Captain Buttbeard's Gaming Corner

Currently playing
PlayStation: Air Combat
Xbox: Phantom Crash; Voodoo Vince
Xbox 360: Earth Defense Force 2025; Red Faction: Guerrilla

MediEvil (PlayStation)

Developer: SCE Cambridge Studio

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Released: 1998

Genre: Action-adventure, hack and slash

Serious Sam (Xbox)

Developer: Croteam

Publisher: Gotham Games

Released: 2002

Genre: First-person shooter
Serious Sam

SkyGunner (PlayStation 2)

Developer: PixelArts

Publisher: Atlus

Released: 2002

Genre: Air combat simulator, third-person shooter
I had absolutely no idea this game exists before I found it on a list. I liked the cute cartoon artstyle, the steampunk world and that it's a really short game so I decided to play it. So the story takes place in this French steampunk world, where the 3 main characters are part of some kind of air force organization called Sky Gunners, and they are hired by the police chief to protect a new invetnion called the Eternal Engine. But there is this bad guy called Ventre, who is trying to steal it with his chicken army... lol. At first I thought it's maybe a game based on an anime because it felt like there is a lore behind the world and the characters that I'm missing, and the intro video and the drawing cutscenes looked way too good for a video game, but apparently it's not. So the 3 characters have separate campaigns, the difference is the difficulty (Femme the girl is the easy, the blonde guy Ciel is the normal, and the purple haired dude Copain is the hard difficulty) and their tasks: there are only 5 missions, 4 of them are the same for every character, but they all have different tasks (for example, on easy you are destroying fighters while on normal you are taking care of an airship). Sometimes there are optional tasks you can do but they aren't required to finish a mission, but they could be needed to unlock the 2 bonus characters (some rich guy and the police chief). Another difference between the characters is their planes, they all have different special weapons (fireworks to kill a group of fighters, or cross missiles which you can detonate by shooting them, etc.) and special moves (quick turn around, quick stop with heavy machine gun fire, spinning). If you use them too quickly in a row your engine overheats and you gotta wait a bit till it cools down. Normally you are locked on to an enemy and it plays kinda like a rail shooter, but you can switch to tail view and fly around freely, but there isn't any minimap so it's harder to navigate. When you get hit a lot a quick time event starts where you have to press all the fucking buttons as quickly as you can to regain control of your plane, this gets harder the more time it happens. There is a score system, hitting multiple targets will increase your score and there is a short amount of time where you can multiply it by destroying more enemies. There is also a chain attack where you can destroy multiple enemies by a chain reaction. In one mission you can earn a new and better engine by finishing with the most scores. Of course I could never do that, I always finished last and sometimes with negative scores lmao, because using your weapons and getting hit decreases your score. And I got hit a lot and wasted so much ammo because this game is a fucking nightmare to control. It's hard to get used to the camera always looking at your locked on target and adjusting your plane to that, but that isn't even that bad compared to the aiming, the analog stick is so ridiculously sensitive (using the D-pad instead isn't much better) that it's fucking hard to hit anything at all. Not to mention the insane slowdowns, when a lot of explosions happen the game slows down like crazy and the graphics quality drops to a pixelated mess. Finishing the campaign gives you a rank, of course I got the worst one lmao (I will never understand scores and ranks, who gives a shit about that, I play to game to have fun and that's all that matters). You unlock a photo album though where you can see the major events and your victories. Finishing it on easy was hard enough but I wanted to play it on normal too to see how different the missions are, but there isn't a lot of difference so I didn't even bothered with playing the third character (I played with rich guy bonus character though, he only had two missions, but what the fuck was going on with him, seemed like he collected the Eternal Engine in the end). It was so fucking frustrating to play and I didn't have fun at all, it's a shame that such an awesome artsytle and world was wasted on a game with a terrible gameplay.
Ninety-Nine Nights (Xbox 360)

