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Old 10-01-2009, 04:51 PM   #1546
Joe Redifer
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It kind of is, they break really quickly and without much warning, even if you are keeping your eye on the meter.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:46 PM   #1547
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Awesome. I am enjoying Muramasa as well. Some of the best, up to 10 layers, of beautiful art ever seen in a game.

I wish I still had Cotton 2 for my Saturn. Maybe I can buy yours for $5 since it's nor rare or anything and you seem to be done with it.

I agree with Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. It was stupidly hard and unforgiving and that is why I haven't downloaded the demo for Sigma 2. Maybe I will now.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:42 AM   #1548
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I've been thinking about picking up Ys - Ark of Napishtim for ages.

You convinced me Joe!

I hear the PS2 version is *much* better than the PSP version in terms of loading times.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:53 PM   #1549
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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
9/10
Playstation 3


The newer style box for PS3 games.

When I first got my Playstation 3, it wasn't long before I picked up the original Uncharted (which was originally going to be a PS2 game). I loved its sense of adventure with action thrown in. It made me feel like an important human being instead of the shell of a man that I really am. The star of the game, Nathan Drake, is the perfect physical specimen. This guy could defeat any Olympic gymnast, easy. If you've played the game, you know what I mean. I am so unfit that I can barely breathe normally without going in to cardiac arrest, and this guy is jumping all over the place like a monkey without any fear! Now Drake is back in a new game with a new adventure. New characters along with old ones bring the same type of adventure the previous game did. This time developer Naughty Dog had MUCH more time to make the game and they used their time wisely.

Story: 7.8/10
I am not tremendously fond of the story-driven approach that nearly all games take these days. I think games should be about gaming, not storytelling. But there are games where storytelling is absolutely essential. This is one of them. Drake's encompassing adventure takes him to many places and many different things happen. You don't need to be familiar with the story from the first game to play part 2, but it can help enhance the enjoyment a little if you are. The story itself isn't a literary masterpiece, but it works. It would make a very entertaining and engrossing movie, but it won't get you involved on an emotional level like, say, Smokey and the Bandit. Still, the characters themselves make the story very fun. The voice acting is superb, some of the best ever. Motion-capture technology was used to make the characters move just like the voice actors did when they were recording the game. This helps make the characters very realistic and entertaining. The nearly perfect lip-sync reminds me of Heavenly Sword. The game also has a great sense of humor with fun banter between the characters.


This poor guy has a wife, two loving daughters and a son on the way. And you're gonna shoot him from behind!

Graphics: 9/10
They have made quite a few improvements over the first game, which already looked great. First of all, the textures appear immediately instead of waiting a second or two to draw in like would happen occasionally in part 1. There seems to be more polygons per character and most importantly, the screen tearing during the camera pans are now gone. Nate's hair and neck look especially realistic for some reason. And unlike many games of this generation, color is present. However you can buy a "next-gen filter" if you really want it to look like your typical current-gen game. When applied, it makes everything brown, gray and ugly. The animation is awesome and things that happen to you during the gameplay look extremely cool, like one scene in a dilapidated building, for instance. Not everything is perfect, however. Some character's eyes look really, really odd from a distance. Chloe's eyes, for example, seem to always have a bright, shining dot in them. It makes me think there is "treasure" to be had in them (treasure in the game is identified by a glowing white dot and your job is to collect them for no reason whatsoever). She looks very spooky, unnatural and (un)dead. Also, Drake's ankles bend very awkwardly as you can see as he is climbing the train right in the very beginning of the game. No game is graphically perfect I don't think, but this game's shortcomings are far exceeded by its strengths.


I much prefer the 3rd person perspective over the first person in when it comes to "shooters".
It makes it feel more like a videogame and less like, well, crap.


