the online multiplayer was included for the first time in the series. At first, I was understandably concerned with how this mode would turn out, due to the first game being completely focused on the story. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find this an overall enjoyable and rather addictive way to experience Rapture.

The ten maps it features are all based off of areas from the first BioShock, and all of them capture the feeling from the original game, and I certainly loved playing on them. The multiplayer is somewhat story-based. It takes lace about one year before the first game, when the civil war between Atlas’s followers and Ryan’s. In an attempt to make money, Sinclair Solutions is sponsoring the soldiers by allowing them to test out their plasmids and tonics. You can choose one of six characters (or eight if you pre-ordered) to play as, each with their own back-story, melee weapon, and catchphrases.

The various modes include the standard FPS ones, such as team deathmatch, free-for-all, capture the flag, etc. Of course, all have different names to enhance immersion. However, there are a few standouts, such as ADAM Grab. There are even a few plasmids and tonics unique to the multiplayer, making the online experience a must-have for all fans of BioShock. Overall, it’s a fun, crazy encounter, but it will get you addicted and you’ll love playing it.

Final Recommendation

If the original BioShock had never been released, and this was released in its place, it would have been hailed almost as well as the first one was. The game can be viewed as fantastic, or mediocre. While it is, in fact, an amazing game with great combat and gameplay, it copies nearly everything from the first game. There are simply not enough structural changes that are necessary to make the game stand out. Fans of the first and newcomers alike will enjoy the game, but may be left feeling somewhat disappointed. For all it tried to be, it ended up becoming too much of the same. Yes, there will be a BioShock 3, but I sincerely hope it is not another rehash such as this. Then again … Who could resist another trip to Rapture?


Ratings

Graphics – 9/10

Audio – 10/10

Story – 8/10

Gameplay – 9.5/10

Replayability – 9/10

Final Score – 9.1/10

System Requirements

Supported OS:

Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7

Processor:

AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3800+ 2.4Ghz or better, Intel Pentium 4 530 3.0Ghz Processor or better

Memory:

2GB

Graphics:

NVIDIA 7800GT 256MB graphics card or better, ATI Radeon X1900 256MB graphics card or better

Hard Drive:

11GB

Sound:

100% DirectX 9.0C compliant sound card or onboard sound

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Rating: 9.8/10 (6 votes cast)
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