Devil May Cry 3

Dante is back in his third PS2 adventure, and he brought his brother with him this time.
Supposedly, this is the prequel to the other two DMC games (why are the hero’s always more powerful in the prequels?) and Dante’s brother, Vergil, is trying to open the gates of Hell which was locked by their father. Dante gets involved just cause he wants to kick Vergil’s ass. Along the way, he runs into Mary, a girl with a BIG gun and an even bigger chip on her shoulder since it’s her dad helping Vergil. And so off they go slashing and blasting demons on their way to their destiny as it seems.
Ok, here’s the first thing that I didn’t like in this game at the very beginning. In the opening movie, Dante was made out to be invincible since he was stabbed by multiple scythes from demon reapers, and he just shrugged it off. But when you get to the actual game, you find Dante takes damage rather easily and can die just as quickly against some of the tougher opponents. So throughout the game you get to watch all these cool bad-ass video clips of Dante where he can’t die and can pull off all kinds of cool maneuvers, but in the actual game it’s a different story altogether. False advertising is it?
No doubt there is a VERY good story behind the game, and the game itself isn’t half bad as you shoot and slash your way through hordes of enemy demons to battle some huge and powerful bosses. But be prepared, cause this game can be VERY hard at times, especially the boss battles. If there is one thing this game suffers from, in addition to the difficulty of the game, is the often terrible camera. You can control the camera, but I noticed that when battling bosses and you come close to beating them, the game automatically gives you possibly the WORSE camera angles so you can’t see the boss properly and he ends up winning the fight! Or the camera spins around so fast following the boss that you get confused and jumble up your controls, example being your trying to hit left, but the camera turns to an angle where your hitting right instead and the boss is then behind you to get a free shot in!
Another thing added is that you have four different “Styles” to choose from before the start of each level, with two more unlocked as you play the game. The type of style you select gives priority to certain abilities like your shooting, sword attacks or blocking, but it’s all not as cool as it’s cracked up to be. For example, when you get the Quicksilver Style, you get this cool movie sequence where Dante moves so fast everything else just stands still. In the actual game, when you activate this cool sounding ability, it barely lasts a few seconds and there’s not a lot of damage you can do to your enemies in that time either. So it’s just a waste.
And then there’s the matter of upgrading your weapons so they get stronger and you can learn new moves and abilities to go with them. This again is another waste as no matter how powerful you make your weapons, it still feels like it does the same amount of damage. Even all the upgrades for new moves and techniques, which aren’t easy to pull off at times, don’t add much to help you out. And did I mention how hard it is just to get Dante to JUMP accurately?
Despite a lot of gameplay problems that I hate, the game itself looks good at least, with some very good dark and gloomy graphics and a wide variety of enemies to break. The music is also good industrial metal and orchestra melodies, but the song that plays during regular battles can get rather boring.
I’ll admit I never played the previous DMC games, but playing this alone warrants me to not want to play them if they are anything like this. I had high hopes for this one, but it just seemed to pale in comparison to other action adventure titles like Castlevania, Prince of Persia, and the EXCELLENT God of War game which I will review shortly.
As for DMC3, I recommend rental instead of purchase.

Graphics – 8
Sound – 8
Gameplay – 6
Lifespan – 5
Overall – 6


Tekken 5

(Note: I originally typed and posted this review about 2 weeks back, but due to some error with Blogger, the review was lost and being the dumbass that I am, I didn’t make a backup and so I had to redo this entire review from scratch. Seeing how it is I hate to repeat myself and can’t remember all the good stuff I wrote in the original, here I present a more streamlined version of the review where I might even be missing a few things I complained about in the original. Enjoy)

Heihachi is dead. At least that’s what all the trailers and promos leading up to the release of the latest in the series of Tekken games says. But surprise surprise! The old goat is still here! I swear if there was one character in a fighting game I really want to see dead and taken out of the any game series, it’s probably Heihachi!
Anyways, this latest installment of the Tekken game franchise sees the tournament being run by yet another mysterious member of the Mishima clan. Many of the regulars from past Tekken games including a few new faces take part this time around. As usual, each character has their own agenda for taking part in the tournament and beating the story mode of the game yields some very nicely done (and some are just hilarious) ending stories, which can be unlocked and viewed once you beat the game with each character.
The graphics in the game of course are top-notch and probably some of the best in 3D fighters. All the characters look good, are huge on screen and nicely detailed. It would have been nice if they added a bit more detail to change things up in the series, like say bruises from getting hit or breaking armour and ripping clothes? I also would have liked to see a little more background interaction. Sure you can smash the ground by slamming your opponent hard enough into into it, and certain objects are breakable., but most of the backgrounds give you that feeling that maybe you could break through to new areas if you smash your opponent through a wall or floor or something, like the recent Dead or Alive games.
The audio in the game is really good and catchy in places. I particularly like the bit of crowd noise in one area where there’s an audience and their doing a tribal like chant. Adds atmosphere to the fight. Like I said in my Death Jam: Fight for New York review, more fighting games need to have that kind of background noise to add to the feel of the game. The character voices in the game were also nicely done, with some variety added in that most of the fighters speak in their native tongue (English, Chinese, Japanese, Bear), it’s not all perfect, but gets the job done.
The controls still use the same two-punch, two kick system like all the other previous games in the series. It’s easy to pick up and play the game as even a novice can just mash away at the buttons and get results, but there is also a joy in learning the complex combos and chain-throws in the game to get satisfaction out of whipping your opponent. 10-hit strike combos are already available for each character in the in-game move list provided, but true veteran gamers will find innovative ways to go about juggling their opponent and cause massive damage.
One problem that I have noticed with the controls though is the very tight timing in chaining certain moves together, even for some basic 2-hit combos. But with a wide variety of moves available per-character, it’s easy to overlook.
Overall, Tekken fans will obviously flock to this, as well as 3D fight fans. New gamers who’ve never played the game can also enjoy it due to the pick-up and play gameplay. A good 3D fighting game overall, and I don’t usually like 3D fighters.