Sound: 8.5/10
This game has similar sounds and music as the original, with only a few new themes added. The music is fairly ambient and not very ambitious, though I really liked the Chinese-flavored themes as they reminded me of Shenmue 2. You won't be humming the theme nor does it really have much of an identity like, say, the Indiana Jones theme or whatnot. You have your choice of Stereo, Dolby Pro-Logic Surround, Dolby Digital, DTS or Linear PCM in up to 7.1 channels of sound, all of which can be switched on the fly, anytime. The sound effects are awesome and make excellent use of the surrounds and the subwoofer when appropriate. Many games seem to ignore the sub for some reason. As said before, the voice acting is awesome, though I do take a bit of exception to Chloe's voice. She sounds like an 80 year old smoker. Or maybe sort of a British Captain Janeway, perhaps? Either way, her voice is not very attractive, even though the character herself is supposed to be. Oh well.


This guy is an asshole, but you would be too if you had his acne. Just look at his face and his arm!

Gameplay: 9/10
I liked this game so much that I felt compelled to play through it completely twice in a row. It is very similar to the first game, only much more refined! Gone are the sporadic but annoying sixaxis motion-control segments from the first game. New is the way you toss grenades. You can toss them at any time no matter what weapon you have selected. There seems to be less puzzle-solving in this game compared to part one, but just as much climbing and gun-fighting. This game is definitely easier, but it surely isn't a cakewalk. When I played through the second time on Hard, the only thing I really noticed is that I died more quickly, I couldn't take as much gunfire. But other than that, Hard seemed easier than Normal. The train boss was incredibly fast and easy on Hard whereas he took me a few tries on Normal. Most of this could be attributed to me learning the techniques for each scenario on my first playthorugh. This game mixes exploring, puzzles and 3rd person gunplay. It's a fantastic mix, even if the controls aren't always fast enough to do what you want them to do. You earn medals and money in this game as well, which is odd. When I beat the game on Hard, I was awarded $40,000! I don't know what they do with it, but to this day I still have not seen any of that money. I sure could use it, too! The game features next-to-no loading, ever, in the single-player mode. Once you boot up and start the game, you can play through to the ending all in one sitting (if you didn't need to eat, drink, pee or sleep) and never experience a load time greater than maybe half a second. There is also no hard drive install, mandatory or optional. Naughty Dog sure knows how to build a game.


The online mode is standard fare. Nothing to really bash, but also nothing to really praise.

The meat of the game is most assuredly the single-player mode, but it boasts an online mode as well. It acts just like most online shooters do… stuck in a little area and you try to kill each other or take their base or whatever. Nothing special here. There is also a co-op mode where you work "together" to survive waves and waves and waves of endless enemies or go on a pseudo-mission with actual objectives, but mostly all you ever do is shoot at enemies. Basically, the online is action-only. I guess that's how people like it and it is fun for a goof, but overall no new ground is broken here. I do like that all competitive games are recorded to your hard drive and you can play them back at any time and save screenshots to the PS3 hard drive… that's how I obtained a few of the pictures for this review.

Wrap up:
There are two developers of this generation that others should take example from. One of them is Criterion Games. The other is, most assuredly, Naughty Dog. Like the first game, Uncharted 2 is an essential purchase. If you don't have a Playstation 3, then this is a great incentive to get one. I don't want to hear any whining that the PS3 doesn't have good games because it most certainly does.
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:58 AM   #1550
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Man, I still need to get the first game. But I have a Japanese PS3 so sadly all the blood will be peeled out by Sony Japan's ever-watchful censors.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:05 AM   #1551
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I got too impatient with the first one and how you had to stay ducked behind everything waiting for someone to pop their heads out to shoot it, and the climbing stuff bored me.

I honestly dont know WHY I dislike the game, because there really isnt any real problem with it, guess its ADD

after reading that you said playing the first ISNT required I'll probably rent this one now.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:20 AM   #1552
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eastx, there really isn't much blood to begin with. And I don't understand why Japan would censor it being that Fist of the North Star is perfectly fine over there, but not here.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:22 AM   #1553
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sweet review dood! This is GOTY material if there ever was any. Naughty Dog has done an excellent job here. It's truly amazing how they get you into the story/game. For example, SPOILER.



