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Old 03-26-2011, 02:25 PM   #106
Northeastmonk
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Dragon Age 2 – PC

Pros
Moneys worth of combat and story driven gameplay
More enemies to fight besides Darkspawn
Way more bosses than the original
Dragon Age 3
This isn’t the console version

Cons
Limited traveling
They took out a lot of what made Dragon Age so great.
The exterior plot seems a tad confusing

Dragon Age was one of the best western RPG titles that I’ve played this generation. However this sequel does some things better then its previous entry, it lacks a majority of what made DA1 so great. The pile of dialogue and the story behind the side quest were really good, but there is a lot to be said for everything outside that.

Story: You play as Hawke, a man set on a quest. This time, he is not a Grey Warden. Instead you’re relieving a life of a hero. This is done by setting up the plot and allowing the player to experience it. Which is fine, but the story does seems to stay in a secluded area which never ventures on to other parts of the land, like DA1 did with various locations. DA2 seems to take place in one giant location, but the added locations are still enjoyable being how few there are. DA2 has a ton of things to do, making the entire experience well worth checking out. The dialogue was great, but it seemed to be the key point in enjoying what was actually taking place or what was going to take place. The plot takes a lot of twist and is very enjoyable, but you can honestly feel Dragon Age 3’s announcement is right around the corner. There was also a lot less talk about the darkspawn, which made the game seem fresh.

Gameplay: Taking out of the table top view was a terrible idea. The combat is still awesome, but seems more action game based then the traditional BioWare style. There are three classes to choose from, as well as gender (Warrior, Mage, and Rouge). This is also a part I couldn’t stand. You’re forced to learn techniques based on that class, which is different for every character, some sound meaningless (maybe piled on top each other to seem like a totally new class). Meaning there isn’t a slight chance of learning anything new in terms of spells because classes must meet their own set requirements. Shopping for armor and weapons was not fun at all. My first play through was with the traditional Hawk character as a Mage. This class was a lot of fun, but there was never enough equipment for him. It seemed as if there were more rings and belts to choose from then there was anything else. My party members were warriors and rogues and some never changed armor. I also did not find any equipment for them outside of a few weapons. Customization was terrible compared to the large selection found in DA1. Some other complaints I had: They took out giving gifts, enchanting seemed useless, and the change of scenario never happened. I also used my previous Dragon Age/Awakening save and did not notice anything different.

Graphics: Great graphics, everything was on par with what was going on. There was the problem I noticed that other reviews pointed out as well. The constant rehash of dungeon designs. This happens a lot in western RPGs these days, so I’m not that much of a complainer. But what I didn’t understand is that the entire game does this, and this is my opinion, in the same spots because you never travel that far off from where you started. Combat also has a lot more going on, however I did not see too many glory kills in DA2. Maybe more gore, but the game looks great.

Sound: Great soundtrack. I believe the same person who played as Balthier from Final Fantasy XII makes a great appearance.

Score: 5 out of 10 Edit: I changed this score because this title nowhere lives up to the original.

Overall: Dragon Age 2 feels like it could catch the eye of any new person coming to the series. But it lacks a lot that I found to be amazing in the first one. The new story, the amount of side quest and dialogue however make it a very good game. As much as I want cannot stand what they did with the equipment and traveling. This one should not be missed if you’re a fan of the Dragon Age. I would also like to point out that this sequel could not fill too many holes for the Third installment because there is not much to build in DA2, maybe a trailers worth. But you could sum that up in five minutes easily (those who do not get what I’m saying will understand once they check out DA2).

Last edited by Northeastmonk; 11-06-2014 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:06 PM   #107
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I still need to play the first. Did you ever play Neverwinter Nights 2? And if so how do you compare that to DA1 as I consider NWN2 to be the best rpg of this current gen. Well...and Witcher. Love that game.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:01 AM   #108
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What about the Witcher on the iPhone? Is that any good?
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:50 PM   #109
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Its a totally different game. The Iphone one is just an online versus game where you choose your attack/defense moves and then watch who wins.
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:20 PM   #110
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I still have to download NWN2. I was a fan of the first one, but lack a connection and time to get Steam up and running. I am eager to play it now that I can. But DA1 has to be one of the finest quality western rpgs Ive played. I plan to review and get back to you though Alucard.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:12 AM   #111
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NWN2 is heads and shoulders above the first game by like 10 times. NWN/DA are both supposed to be like Baldurs Gate, hence the gameplay/camera style.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:04 PM   #112
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Call of Duty Advanced Warfare – PS4
Sledgehammer Games