Developers: Q Entertainment, Phantagram

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2006

Genre: Hack and slash, action
Ninety-Nine Nights
This is another game I've never heard of until I was trying to find new games to play. The cover with the cute girl looked interesting and it's a similar to the Kingdom Under Fire series on the Xbox (made by the same developers) but without the strategic elements, and before I play those games it's better to experience a simple and basic version of this "kill hundreds of enemies" kind of genre. You can play different characters and they all have their own campaigns. The story of course is connected but it's hard to tell from the game, you have to read the manual to know what's going on. Basically there was a magical orb and all the races lived in peace together, then some demon guy who brought 99 days of darkness to the world was defeated and the orb broke in two pieces, to a light one which the humans and their allies use and the dark one which is for the goblins and their allies, and they've been fighting since then (or something like that lol). Still, it's really hard to tell what's happening, some campaigns end abruptly and you don't really have any idea what's going on until you finish the campaign of the priest dude at the end. There is a secret character you unlock after finishing all campaigns (it's a cute and sad story of a huge troll that's fun to play). And with one character you can choose between two missions, but doesn't matter which one you pick you need to go back and do the other one because you need to complete all missions to unlock the secret final mission of Inphyy. Most of them are kinda bland looking, but I guess that's fine because the focus is on the hundreds of enemies you see around you. There aren't that many of them, and sometimes you are playing the same mission with a different character but from a different perspective, or as some alternate outcome. Some missions are really short but most of them take a while to complete. I think people complained about the lack of checkpoints and how hard the game is but I only really found it hard at the beginning when you are a low level character. As you level up you gain new combos and slots for the items dropped by dead enemies, or you can find them on the map in chests, such as weapons, items that can increase health, defense, attack etc. and health and orb potions too. After every dead enemy you collect red orbs, and when it's full you can execute powerful special attacks during a short period of time. Enemies killed during that time drop blue orbs, and when that's full you can execute a really powerful attack that usually kills every enemy on the screen instantly. It's really satisfying when you are massacring tons of fucking enemies, especially when you are high level and you know the best combos. Some characters are more fun to play than others, but they are usually different enough from each other. Sometimes you can meet future playable characters during missions, that was pretty cool. Boss fights are the only hard part of the game imo (and also those fucking demons lol), the best tactic is not facing them directly, and just jumping and dashing around waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Some characters can select two groups of soldiers who will follow them around, you can order them to attack and defend but they are kinda useless, except for occupying some enemy forces. The final mission is really hard unless you are level 9 (which is the max level), most characters will finish their campaigns at level 6 so you gotta replay some missions a couple times to level up. Then you can defeat the final boss with the combination of the last unlocked powerful attack + a powerful item. After completing missions and campaigns you unlock concept arts, which costs points to view. You get those from finishing missions with better ranks I think. There is also something in this game that I've never seen anywhere else before: you can kill innocent goblin women and children too, which is pretty fucking hardcore in a video game. So yeah it's basic and simple but I had a lot fun playing it, but I'm not gonna play the sequel because it was made by a different developer and I've heard it's shit.
Fable II (Xbox 360)