On Chapter 20, I think, there is a part where you and Elena are crossing a bridge. Elena makes it across and as Drake is about half way the bridge starts to lose slats and eventually breaks. Once the bridge collapses onto the cliff wall Drake has to climb up and every slat that he passes breaks and falls until he finally gets to the top with the help of Elena. This is only one example of how a game can almost be an interactive movie. Very detailed and very exciting.
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:08 PM   #1554
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastx View Post
Man, I still need to get the first game. But I have a Japanese PS3 so sadly all the blood will be peeled out by Sony Japan's ever-watchful censors.
Having a Japanese PS3 has nothing to do with the fact that every PS3 is region free. Unless you are currently in Japan and I doubt the game will be edited over there you shouldn't have a problem playing this game at all.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:47 PM   #1555
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No, certain PS3 games run in a censored state when played on a Japanese PS3, regardless of which version of the software you purchased. The ones I know of are Resistance and Uncharted. Ratchet & Clank isn't censored but Ratchet gets a different character model for Japanese systems. There could be other examples though.
Like Joe said, for Uncharted it's not a huge deal losing the blood. I just hate censorship.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:21 AM   #1556
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Uncharted looks really awesome, your review of it doesn't make my wait any easier!

I would want to play the first one before I try uncharted 2. Since I just got my PS3 I will be enjoying bargain bin titles for a while to catch up on everything I've missed. I doubt UC2 is going down in price anytime soon so it might be a while before I get to play.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:14 PM   #1557
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People will finish it soon enough and there will be used copies for sale. Just don't buy it at Gamestop as their used copies are only $5 less than brand new. Pathetic. Search local game stores or even Craigslist for copies around $40-$45.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:46 PM   #1558
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Game looks cool. Waiting for markdown.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:52 AM   #1559
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Demon's Souls
8/10
Playstation 3


Only the US version gets its own box art.


Jesus Christ in a recycling bin, this game is tough!! In fact it has been touted as one of the hardest games ever EVAR! Yet people who play it almost always seem to love it and get addicted to it. Despite feeling like it would be more at home on the Xbox 360, Demon's Souls is a Playstation 3 exclusive. At least that's what the PS3 fanboys will tell you. But we all know that the PS3 has no games, right?

Story: 2/10
To be honest, there really isn't much of a story here. All you need to know is that some demons awakened and you need to put them to rest. I guess they need a bedtime story because they are not going willingly. Everything is gloomy. Everyone is depressed. It's always cloudy. Some non-playable characters will have a semblance of a story, such as being thankful for their rescue, but that's really about it. The reason for the current state of affairs is explained early in the game, but it is kind of boring. Turn off the story and play your own story while you adventure forth. Oh wait, game systems only do that with music.


You will face the Vanguard boss at the end of the short tutorial. You will die.
But you will get another chance to whip his ass as seen here.


Graphics: 6.5/10
While some of the graphics are indeed pretty cool, much of the game has a kind of yucky, low-budget feel to it. When you are in world 5, it looks like a PS2 game. There is lots of banding where gradients should be smooth as well as lots of aliasing. The physics engine is gawd-awful. Things look pretty when they fall, but I have seen characters and objects get stuck in mid-air, stuck between walls and floors, and twitch endlessly after they are killed. Basically, nothing has realistic weight in this game. Bodies drag at your feet more easily than dragging your emaciated grandpa around the street in the same manner. There is slowdown and dropped frames on more than a few occasions and the game never goes above 30fps. Be sure to turn the in-game brightness all the way up as otherwise it is way too dark. However not all is bad. Most of the enemy designs are very, very cool. The dragons look simply awesome. The main castle in the game looks great as the draw distance goes on for nearly forever and it is topped with a bit of depth-of-field blur. I sometimes like to stand on a ledge and look into the distance and reminisce about when I ran past that part waaaaaaay over there and killed a guy with a crossbow along the way. I wish this amount of attention was given to the other levels. So overall, not bad, but nowhere near as good as it could be if it were given more time in development or simply had a more skilled developer.


