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Old 03-07-2011, 06:24 AM   #61
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You know it did the first time I played it. I love the soundtrack but 10 years on it didn't strike me as a strong point by todays standards. Still your right it was great!
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:00 AM   #62
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Shenmue - Dreamcast

10 Years ago my Dreamcast was giving me arguably the best gaming year of my life, Jet Set Radio, Resident Evil CV, MSR and many more games left but SEGA saved the best until last. I headed by train after school to get the game on the day of launch and I wasn't disappointed.

Shenmue redefined and set new standards in Video gaming. Switch the game on and you are treated to one of the best opening cinematics ever where you witness Lan Di brutally murder your father. It is then your purpose to avenge your father’s death and your quest begins. Initially you simply become immersed in Shenmue’s world. You can quite simply do anything. Go to the shops, visit the arcade and when did purchasing capsules with video game characters become so fun? All of the characters are memorable and the entire game has been redubbed in English. However the voice acting is the weaker part of the game. Ryo's performance in particular is very monotone and lacks any real depth but it never really impacts the game and in fact Ryo going round asking where sailors are actually becomes quite amusing and the cast are as memorable today as 10 years ago. Fuk-San is still annoying, Ine-San is like a grandmother to me and Tom is hilarious.

One of the best things about Shenmue is it's incredible orchestral score. It is without question one of the best musical scores ever. Perfectly composed to reflect emotion and the situation generating suspense and building up to giant crescendos and even giving poignancy to the Nozomi relationship. Though the question of whether the 2 properly are ‘Actually doing it’ remains unanswered.

Did I also mention that Shenmue contains a full scale arcade lounge. Featuring Darts, Punch out and of course SEGA classics Hang On and Space Harrier. Long before GTA was doing this sort of thing with it's immersive world Shenmue was doing it and these games alone carry hours of fun.

The combat system is also good but fails to really excel. Of course i am being over critical here Because this is the guy that created Virtua Fighter it's a shame the combat system didn't go deeper. Ryo picks up scrolls to learn newnmoves and can go to certain designated areas to practice them. The culmination being the giant 70 man fight roasted the end of the game. The game also has a series of quick time events (QTE's) that require you to press buttons within a certain time period. This method has been copied in games like Resident Evil 4, Tomb Raider and the Uncharted series and is yet another homage to just how groundbreaking Shenmue was/is.

Visually the game today holds up very well which is astonishing when you consider that back in 2000 most were still playing on their PSOne. The attention to detail is stunning. Be it the environments or the people surrounding them everything is polished to perfection. As time progresses upwards Christmas the snow comes down and you will see Santa wandering. You can interact with everything even if it is pointless. Listen to tapes (it is the 80's) and Ryo even has a Saturn under his TV (Hang on isn't it the 80's?). You even go out and get a job as a forklift truck driver and partake in races at the start of the day. That’s the beauty of Shenmue. The detail. Shops open and close at specific times. The weather changes and you have to be home in time for bed. It's little touches like this that make the game such an immersive experience. The other great thing in Shenmue is you will never get totally lost. Despite the interactive world you carry a notebook and will automatically note down the key information you pick up on your travels. It’s a system that works and works well and you will use it for phone numbers, passwords and to log appointments.

I have barely scratched the surface of how highly I rate this game. Shenmue today remains one of the best games ever and if you have not played the game I seriously recommend you pick this one up now because you are missing out on one of the best video game experiences. It's slow pacing may put off the casual ‘Call Of Duty’ audience but if you love your games then no one shouldn't experience Shenmue. It is simply brilliant.

Pros - Incredible attention to detail. Fantastic orchestral score. Brilliant story.
Cons - pacing issues. Fighting could have been deeper. Bad voice acting in places.