Developer: Lionhead Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2008

Genre: Action role-playing
Fable II
As I said when I reviewed the first game I played this one a little bit like 11 years ago when I got my Xbox 360. It was a bit overwhelming, I didn't really know where to go and I just wasn't in a mood for a large RPG, plus I wanted to start with the first game. Interesting fact, it was localized here and the localization is really good, but after playing through the childhood I just switched to English because everything had a different name so I had no idea where to go exactly. I started a new game though, because I didn't remember much from what I've played. The story takes place hundreds of years after the first game, where there are no more heroes and magic, people think they were just legends. You are the descendant of the first game's hero, living on the streets of Bowerstone with your sister. Then during the kiddie missions you buy an old magic item that can grant you a wish, and you soon end up in the castle where the bad guy Lucien discovers your power, and kills your sister and throws you out of the window. An old gypsy woman saves you, that's when the childhood ends and as an adult you head out of the gypsy caravan to discover the world of Albion and have your revenge on Lucien. The first thing you will notice is how much bigger the world is. In the previous game you were mostly limited to following roads but here you can explore almost everything and even swim (no more of that horrible fishing minigame lol). Cities are now truly huge unlike in the first game, there are less regions but they are so much bigger too, they can be forests with ancient ruins, farmlands, mountains, evil marshlands etc., they look beautiful. Of course these huge areas aren't empty, besides the usual enemies (interestingly there aren't really any new ones, just the same bandits, ghosts, werewolves etc. like in the first game) you can find a lot of treasure chests, hiden or burried, the demon doors, silver keys and gargoyles you can shoot. And who is gonna help you to find all these things and kill enemies? That's right, the most important addition: your dog. Not only he will bark and lead you to chests when there is one near you, he will also help you to kill enemies, and you can play with him too, and he does tricks when you use one of your expressions or when NPCs pet him. And you can train him to upgrade his abilities and learn new tricks from books (that's how you learn new expressions too). He also changes just like you based on your alignment. You don't have to travel back to anywhere to learn new skills, all you have to do is to open the menu and just like in the first game you spend blue (melee attacks), yellow (ranged attacks) and red orbs (spells) and also green ones (general xp) to learn new skills. Potions also give XPs instead of buffing your stats. There are less spells but they have two functions, you can target a specific enemy or an area and they will do different things, I realy liked this change. Melee and ranged combat are also different, basically both use just one button and the way you press them (like holding the button makes the attack more powerful or blocks an enemy attack) changes the attack, it may sounds very simplified but it works well. At the first half of the game I was constantly running out of money so it was hard to manage, that's why the game has jobs you can do. They are minigames where you need to hit a button at the perfect time but it can be hard, and they don't really pay well until you do a shitton of them in a row and that can take a lot of time. With the money you earn you can buy stalls and stores for a steady income, or houses you can rent out. Just like in the first game you need to own a house if you want to get married. Finding a wife works the same, you gotta flirt or give gifts until the girl falls in love with you, but in this game you can see what the NPCs like or dislike, or what's their favorite places, and you can take them there if you want, it's pretty cool. You can check if your wife likes the house you live in (if not, you can move to another, or buy new furnitures) or if she is happy with her allowance (pretty realistic huh lmao). Oh, and you can have kids. Yep. You can impregnate your wife by fucking her without a condom lmao (don't fuck whores without it though, or you will get STDs lol) and you can have a baby (I don't think you can have more than one per wife though). You can't really do much with them besides giving them a gift, but sometimes your kid will run away and you need to find him in a cave before he dies (I think girls won't run away). Your wife will leave you if she isn't happy, if you get fat or won't flirt with her and fuck her regularly lmao. Wearing attractive clothes or armors will increase her happiness and how much the NPCs like you, and you can do cool shit like pose for statues all around the world. The main story is actually really short, but there are so many sidequests and so much shit you can do in the world that it took me months to finish the game. In some ways the story is really similar to the first game, like how you go away for a long time to this "prison" and when you come back the world changes. Your actions have a bigger effect on the world, helping a guard when you are a kid turns a district to a nice neighborhood later, but if you help the bandits it will be a shithole, or before you go away again as an adult you can turn a shitty city into a nice place by investing in a project there, and you can even meet some characters later and see what happened to them. An interesting moment was when I thought Oakfield was the same village from the first game, until you pass through a fucked up marshland and you realize that's the destroyed and sunk Oakvale in the distance. It's weird but there is no real final boss fight at the end, you just hold down a button and that's it lol. And then you can choose from the 3 different endings: you can get a shitton of money (the evil ending, lame as fuck), revive your wives and children and your dog who were killed by the final boss, or revive all the people who were killed by him except your family and your dog. Obviously the only ending that makes any sense is saving our loved ones so that's what I picked, how else am I gonna have my dog and fuck my wives lmao? This lack of final boss also shows the only real problem with the game: it's just so fucking easy. First of all, there is a gold trail you see that will lead you to where you need to go so it's impossible to get lost, armors don't really give stats anymore so it doesn't really matter what you wear, fast travel is really easy you just open your map and can go to any place you've been before etc. I didn't even die once it's so easy, I even died in the first game a couple times. Despite how easy it was it's still a really fun game and I enjoyed playing it so much. I have the Game of the Year Edition which has the two DLCs, in the first one you can travel to an island where you need to change the weather but it keeps making the island worse lol, and in the second one you get these cursed items which teleports you to a snowglobe village (which actually is Oakvale), then to some ruins where you get a bunch of silly outfits, and after those you will see a vision of the future, where you are a king, and after you come back you will still have a royal outfit on (there is also a colosseum you can go to fight). This foreshadows the story of Fable III, which I don't think I'm gonna play because I've only heard bad things about it, but who knows. Before I stopped playing I bought the best places you can own (castle, mansion, huge farm, tower) and moved my families there so they can live there happily until I come back to fuck them all again lmao.
Alter Echo (Xbox)

