Thread: Basic Reviews
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Old 10-02-2005, 03:56 PM   #12
Revelade
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Phantasy Star Online Episode III

Genre: Strategy
Players: 1-4
Tip: Someone sounds horribly bored...

Forget everything you knew about Phantasy Star, because this takes the series in a whole new direction.

When you look at the game, you won't find anything great over 1/2, which were already ports from the DC. It's not pushing the cube, but at least some work was put into it. As for the art style, I have to admit, there was a lot of work put into it. Drawing designs for the 300+ cards is not an easy task, along with the character and comic scenes. Finally, the music is orchestrated and feels epic, especially the title theme. The only thing I have to complain is the DC quality graphics, but it's fine by me.

The plot isn't the strongest in the world. You are told that somehow, C.A.R.D. technology has been found in Ragol (almost as bad as F.E.A.R.). Then you find out that some of the pioneers of the original 1/2 are now working AGAINST the government, because they believe it is corrupt. Playing as the "light" side (government), I also noticed my commander acting like a lazy ass, so I wouldn't blame them. While having a turn of events from fighting monsters, to fighting the government, it's not executed well. People aren't serious at all and the dark side (Arkz) tries to bribe you to their cause. I'm afraid that there's not much of interest here.

The gameplay is where it all comes down. The hero side focuses on equipping items to your character on a grid battlefield. You roll 2 dice and the higher number is your attack points, while the other is you defense. With your attack points, you can conjure items or spells. As for the Arkz, they do not have items, but they summon monsters to do their bidding. 2v2 battles are possible, but when one teammate goes down, the entire team loses too. Now, people complain that the game seems to go slow, but that's not true at all. I've played 2v2 battles vs. the computer and it's taken as less at 20 minutes! Games like Advance Wars can takes hours to beat, but people don't seem to complain. This game is all about strategy, rather than reflex or skill. The AI of the game is great, because it plays like a human and doesn't leave obvious weakness like it does in so many other games. It's a game where you are never sure if you are going to win or not, unlike repetitive hack and slash games.

Overall, despite a weak plot, the art style, music and infinitely replayable gameplay make this a game worth owning. If you have a little patience, you can discover a true gem.

Rating:
Atmosphere - 2/3
Plot - 1/3
Gameplay - 3/3

Pac-man World 2

Genre: Platforming
Players: 1-2
Tip: Can Pac-man have babies?

The visuals, while simple, look very clean and polished. As for the music, I found myself humming a couple of wacky tunes, but the later levels will make your ears bleed. Finally, the art style is rather simple to say, but it's not bad in anyway. Overall, I think the aesthetics of the game aren't great, but they do the job.

The plot of the game? Some evil guy stole some golden fruit which you must retrieve to save the day and hopefully get some Pac-love from the Ms. It's another cheesy filler, kind of like an Ahnold movie.

As for the gameplay, it's mainly jumping from here to there. However, some levels will allow you to skate across, Crash Bandicoot style or shoot on-rail, just like Star Fox. Also included, are classic Pac-man games like Pac-attack (which I have never heard of). So while it's mostly jumping around and getting to the end, the skating and shooting offer some variety, along with the classic Pac-man games, which are a good value. I like how the game does NOT force you to collect items to beat it, which is a pain in other games.

Rating:
Atmosphere - 2/3
Plot - 1/3
Gameplay - 2/3

Pac-man Vs.

Genre: Strategy
Players: 2-4
Tip: Mario needs to die.

This game was made by Miyamoto and was given out as a freebie years ago. However, the best way to get it now, is to buy it bundled with Pac-man World 2. It requires 1 GBA to work however.

The graphics in the game are from the N64 era. The music sounds fruity and the initiation theme that is played gets annoying fast. Finally, the art style is again, simple, but as a freebie, I'm okay with it.

Plot? There is none.

The gameplay is incredibly simple, even moms or dads can play. As the Pac-man player, you use the GBA and can see the whole map, including ghosts. As the ghosts, you and two others must try to trap Pac-man to prevent him from getting points. When you capture him as a ghost, you are the new Pac-man. All that is required is moving the joystick, which allows you to focus on what's important: teamwork. People will scream "He's left!", "Bottom right!", "You asscake" commonly. The game isn't about repetitive gameplay, but rather, teaming up to trap the Pac-man player. It's great because games will never be the same, which allows great replayability.