I wrote a review for CoD4 back when it originally launched, but my feelings for the series have changed a lot over the years. Originally, I wound up working for GameStop back in 2007 when Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare came out. I was familiar with the series, but I was hesitant because GRAW had been out and I was not a large fan of that series. Then one day a customer traded in an Xbox 360 and I had to test a game on it. I chose CoD4 as the game. Long story short; I bought every single Call of Duty game that has come out on a major platform except iOS and handheld. I’ve grown to love the MW series, played multiple hours of the Black Ops multiplayer, and I’ve gotten to see it turn into Cod Ghosts (a major mainstream title). Advanced Warfare is a new feel for an established formula. It does the formula well, but it increases upon what some people might find as a Hollywood cinematic formula. I will briefly go over the review of the single player campaign. This is the 3rd developer added to the Call of Duty franchise and this is their first major entry into the series, except that they helped out with MW3 as a co-developer with Infinity Ward.

Story:
You play as USMC Jack Mitchell who ends up fighting North Korea. North Korea has invaded Seoul and you are there to push back their attack. The game has a lot larger plot that involves a corporation called Atlas. This is where you begin to understand what Atlas is and how they are establishing themselves throughout the world. In the midst of this you are investigating a terrorist group called the “KVA”. Kevin Spacey is introduced as Jonathan Irons, who is this leader of Atlas. The story is interesting because it’s set in the future (2061) with believable scenarios, the plot develops throughout the cast, and it helps you break that gap between finishing a level and moving onto something new. At times I felt it was taking concepts from other works in the media (ex: Fast and Furious and Metal Gear Solid), but it delivered when it came down to game play.

Game Play:
The EXO suits are a lot of fun. You can burst through the air and double jump. The guns are a lot of fun to use and the grenades are very fun as well. They allow you to throw EMP grenades, SMART grenades (which fire like a locked on rocket), and there are a few others as well. CoD has been known for their driving sequences and they are typically fun while they last. My biggest problem is that they are very straightforward. CoD is straight forward, get to the point, blow it up, move on. AW has that same formula, but you’ll see it spread out and the way you move throughout AW looks and feels like Sledgehammer Games put some effort at making it better. I felt like the campaign was paced real well. It took you to some “wow” moments and then it pushed you further. There are quite a few QTEs or 1 button presses, but overall the game made up for it with its progression.

Sound:
I enjoyed the sounds. I’m not a big fan of Battlefield, so I might not want to comment. I was using my Logitech G35 headphones on my PS4 and they sounded really good. The gun blasts were good, but they weren’t over my head either. My favorite would have to be the charge effect they added. Troy Baker is pretty good as Jack, but I didn’t feel like he made much of an impact except keeping everything feel alive and fresh. I believe all the credit should go to Kevin Spacey. He sounded incredible for being a celebrity in a video game.

Graphics:
The graphics look fantastic. Greece looked beautiful and the entire area felt like a pallet cleanser. The character models and cut scenes looked amazing. I didn’t see any slowdowns on the PS4, except the loading screen took a while to get through. This is normal if you have ever played a Call of Duty game before. They are worth watching to understand the plot and what’s going on.





Overall:
I’m glad we’re seeing more science fiction and fiction period to Call of Duty and FPS. I am somewhat happy Modern Warfare finished because I enjoyed MW and MW2. I just wish they had done better with the writing after Black Ops. Advanced Warfare does show itself real nice and there are some moments that make you feel like you’re on the edge of your seat. I feel that this is one of the best FPS on the market for the new consoles.

Pros:
Interesting campaign
Fantastic cast of characters
Great graphics
Fun combat mechanics

Cons:
The plot begins to feel almost too familiar at times
The campaign is very short
Action elements feel absorbed by button presses and camera tricks

I’d normally review in a 10 point scale, but I’m thinking of using a 5 point scale.

Score: 4.5/5

The screenshots were taken by the Share feature on the PS4 system.

Last edited by Northeastmonk; 11-07-2014 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:29 PM   #113
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The Evil Within – PS4
Tango Gameworks

Accredited game designer Shinji Mikami releases yet another thrilling horror game from his Tokyo based studio Tango Gameworks. This is a third person psychological survival horror game with elements of stealth. Mikami is responsible for the original Resident Evil (BioHazard), followed by the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 4, Dino Crisis, Viewtiful Joe, and various other noteworthy titles. I’ve played quite a few titles of his works, so the excitement for yet another survival horror game was going to be expected.