Graphics – 9
Sound – 8
Gameplay – 8
Lifespan – 7
Overall – 8


Wrath of the Gods?

So there I was playing God Of War the other day, and I'm REALLY enjoying this game, even moreso than Devil May Cry 3 (review coming soon), and all of a sudden I reach Pandora's Temple and the game HANGS! I tried a few more times and got the same result! This sucks cause I was really into the game. Hopefully I can get a replacement copy from the store I bought it from, but I can safely say now that I HIGHLY recommend this game!

UPDATE!: Managed to get myself a new working copy of the game and am back slashing away! Review coming soon!


The Rumble Fish

From the people that brought you the Guilty Gear series of 2D fighting games comes The Rumble Fish! I have no idea what the title has to do with the game, but this is the first new 2D fighting game to come out in a long time since 3D became all the rage a few years back.
You choose from one of ten fighters and fight your way through to the boss (who becomes playable after you beat the game) just like any other fighting game, in either the Story or Arcade modes. Also as usual, each character has their own set of special attacks and super attacks that can be pulled off when your powerbar is charged up. You have two powerbars, one for offense and one for defense. Every character has one super move for each powerbar, but when both bars are maxed out you can pull off a Critical attack. The powerbars can also be used to break an opponents combo while blocking it, as well as kicking out of a fall in mid air so your opponent can’t hit an air combo or hit you while your laying on the floor.
If you’ve played the Guilty Gear games (and where the Hell have you been if you haven’t?), the graphics are pretty much the same anime-style drawn 2D characters, but the twist is that there is a bit of a 3D element to the graphic style, as the character animations have a unique movement to them blended into the 3D backgrounds. A lot of detail was paid to the character movements and each character has their own “weight” when you play as them. But I have noticed some short-cuts in the animation frames and combos, so it’s not perfect to say the least. Also notable that the in game characters are kinda small, even on a large screen TV, so you can’t really see all the character detail that clearly.
Another interesting detail is that attacking body parts can result in broken armour or torn clothes, and these are carried over not only to the next round, but the next fight as well! So if you lose your shirt (or worse if you’re a female character), you stuck in your shredded clothing until you lose and use a Continue.
Audio-wise, the opening intro and the background music can be pretty catchy, and the character voices are also done pretty well. But the voices do get pretty annoying sometimes as there is a lot of screaming going on depending who’s fighting. Unfortunately the backgrounds are pretty empty, so there isn’t much in the way of background noise to add to the ambience of the action.
The game uses the 2-punch, 2-kick control scheme, and you can assign the top buttons to dash and guardbreak or taunt. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone has their own feel so it takes awhile to get used to each character and the timing to pull off combos and such. I have noticed like most other PS2 fighting games that it can be pretty annoying to pull off super multi-direction pressing attacks on a PS2 controller, and it can get frustrating at times as the timing can be really hard, and you can’t do the motion for a special or super while getting up as they CPU doesn’t seem to acknowledge the command.
One other problem I have with this game like so many other recent 2D fighters is that the boss is REALLY hard. Maybe not as bad as the bosses from Samurai Showdown Zero or Guilty Gear Asuka, but this Greed, the boss of the game, will have you screaming at your TV at times as he unleashes combo after and combo that for some reason doesn’t connect altogether, but your recovery is so slow that you get hit anyway! It got so frustrating that the first time I played the PS2 version, after 4 HOURS and 40 continues, I STILL couldn’t beat him on the normal difficulty setting. Oh yeah, and the guy has infinite specials and guard-breaks too. He’s still not as bad as some of the other game bosses though, as at least you can damage this guy and can actually beat him as apposed to say, the boss in Samurai Showdown Zero that you can’t even touch!
Overall, this game does have a few flaws to work out, and I hear that a sequel is indeed in the works. This game is limited by the amount of play options, and only having a gallery to unlock in single player mode doesn’t help the lifespan of the game. Two players could get some fun out of it for awhile, but there are better fighters out there.

Graphics – 8
Sound – 8
Gameplay – 7
Lifespan – 6
Overall – 6


Gettin' ready to Rumble!

Just got my hands on some new games last night, so here are some quick previews.

The Rumble Fish
A new 2D fighter from SEGA/Sammy. Featuring a very interesting graphics style similar to Guilty Gear but with some details added like damage to clothes and armour being carried over to the next fight and so. And an interesting cast of characters to choose from. I haven't played this one since my last trip to KL where I played it at an arcade there, so I'm looking forward to putting some proper time into it now.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Sam Fisher is back! The latest game in the Splinter Cell series and arguably the best stealth game series in the market today (take THAT Metal Gear fans!). I never got to finish the first two since they were just so huge and challenging, but I'll definately give this one a whirl and let you guys know what I think.

God of War
A midevil slasher game. I'm not sure what the details are, but it's said to be one of those gore-fest action adventure games with Prince Of Persia style gameplay. More info when I review the game.


Enter the Magic Box!

For those of you who haven't noticed the small link on the sidebar, I've added a link to a cool little site called The Magic Box.com. It's a next generation video game site that has previews of alot of cool upcoming games from the US & Japan, with good pictures to go with them. So if you have interest in a specific title or want to know what is new coming soon, go check it out!