Rating:
Atmosphere - 1/3
Plot - N/A
Gameplay - 3/3


Ikaruga

Genre: Reflex
Players: 1-2
Tip: HARD.

Despite looking good, the game is still a Dreamcast port. The enemies are carefully designed and have a strong white or black color to them. There seems to be a art gallery that can be unlocked, which means a good effort was put into design. Finally, the music does feel epic, but each level music sounds similar to the next.

The plot sounds like another generic story. You must save the world from the invaders by using one ship vs. an army. Even a second player has a story as an enemy that became an ally because he was spared by the main character. I'm not sure how the black and white fit in, but there's probably another excuse for that.

The gameplay bothers me. First of all, you'll die MANY times unless you have memorized the game thoroughly. I don't like games that force you to memorize before it gets any fun. The main draw of the game is that your ship can change colors to absorb same-colored bullets. Other than that, it's a game where you can hold fire and just manuever to win. The only reason the game will take a while is because the difficulty is ramped so high. The game has only five levels, since the developers decided to make the few so insanely hard, that it doesn't matter. Shooting isn't really fun, since you can just hold the fire button. Changing colors and manuevering is what's interesting, but it's still difficult. The AI more or less just gets in your way or does the same stupid patterns it always does.

Rating:
Atmosphere - 2/3
Plot - 1/3
Gameplay - 1/3

X-men Legends

Genre: Action
Players: 1-4
Tip: A, B, AB...

The game uses cel-shading, but I wouldn't say it's as effective as Wind Waker or Killer 7, because there just isn't any style to it. The music just isn't memorable at all, other than some slow, depressing tones when you are walking and a guitar, drum beat when you are fighting. The art style does have some credit, but it's not unique or something new from what we have seen from the comic books.

The plot is about a girl who is kidnapped, that happens to have magma powers. You have to save her, then save the world by defeating Magneto. It's basically another generic plot. There aren't any great plot twists or unexpected events. The overall message is nothing new.

The gameplay is in one word: repetitive. Throughout the whole game, you will be mashing the A and B buttons. Sure, you can upgrade your abilites, stats and equip items, but that's just a pause from more bashing and hacking. The levels are large and the enemies are tough. You will constantly search for health packs, since the game is very harsh on healing. Items are next to useless, since some of the healing items only heal you up to 25%, which is not even worth wearing the item for.

4 Player is fun, like most games, but again, the healing will cause frustration. If you can stand doing the same gameplay, constantly, this could be your game, since it's far above Gauntlet Legends, Mystic Heroes or Fantastic Four. Also, if you are considering X-men Legends 2, save yourself $30 and pick this one up instead. It's nearly the same game.

Overall, it's a repetitive, beat up sort of game, and the lack of healing makes it more difficult than it has to be.

Rating:
Atmosphere - 2/3
Plot - 1/3
Gameplay - 1/3

Sphinx & The Cursed Mummy

Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1
Tip: Things can get metrosexual.

Sphinx is surprisingly a feast for both the eyes and ears. The graphics are, for the most part, very detailed and eminate a crisp and clean look in game. Some sections like walls or rocks can look bland however. The music is orchestrated and fits the game perfectly. It's catchy and there are a good number of songs. Finally, the design of the characters are great and detailed, but not much so for the environments. For the most part, I was impressed.

The plot borders around two main characters, as you would guess, are Sphinx and the Mummy, aka Tut. Sphinx is sent by Imhotep to destroy Set, the villain of this game. Tut is trying to regain his soul back and marry his girlfriend, Nefretti. You can see the facial expressions on the faces of people, but the main characters, Sphinx and Tut, don't say much, which weakens their importance. The plot is simple and is yet another, you vs. villain conflict and I felt the plot seemed like a Disney movie.

As for the gameplay, it's a mix of a rather bland combat system and some not-too-difficult puzzles. It can be tedious, such as the frequent collecting quests, but passing obstacles, though simple, can be satisfying. It's also good to note that the game isn't centered around repetitive combat, which is a relief. For the most part, you will be playing as Sphinx, to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Tut introduces a different style of play, which involves burning or smashing himself as a mummy, which is okay, since mummies are dead, or rather undead. There are minigames to play and it gives the gameplay more variety.

Overall, I loved the smooth graphics, epic music and not too frustrating gameplay. It's definitely a game worth checking out, even if it's a bargain bin item.

Rating:
Atmosphere - 3/3
Plot - 2/3
Gameplay - 2/3

Last edited by Revelade; 10-12-2005 at 11:49 PM.
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