Overall - 98%
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:05 AM   #63
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Shenmue added, sensational! Now if only SEGA would get off their ass and put the game on XBLA!
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:14 AM   #64
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Bioshock – Xbox 360
Also available on PS3/PC

To create a new IP is risky business. Why? Well it costs a lot of money in a time of recession and there is no guarantee it will sell. Great games sell next to zero copies all the time nowadays because the industry is mainstream. It needs advertising, good reviews and luck. Add to that the insane dev costs of HD consoles and you get the picture. Bioshock not only is a new IP but is one of the best to come put this generation. You take the roll of Jack who has crash landed in Rature, an underwater city with a disturbed past.

At first glance the game seems extremely messed up. You will hear unnerving voices and see movement on the shadows, ghosts and a disturbing scene where a little sister is stabbing a corpse. Little girls are freaky but seeing them in this nature will initially shock you.

The story unfolds beautifully. As you play the plot develops but what really deepens and thickens raptures plot is the audio diaries. Why is this so special? After all we have been picking up Audio diaries for a while now... Doom 3 for example bit you had to stop and listen interrupting the flow of the game. Bioshock plays all it's audio diaries on the fly while you progress like in 2K Boston's previous game System Shock 2 and they are so engrossing and add to much to the game, characters and backstory. Even when you don’t feel like you are listening you absorb the information. Its a method I think should be used more. You really start to feel the horrific nature of Raptors past.

Visually the game is beautiful. It uses the unreal engine but the art design is spectacular. Rapture is stunningly created down tithe last detail and you can feel the love the designers put in. Each character is wonderfully crafted and polished and feels like it has a direction. In fact the entire presentation of the game is great. All the dialog is really well voice acted. Never in the game did it ever feel cheesy and the plot developments are carefully thought out.

The game uses a first person perspective and has an array of weapons but I wouldn't class it as a FPS. The combat system is as deep as you want it to be. On the one hand headshots and close up shotgun hits will do the business. Alternatively you can use the many plasmids to be more creative, this could be as simple as stunning your enemy with an electro bolt and hitting them with a wrench or electrocuting the water supply to fry anyone in it, you can even use telekinesis to hurl things at your enemies. Then there is a weapon upgrade system, the ability to create custom ammo and a camera that will allow you to research specific enemies allowing you to inflict more damage.

All I have done is talk about the good in this game. But is there any bad? Well the game doesn't have the standard FPS checkpoint system. Instead you regenerate in chambers. It sounds ok but the problem is that enemies retain there health following your previous battle. If you have got a big daddy down to 10% health and he kills you, he will still be on 10% when you get back. It means that sheer persistence will get you through the game and for me took a dimension away as I didn't really learn characters weaknesses and tended to stick to the bullet to the head method. I also ignored any health upgrades etc focusing more on abilities and whilst you can turn these chambers off it makes the game brutally hard for the average gamer. Still this is more a minor niggle and to be honest I still haven't decided if this system is bad or not... The other issue I had was with hacking. Initially the mini game associated with hacking is fun and a great addition. However, after hacking 50 or so it becomes a little tedious. Each hackable item has a hack difficulty and anything over half the difficult bar you know you probably won’t do. Anything beneath you know you will. Sure there is a buyout system and auto-hack tools but they get dull after a while.

Bioshock’s music and sound effects are top notch. The music
perfectly let's you know you are in the 50's whilst the games art style compliments it whilst still letting you know that it was the cutting edge of technology in the 50's. It just went horribly wrong! The voice acting in the diaries is superb and the characters talk and scream at you making the game creepy but giving every character a sense of depth.

The other great thing in my opinion is the game doesn't have a multiplayer. It's a classic old school single player game and I love it for that. So many companies become consumed with making a multiplayer just for the sake of it. The game doesn't need it. So I commend the developers or not tacking some afterthought on and letting the main game shine through.

Bioshock is without question one of the best games this generation. You walk into a ruined world and gradually unfold the horrific events that took place here. There are multiple endings depending on your morale choices to saving or harvesting the little sisters and personally I did go back for a second playthrough. It is one of the must experience games of the generation.

Pros - Spectacular environments. Superb voice acting. Deep and disturbing story. Innovative combat mechanism.
Cons - Vita chambers... Although only if you let them alter your play style. Hacking machinery becomes boring after a while.

Overall - 93%
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