Players can leave notes to help other players. It is very rare that they leave false messages
which blows my mind based on what I know about gamers (they're butt-munchers).


Sound: 6/10
This game consists almost entirely of ambient sound. Music only plays during the boss fights. What music is in the game is fairly generic and unmemorable. After I rescued one individual, he appeared in the Nexus (the central hub of the game) and pipe organ music played from then on out. He practically turned the entire place into his own personal church. He had followers and everything. Still, he sucked at the pipe organ and I got sick of it so I murdered him and his fellow cultists. Play some good music next time if you want to live. Unfortunately this game does not allow custom soundtracks, and it could really use that feature, especially when grinding. The sound effects are minimal, giving you a very lonely and desolate feeling. I am sure this was intentional, and it works well. Some levels have specific weird sounds that play given certain circumstances, such as the beating heart sound in world 3-2 which makes it sound very, very spooky. And in level 3-1, you can hear prisoners moaning and screaming. Unfortunately some more work could have gone into the sound levels. When one of those bastard red-eyed knights is chasing you and you are running away like a scared schoolgirl, you can hear his footsteps behind you as he pursues. These footsteps do not grow more quiet the further away you get from the knight, they just suddenly stop when the knight gives up and turns around. It's really scary because you think he is right on your tail when he is more likely quite a distance from you. Some sound levels do decrease with distance, like the previously mentioned heart in 3-2. There is no discrete subwoofer track which is a true shame for a game like this. This could have used more time in development. Also, judging by all of the voices in this game, it takes place entirely in Scotland.


The huge red dragon flies past the bridge, burning all of the poor soldiers to a crisp.
He does it again and again, too. He really likes to rub it in. Asshole.


Gameplay: 8/10
The premise of the game is very simple, it is an action "RPG" where you collect souls to buy things and level up. Each enemy you murder gives you souls… or rather you steal them because I don't think they would give you their souls willingly. Yes, you play as a murdering, thieving, greedy bastard. With you running around committing genocide, you are doing nothing to help the struggling race relations of this unique world. Why can't we all just get along? Anyway, players can leave messages with hints. You can "recommend" these messages and the player who left it will get some of their life back, supposedly. As a result you will see a lot of messages that say "Please recommend this message!" You also see the white ghosts of players who are currently playing the same world as you running around. You cannot interact with them and they see you as a white ghost as well. You can also touch bloodstains to see other players die, though you can only see the player, not what they are fighting. If you die, you leave a bloodstain and lose ALL of your souls. You have to fight your way back to where you died (actually where you were about 5 or so seconds before you died). If you touch your own bloodstain, you recover all of your lost souls and your screen is blocked for 5 or 6 seconds by gigantic text telling you that you have indeed touched your own bloodstain. I wish the message would stay up longer, like maybe for an hour. I also wish it were bigger on the screen. That would make it better because at nearly a third the size of the screen I simply can't read it. If you die before making it back to your bloodstain, well, you're screwed and it also means that nobody in real life wants to be your friend.


The Tower Knight is huge and intimidating, but truth be told, few of the bosses present much challenge at all. The common
enemies will pose more of a threat. I beat most bosses on my first try. Only a few are an exception to this rule.


