Reviews for Gamers by Gamers…

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

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 9.8/10 (6 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)

A Graphical Warrior: Colin McRae: Dirt 2 Review

Filed under: Colin McRae: Dirt 2,PC Games,Playstation 3 Games,Xbox 360 Games — Tags: , , , , , — Kellen Beck @ 16:32 February 9, 2010

Format

PC, Xbox 360, PS3, DS, PSP

Style

Racing

Modes

Single Player, Online

Pros

Fantastic graphics (DirectX 11), Flashback ability.

Cons

Not much variety in courses, some aspects are not really clear

Colin Mac Rae - Screenshot 1Introduction

Codemasters released Colin McRae: Dirt 2 in September 2009 for consoles, and on Windows Live in December. There are no surprises with this game, it’s a racer, an excellent one at that…

Gameplay

Starting out, you put in your name and what you would like other drivers to call you. This is odd because your name could be Greg, but the drivers would call you John; it doesn’t make much sense. Once you start racing, you won’t want to stop. You start on easy difficulty races and work your way up to pro by completing the X Games tournaments. As you race, you earn experience and gain levels which grants you access to more regions to race in and new tournaments. After you beat the last X Games tournament you can still continue and gain levels and get achievements.

Winning races also gives you money, car accessories, and on the rare occasion, a car. You can’t upgrade your car parts, but you can choose what full-body advert (a liverie) is displayed on your car, and what bobble-head you want inside it. The only upgrades you can get are whole other cars, and you can just save your money and get the best of each type, instead of buying each one. By the end you should have a few million dollars, so you can go back and buy them all .

There are 5 main race types in Dirt 2: Rally, Rallycross, Trailblazer, Raid and Landrush. Rally, Rallycross and Raid are long non-circuit courses that are pretty challenging. The Rally races include a passenger who tells you what turns and jumps are coming, and you are not racing against others (staggered starts). Rallycrosses are the exact opposite; you race against 8 others and you have no passenger. Trailblazers are roughly the same as Rallies, except for the cars you can use. Raids only use the big cars (trucks and buggies) and are also non-circuit races, but, like a Rallycross, you race against 8 others. And lastly the Landrush, which is the same as the Raid, but takes place on a circuit. There are two special races, Gatecrasher, which requires you to break through stacks of blocks while being timed, and Domination, an elimination race.

Colin Mac Rae - Screenshot 2Compared to other racing games like Forza, the choice of vehicles isn’t very expansive, and the stats aren’t very detailed. The different cars are a mix of massive trucks, buggies, sleek compacts and off-road compacts. Each car is graded out of ten in three categories: Top Speed, Acceleration, and Drivability; don’t expect any more detail than that.

After playing for a while and getting bored of the same old grid, you should try the online. Finally a racing game has gotten it right; Dirt 2’s online racing is plain and simple, just get in and race. You are limited to the Rallycross, Raid and Landrush races, which makes sense. There are also random ranked races you can do, and it takes you time and places you on the leaderboard.

A unique feature incorporated into Dirt 2 is the Flashback. When your car is damaged beyond racing conditions, or you spun out and lost your place, really whenever you feel like it, you can use Flashback to rewind a few seconds. This helps a lot so you don’t have to keep restarting the race if you mess up. Sometimes the crash cut scene goes on for too long and the flashback does not help, and that can get annoying. When you hit things like other cars, walls or rocks, your car gets either wheel damage or engine damage. Wheel damage just annoys your steering, and the engine damage doesn’t really do anything. After the race, if your car is damaged, is just seems to repair itself as opposed to the original Dirt. This is another one of those odd things that Dirt 2 seemed to overlook.

Graphics/Audio

Colin Mac Rae - Screenshot 3On the Xbox360 and PS3, Dirt 2 looks fantastic, but on the PC it looks more than fantastic. If you happen to have a new graphics card that supports DirectX 11 graphics, this game is like putting a juicy steak in front of a starving dog, and that starving dog is you. Every cloud of dust and splash of water is so real, it could bring tears to your eyes. It was a great idea to wait out the few months and update the graphics to DX11, because it’s the best animation I’ve ever seen.

The other racers in the game are voiced by the real racers, and voiced well. Pounding engines and screeching tires make up most of the sound in the game, and they are done very nicely. There is a slew of music in the game which can be easily muted or changed. It should be noted that Dirt 2 is the first PC game that uses Blue Ripple Sound’s Rapture 3D sound engine by default, and it completely immerses you in the thrill of the race.

Ratings

Graphics – 10/10

Audio – 10/10

Gameplay – 8/10

Replayability – 8/10

Final Score – 9/10

Required Specs

OS:

Windows XP, Vista or 7

CPU:

Intel Pentium D 2.6Ghz, AMD Athalon 64 X2

Memory:

1GB XP, 2GB Vista and 7

GPU:

ATI Radeon X1600, NVidia GeForce 6800

Hard Drive Space:

10GB

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 10.0/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)

Back Up Games with Game Copy Wizard

Filed under: Game Copy Wizard — Tags: , , , , — Adon Garuda @ 18:12 January 28, 2010

After an avalanche of emails querying whether Game Copy Wizard actually works, Computer Game and Console Reviews has decided to release this statement…”YES IT DOES!!!”

Game Copy Wizard

First of all, we are only endorsing backing up games that you already own. This is entirely legal and we recommend it. It is your right to back up any software that you already own. By doing this, you are saving your original version from getting scratched and lets face it, it always happens. As games are very expensive, anything that stops you scratching your discs is a worthwhile investment. You get to preserve your game in mint condition, whilst playing it to your heart’s content.

All formats are covered, be it PC, PS1, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo GameCube or even the Sega Dreamcast. DVD’s and Music CD’s are also provided for. You literally will never ruin an original disc again. Regarding the whole process, it really is easy. All you need is a PC and blank DVD’s. After installation, just run the program and presto, your back up is complete. The software comes complete with manuals and the support offered is excellent (you won’t need it though as everything they give you works exactly as they claim), we just asked a question as a test and were very happy with the response. As games are always evolving, so will Game Copy Wizard. Buy purchasing it, you are covered for life with automatic updates.

With some old games which are small, its possible to actually put more than 1 onto a DVD. The software also acts as a video file burner, so you can convert any video file on your PC to DVD, and watch it anywhere you choose.

Game Copy Wizard is a must have program for Gamer’s. You can visit the site here. If you have questions, please leave a comment below and one of us will get back to you.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 9.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
Older Posts »