Developer: Outrage Games

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure
Alter Echo
I had no idea this game exists, I found it when I was looking through a list of games from 2003. It looked so cool and interesting in this weird alien world so I had to try it out. Apparently some new material called plast was discovered on a planet, and some people (shapers) have the power to create new things out of it with their minds or something like that, it was really confusing and didn't make much sense anyway. One of this shaper turns evil and creates a new material out of it called echoplast which gains consciousness and asks the main protagonist Nevin to help him defeat the bad guy. As I said it takes place in a weird as fuck alien world, where the whole planet is covered by this echoplast, with its weird shapes and colors, the graphics aren't that great but still it's visually impressive. Levels can be a bit samey looking, even when you are underground or inside some building, and they are usually really short, just a few minutes long but there are a lot of them and they are grouped together in different chapters. I almost dropped the game immediately when I started playing because it has an inverted camera which you can't change! Seriously fuck every single developer who does this shit, what the fuck were they thinking? I stopped playing games before because of this, the only reason I continued this one is because the game automatically locks on to enemies, so even if I can't see shit I will still hit them. Doesn't matter how much I played I couldn't adapt to it. But combat was pretty meh anyway. Nevin has a sword he can fight with and use combos but his suit can morph into 2 other forms, a huge but very slow gun form where you can shoot enemies and a frog looking thing where you can use stealth and walk on platforms on walls just like in Prey lol, this form had the best attack where you can just jump on to some enemies and hit them because they can't damage you this way. Some enemies are immune to certain forms so you have to keep switching between them and that just made everything harder, especially when these nodes covered by a shield spams them, and you can't destroy it until a certain number of enemies are killed. You get green orbs from defeating enemies and you can use those to purchase new combos or more health at the end of chapters, but I just focused on improving the attack power and the health because it's just hard to execute elaborate combos with all those enemies around you. Sometimes there is an AI ally with you and that helps a little bit. There is also this time dilation thing, which is a minigame where you need to navigate an arrow that goes faster and faster to hit enemies, but it was so hard to do. You need to do the same thing to activate switches but it's harder there because you can hit walls, I just hate shitty minigames like that. And the shitty camera and combat just makes boss fights insanely hard, I don't even know how many times I retried that one with the clones. There are some couple extras you don't even need to unlock, trailers, making of videos, the most interesting was the music one. The game has this cool I guess industrial alien sounding music, and it was nice to see how they made it, plus they gave you two tracks with visualizer you can listen to. Anyway even if the camera wasn't inverted it would have been just a mediocre game, but I guess it still looks pretty interesting visually.
Zone of the Enders (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan

Publisher: Konami

Released: 2001

Genre: Third-person shooter, hack and slash
Zone of the Enders
I didn't really know about this game until I was looking for Xbox 360 games to play, as it came out later on the system as part of an HD Collection. It didn't look that interesting to waste a DVD, but when I was going through lists of PlayStation 2 games I decided to play it, mostly because the gameplay looked like the final boss battle from Lost Planet: Extreme Condition lmao which I loved. And I was right, it's a cool mech game. It's also the first Kojima game I've played, though I'm not sure how much he actually worked on it. The manual has a lot of history of the game's world, I guess that's pretty cool but it was so much I could barely remember any details, the only thing that important is that there is a conflict between Earth and the other colonies in the Solar System. The story takes place on a space colony near Jupiter, where I guess Mars' military attacks the colony to find an advanced mech (they call them orbital frames in this game). You are playing as Leo, a kid who witnesses his friends killed by the enemy, and as he tries to escape he accidentally falls into the mech they were looking for and activates the AI called Ada. The goal is basically to fight through the colony to deliver the mech to the good guys who will transport it away. The kid really doesn't want to fight and kill people so he is constantly arguing with the AI, but by the end he is ready to sacrifice himself. The graphics are pretty good, the colony is an awesome cyberpunk looking place, and the characters have this anime styled 3D look. The music in the main menu is playing backwards and it makes it so mysterious sounding. It's not your usual mech game, the focus is more on melee combat than on your guns, so it's more like a hack and slash game. You are basically hovering and flying through a map of the colony, where you can enter an area to fight enemy mechs. The controls were a bit weird and it took some time to get used to them, but there is a nice tutorial that explains everything. Besides the combat you can collect passcodes from defeated enemies (along with health and ammo for weapons) and you can use those on computers to obtain a new program or a new weapon. There are a lot of secondary weapons you can use, like javelin, sniper, machine gun or a repair "gun", but I very rarely used them, mostly just during boss fights. There are also these porter shits you need to shot down to reveal hidden things, but this is where you notice the biggest problem of the game: the camera is just so fucking awful. It doesn't make a difference during combat because you lock on to enemies, but you can't do that with porters and it keeps moving back when you try to look to another direction, so you have to face the target which was also not easy to do in a game with fast movements, it was so frustrating. Sometimes you get these optional missions where you can travel to an area to save civilians, and you get a rating based on how many of them you saved and how much buildings you destroyed or damaged. I had a hard time saving everyone and everything lol but I got better at it by the end. I also struggled with the first boss, but the rest of them were easier - the key is to keep moving, but this also applies to normal enemies. The final boss fight had an interesting concept, basically you can't damage him as he is more powerful than you, all you have to do is to survive until the final cutscene happens. And the way they said you are not ready to face him yet implies that he is gonna be the main antagonist of the sequel. It's a short game but it was pretty much what I expected, so I'm looking forward to play the next one. 2021/05/21
Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter (Xbox)

Developer: Warthog Games

Publisher: Black Label Games

Released: 2003

Genre: First-person shooter
Mace Griffin:
Bounty Hunter
I remember seeing news and screenshots of this game in the magazine I bought and I thought wow a bounty hunting space game that sounds cool as fuck. So I always wanted to play this, it was one the first games I wanted to try when I modded my Xbox, but it couldn't fit in the stock hard drive. The story is about this wrongfully convicted soldier (voiced by Henry Rollins) who is finally free after 10 years in prison, and becomes a bounty hunter and wants revenge on the people who set him up or something. It was a bit hard to follow, there are no subtitles of course and the radio is quieter, thank god for the last cutscene though for explaining what the fuck was happening because I wasn't really sure lmao. So the unique thing about this game is how you can just enter your ship and fly out of the space station, all without a loading screen, you can even walk inside your ship (there isn't much to do there besides picking up ammo), it's pretty impressive. Shame that space combat fucking sucks, it's just waves and waves of ships you need to shot down, and the default controls were awful but you can change it in the settings. You can adjust the speed, you can even stop and hover or reverse, but it's still kinda weird to control. Luckily they are usually small parts of missions and most of the time you are on foot. The gunplay isn't the best, aiming is slow as fuck and enemies are bullet sponges. The guns are fucking cool though, and for some reason they all look really good graphically (not that the game looks ugly, but it can be a bit bland and the characters aren't the best looking). They have secondary fire too, and you can lock onto enemies, which kinda works like a slight auto aim. Also this game has the best sniper rifle I've ever seen, you can smoothly zoom in all the way through, it was so easy to use. But the trend of godawful shotguns continue in this game too, I don't know why the fuck was this happening in the early 2000s. Sometimes during heavy firefights the HUD starts moving and shaking too, it was really cool. Besides your health you have a regenerating shield (on your ship too), and you can pick up medkits and ammo from wooden crates or from some rooms. Missions start with you flying your spaceship, then either fighting your way through or just docking to space stations, asteriod colonies or giant ships. Some of the enemies are interesting, like those cultists who wear a screen on their head with a smiley face lmao, but most of them were kinda boring, and as I said they take a lot of bullets. Those fuckers hiding with their rocket launchers are the worst, you can't save manually and sometimes there is a lot happening between checkpoints. At least you have those and don't have to restart, because missions are just so fucking tideously long, like over an hour long, they just go on and on and on and the game itself is pretty long too, and not easy at all, especially when there is a timer or you have to escort or defend an NPC. It's very linear, like mostly you can only go one way, but there are things you wouldn't expect normally so sometimes it's hard to find where to go next, like where you have to do some platforming (which wasn't very good), ride in carts and shit, or jump to the water from a cliff. This kinda reminded me of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, which I absolutely loved. And it's a bit buggy too, one time I fell out of the map lol, or enemies just didn't see or react to me. The last mission was really weird, you go through a portal to some trippy ghost alien race's ship, and those fuckers can kill you really fast, I died there the most. Honestly it's not a great game or anything, but I really appreciated it and its kinda old school (well to me at least) level design. So fuck it, I liked it.
Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)

