Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria

So I finally finished this one over the weekend, and the story alone would deserve a 10, but as with all great games, nothing is flawless, and VP2 has more than it's fair share in my opinion.

I think the graphics and character designs are some of the best I've ever seen on PS2. The actual game characters are used for the cutscenes, and I love the facial expressions they give them during these. The characters and enemies are all amazingly detailed, and the voice acting is mostly in the great category and matches the characters they portray.
The gameplay takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it can feel like your playing a rhythm game as you find the right combination of moves between your characters to make everything connect to score the big combo count and chain them together with your finishing strikes.
Speaking of the finishing strikes, I wish they would have made more variety for those moves as every character only has ONE that they use throughout the whole game, which gets boring since at one point you'll have FOUR characters in your party all with the same move! Only Alicia and Rufus get upgrades for their finishers.
The battles also do tend to drag on for a bit, and sometimes the game really forces you to level up and battle against enemies that are seriously stronger than you, to the point that regular enemies can suddenly beat you and end your game! There will also be some cases where if you don't have a certain member in your active party, you'll either be in for a long fight, or your better off running from the fight or just resetting the system and starting over and re-organizing your party! Trust me, if your in a fight where there are certain elemental enemies or a swarm of wasps and you don't have a magician or someone with magic attacks in your party, just run from the fight and put a magic user in your party before going further.
Despite all this, the game isn't really that bad once you figure out the battle system and can tolerate some lengthy battles and the dire need to level up your characters as much as you can and be prepared for every boss fight. You'll be learning from a lot of mistakes your first time through, but weather the storm and you'll be given a visual treat of a story to play through.

Game Ratings:
Graphics - 10
Sound - 8
Gameplay - 7
Lifespan - 8
Overall - 8



First Impression: Tony Hawk's Project 8

I was a big fan when the Tony Hawk games first came on on PS1 and Sega Dreamcast back in the day, but lost interest slightly as the series dragged on due to the sheer redundancy of it all. Well, surprise surprise, there's a new Tony Hawk game out now, and I decided to give it a shot since it boasted of being slightly more realistic than the previous games.
The main story of the game sees the player as an up and coming skateboarder, looking to gain enough recognition to qualify and be selected for Hawk's Project 8 project. You do that by going through multiple areas and doing tricks to get noticed and rise up the ranks.
Reality once again gets kicked to the curb as you defy gravity and jump, flip, kick and grind all over the place to accomplish your goals. I may be a long fan of the series, but I'm not one of those players who've mastered every trick there is in the games and some of the tricks here just seem frustratingly near impossible for a novice gamer. And in a sense your forced to keep trying to get the trick right as you'll need to pull off a certain number of tricks to unlock the next area.
You get to create your own skater for the story mode, but I found the choices to be really limited. You get to choose from 3 different bodies, which also represent different styles, but I didn't like that they give you so few choices of how you get to make your character look. About 5 different face choices, and you can't customise anything like the type of goatee, and some really lousy hair choices and your better off just going bald. And your stuck with altering your character only with clothes & accessories that go with the skate style you selected. In other words, punkers can't wear hip hop bling, hipsters can't wear punk chokers and spikes, and etc.
If your in this for the gameplay, than you should already know what to expect. They did add something new elements to the gameplay for pulling off tricks though, like using both analog sticks to spin your board in mid-air for certain tricks.
I'll probably play more of this once I finish Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. So keep checking this space.



First Impression: God Hand

This game can either be fun or frustrating.
The fun is in the beating up of bad guys and sending them flying across the room with powerful attacks. The frustrating part is when you constantly get killed since it doesn't really take much for the bad guys to kill you and you have to start the whole thing over from the last save point!
The graphics are really nice and detailed, on par with Resident Evil 4 even (this game is also by Capcom). I don't think I've heard any other tune in the background other than a spaghetti western theme, but the voice acting is ok as well.
Gameplay so far only seems to suffer from a lack of a target lock-on button, as enemies can sneak up on you when you concentrate your attacks on one enemy, leaving you to constantly dash around the screen to make sure no one is sneaking up on you. It's also tricky to figure out how the system works, as one minute the game tells you you've leveled up, but than suddenly you take one hit and you get leveled down! Is there supposed to be something you do to stay leveled up?
I'll definately play this one through to the end, so keep an eye out for a full review.