The game allows you to chose the class of your character in the beginning and gives you a horribly broken character creator. Souls are used as currency and experience in the game. You can level up whatever attribute you want when you have enough souls, be it strength, endurance, 'tude, vitality, what have you. The way I play the game is basically the "HULK SMASH!" method in that I am all offense, do not use magic at all and rarely use my shield. I don't even like dodging. Occasionally I will move out of the way of an impending attack if I have nothing better to do. But by using this tactic I was still able to beat the game. So it stands to reason that I mainly beefed up my strength, endurance and vitality attributes along with a bit of dexterity. I ignored everything else completely. There are tons of items to use and you can assign these to d-pad buttons via the game's clutzy menu system. You must unequip an item before you can set it aside in storage or drop it. The game cannot be paused, you have no control over saving the game as it is done automatically every few seconds or so. If you do something, you cannot undo it. Kill a merchant and he stays dead forever. Sometimes your character becomes trapped in debris and you must smash your way out of it with a sword or whatnot. I did this around a merchant once and they started attacking me! They never become nice to you so you have no choice but to murder them unless you want to put up with their constant shit every time you walk by. Of course this was probably the merchant who sold something that nobody else did that I desperately needed.

Most of the game will be played in "soul" form. While in this mode, you make no footsteps and other players cannot invade your game. Your life bar is also halved, but with a Cling Ring it goes up to about 70% capacity. When you defeat a boss or use a certain item, you can become human again. Your life meter is full, but your attacks are slightly weaker. The game is definitely fun to play, but you really need to get the "feel" for its mechanics before you truly begin to have fun. I was once invaded by a player who came up and saw my big-ass sword. He bowed to me and started helping me get through the level. So you never know the true intention of invading players. Still, the online mode is not the greatest as it is difficult to play co-op with a known friend to get through levels. Even if you did, it would help only one player advance in the game instead of both. Then there are player and world tendencies that vary from light to dark that can affect certain situations. I really don't want to get into that because it is boring to write about, but basically if you do well, the tendency turns white and good things can happen or open up if you look hard enough. Dying while in human form makes everything darker, so play in soul form and commit suicide in the Nexus if you are a human.


While in human form you can summon other players to your world to help. Just look for the blue signs on the ground.

The name "Demon's Souls" is very appropriate. Notice the placement of the apostrophe in the title. That means the multiple souls of one demon. That couldn't be more true here, as each demon has many, many souls, sometimes in the tens of thousands… each! Hell, even the lowest enemy has at least 3 or 4 souls. With me being an atheist, I'm not sure that I feel too comfortable with all of these souls flying around with wild abandon. I am sure that if I used science I could prove to the game that souls don't actually exist, but then it would be impossible for me to level up my character and the game would come to a screeching halt. This game is just too interesting to want to do that, so I'll let it be for now. Perhaps the sequel will be more atheist friendly, collecting science points instead of souls.

Sometimes your own curiosity gets the best of you. Any enemy you kill within a world will stay dead until you exit. As a result it can seem a lot safer than it is since you can always go back to the archstone/checkpoint to leave the world without dealing with respawned enemies on the way back. You wonder what is perhaps around the next corner… you still have maybe 25% of your life. I really should go back while I can. But maybe if I just take a quick peek… AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! This will happen often and you will be upset when you are working your way back to your bloodstain and you die. This will also happen quite often. It happens to everybody. The most souls I lost at once was nearly 70,000. If you die during a boss fight, things can get frustrating because it is quite a hike from the archstone to get back to the boss. The fight with the False King Allant was really trying as he was super cheap. If he touches you he reduces your levels permanently and you have to re-earn them. If you want to have another go at him, it is nearly a half-mile walk from the archstone to where you fight him, complete with respawned enemies since the level reloads. This is crossing the line in my book. What's next, a boss that erases your game save permanently? Or perhaps erases the saves of other random games? Or formats your PS3 hard drive? Or fries the motherboard? Geeez!

Wrap up:
My first playthrough took me about 41 hours total and I ended up being at level 98. This game is difficult, but it is nowhere near as hard as, say, Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. But no matter how hard it gets there is always something that brings you back for more. You will eventually get past what is troubling you no matter how much you think you hate the game. Just know that this game most certainly hates you!
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:10 AM   #1560
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Ok Ok...I'll get this game! I need something new after putting 60+ hours into DragonAge. And I just started another run though, as a good guy this time.
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