Developer: EA DICE

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: 2008

Genre: First-person shooter, tactical shooter
Battlefield: Bad
This is the first Battlefield game I've played. I remember seeing Battlefield 2: Modern Combat in stores and I wanted to play it so badly, it looked so cool but I couldn't afford the game (I'm gonna play it at some point on Xbox though). I wasn't sure if I should play this one though, I knew it was made for consoles with a proper campaign but these kind of FPS games are always so fucking short. But it looked fun so I decided to play it. You are part of the Bad Company, a military unit where the lowest of the low are assigned to. Basically the US Army is using your unit as cannon fodder in a war with Russia. Your teammates are kinda crazy but funny too, I thought the story and the characters were a lot of fun (it sucks there aren't any subtitles, sometimes it's hard to follow the conversations, on default the sounds were really quiet too). The graphics are pretty good with a film grain to make it more cinematic looking I guess. There are only a few missions, but they are really long. You play on a huge map with a lot of objectives you need to complete and it opens up more and more of the map. They are usually about going from town to town and from building to building, killing enemies or blowing shit up. The game has awesome destruction physics, you can destroy so many buildings, trees and shit like that. You can only carry one weapon, but you also have a knife and you can pick up an extra item, that can be a drill to repair vehicles, an RPG, explosives, or my favorite a little device you can use to call artillery strikes lmao, deytroying fucking everything with it was so much fun. You also have an item to restore your health, which you can use as much as you want but it has a time limit. If you somehow still die, you teleport back to the last savepoint, but with all your progress so technically there is no penalty for dying. There are also vehicles you can use, like tanks or armored cars, boats, helicopters etc., and you can listen to the radio in them lol. Vehicle controls were a bit weird and it took some time to get used to them (especially the helicopter), but sometimes they got stuck on tiny obstacles (especially tanks) which was really annoying. Most of the time your squadmates are fighting with you, but there is a mission where you are alone and you are trying to find them. It was kinda weird how they just teleported right in the vehicle when you entered one, even if they were far away. After the first mission you find out a mercenary unit, which is famous for getting paid in gold bars, is also there. So naturally you say fuck this war, and start chasing the mercenaries to find their gold stash, and in the process you manage to invade a neutral country lmao. The gold bars are one of the collectibles, the other ones are weapons which I guess you unlock for multiplayer after you find them. It's weird that I found almost every weapon but for some reason I barely found any gold. One thing that I really didn't like was the aiming, for some reason left and right were more sensitive than up or down and there wasn't any option to change sensitivity, luckily there is a slight auto aim and that helped a bit. So yeah it was a good game and a lot of fun, but it was really short, unfortunately that became a problem during that time as these games were more about the multiplayer. 2021/04/28
Rez (PlayStation 2)