Story:
The game revolves around a sobered up Detective named Sebastian Castellanos. He has been called to a case with his partner Joseph Oda and Juli Kidman, who are also both detectives. They all arrive at Beacon Mental Hospital where they are shocked to find a disarray of events that were downright horrific. You fall through a few scenarios that feel like they were from the creators of “Hellraiser” or something out of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village”. The story makes little sense at this point, except that there was an attack by a masked man. This man appears to have supernatural powers like those of Resident Evil’s Wesker. You aren’t quite sure what to make of the plot because you find yourself asking “why did this happen?” to events in the game that explain themselves quite well. You just realize that you are in this hellish world for a reason and that reason is beyond your control (or is it?). I think it’s a decent plot, but it needs DLC and/or a sequel to do it justice. You need to know more about why this was going on and that should be told within the multiple character DLC episodes that have been mentioned before. The Season Pass will gain you access to these scenarios when the time comes. I have already purchased the Season Pass in order to understand more about the game's plot in further detail. The other characters barely show their personality except dealing with the situation at hand. I found myself reading more about the characters and the events prior to the introduction of the game inside reports found throughout the game. The Art of The Evil Within also goes into a little more detail and gives you access to the names of each creature you’ll encounter, so there’s a spoiler warning for those who want to go through the art book before they play the game.

Game Play:
This is my definition of a modern third person survival horror game that takes directions from both a stealth mechanic, trial and error, and a shooter. You are given the classic reworked RE4+ engine with little ammo. The amount of ammo you receive at one time can be counted in your hand. You also receive a wide variety of upgrades, so it works if you use precision and timing with each shot. There are traps that you can aim and shoot at ,which explode; similar traps and various enemies can also be ignored as well. I enjoyed the many different style of bolts found within the game, which is part of a small crafting mechanic. You can electrify, harpoon, and spear enemies to the wall. This is really fun when you are low on ammo and you need to get rid of an enemy quick. Quickness has been defined by a match in The Evil Within. You can set bodies on fire on a hard knockdown or set a barrel of hay on fire to cause enemies to be distracted. This element of the game is very simple once you get the hang of it. You can increase how many matches you can hold and it saves the player a lot of ammo in the process. The entire game lets out this huge preset of monsters to kill in a variety of ways. You start off in stealth mode, where your only real form of an attack is with your knife, which is only used during those stealth attacks. There is also a melee button, which works well when you’re trying to push back/stun an enemy in your way. It leaves you very vulnerable if you are trying to kill the enemy with your melee attack. Axes and Torches are used as weapons, which deliver a fast, but short killing blow. The game is pretty set forward. I can imagine the scene in House of the Dead III where everything is falling on top your head or the rusted metal platforms in Silent Hill 4. You’re being engaged in a way that feels like a trap. Your pacing is getting past each step and moving onto the next. There are few collectibles in The Evil Within, but you can also be rewarded by a prize mechanic with various keys found hidden within the game.





Sound:
I really enjoyed the gun blasts and the way each form of an object made its way into the game. Some of the more mechanical objects feel like they fell out of Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6. You hear the sounds of blades crashing and scratching against the ground, the fire roaring in the air, and the contained barrel explosives. Some of the dialogue is a bit toned down, mediocre at best. Leslie, a young patient is drowned by somewhat laughable comments being directed back at him and Joseph is pretty much misunderstood the entire time. I had to read about Joseph in the art book to understand his character a little bit better.

Graphics:
The graphics look very excellent on the PS4. The dark tones take over and sometimes areas feel a little underwhelming with a lack of space to explore. The bloodbath is extremely detailed and the enemies are great to look at too. Sometimes I felt that the repetition put into each scenario put the player in this quasi-experimental defition. What you are seeing is not the actual intrigue you had once the level began.

Overall:
The Evil Within was a thriller from start to finish. It had progression that wanted you to start off simple and controlled before it took you to the height of say Resident Evil’s action sequences. There’s a lot of thought put into transitioning each scene in the game, but sometimes it felt just like a method to push you further instead of giving you a set location with a set goal. I feel like The Evil Within’s biggest problem is that it was too random. The transitions were good, but overall I felt like it could of kept a constant going.

Pros:
Familiar control layouts
Satisfying deaths (Dead Space style of deaths)
Fun scenarios (trial and error)
Great looking enemies

Cons:
Story has a take some, but not all feel to it. Some players might be very confused and they might be expecting more.
Selected progression (Chapters 1-3, and 11 are troublesome if you aren’t willing to accept the game’s formula)
Black bars; for those who don’t like the more cinematic look, this may seem like an ice breaker.
It did not do better than Resident Evil 4

Score: 4/5

The screenshots were taken by the Share feature on the PS4 system.

Last edited by Northeastmonk; 11-09-2014 at 12:20 AM.
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