Developer: United Game Artists

Publisher: Sega

Released: 2002

Genre: Rail shooter, music
I have no idea if I knew about this game or not, but I read about it in a local magazine recently. It was reviewed twice, for some reason they gave it to the sport game dudebro who gave it 1 point, said it's a shame that something like this could come out and that it has no values. Then in the next issue this guy who wrote incredible reviews of Japanese games gave it a 9, explaining how it's an artistic game and an incredible experience. I guess I could compare the entire game to the computer level of Panzer Dragoon Orta, which probably was my favorite part of that game. I absolutely love the visuals, it has this 80s cyberspace look with some of that Y2K aesthetics, and then those digital ancient Egyptian or Babylonian buildings, it's fucking awesome. It's a pretty short game, you have 5 levels with 10 layers, each with different enemies, music and visuals. As you shoot down enemies you create the electronic music of the game and your controller vibrates to the beat, in an attempt to achieve synesthesia. It's an interesting idea, but all it could achieve was hurting my hand lol (seriously what's up with this controller, it vibrates so hard). Sometimes enemies drop these blue and red orbs you can target and pick up, blue is basically XP, when you collect enough you level up, but just one hit takes down an entire level so you gotta be fast, and the red ones are for the overdrive attack, where you auto target the enemies and just spam lasers. I love how ridiculously simple the controls are, there are only 3 buttons you can use lol, left stick for aiming, X for laser and O overdrive, that's it lmao. Every level ends with a boss fight, they are all really unique but they can be really hard. If you continue playing after completing a level you can keep all your experience, but quitting means you lose all of it and that makes the game really hard. I should talk about the story too, which really doesn't come up until the last level. There is this supercomputer with an AI which gains consciousness then shuts itself down. You are trying to hack into the system to restart it, and your avatar goes through these viruses and security systems to reach the AI. The last level is really different, instead of the ancient buildings and city like cyberspace it's all nature themed, and you are going through the phases of creation and life. After the usual layers you have to fight the previous bosses again, but it's not that hard this time - unlike the final boss where you are trying to restart the AI, it's fucking brutal. I couldn't do it but turned out failing is also an ending, knowing myself there is no way I could get the good ending so I just accepted it. Still it was an incredible visual experience, I'm really liking these artistic games the PlayStation 2 has to offer.
Monster Attack (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Sandlot

Publisher: Agetec

Released: 2004

Genre: Third-person shooter
Monster Attack
Aka the first Earth Defense Force game. Earth Defense Force 2025 is the reason I started using my Xbox 360 again. I was watching videos on a gaming channel and they played that game and I loved it so much, I found out it's also on the console so I had to get a DVD. Now I'm still playing that game years later, because it's not something I would play every day for an hour, just when I'm bored and want some mindless fun, and also because I want to play with all the classes first before I feel like I'm done with it. This is the game I used to test OPL when I got my PlayStation 2, then I decided might as well just play through it cause it's only 25 missions. It's hilarious how little changed since this game though, I mean it's simple as fuck (it's part of the Simple Series after all lol) but you are still killing giant ants and UFOs (in cheap looking green and purple colors lol) and picking up armor, weapons and health (they are like JPG sprites lol), and even have some of the same weapons and sounds lmao. The music is pretty cool 50s sci fi inspired and there is also a letterbox to add to that movie feeling, but there is no radio chatter in this so it feels emptier. You got the same destruction where you can destroy any building so that's impressive, but the framerate drops and slowdowns can be so bad. There is only one class in this one (the soldier) but almost every map has vehicles you can drive too, like tanks and helicopters (which somehow don't have crosshairs so they are kinda useless). But the default controls are so fucking bad holy shit, thank god you can change it to modern controls but I just don't understand why they would use something similar to mid 90s 3D game controls as the default. The missions are very basic and simple, of course almost always your goal is to kill every enemy to complete them, and some of them were almost the same as in Earth Defense Force 2025 lmao, like when you are at the beach or in a destroyed city and killing waves of ants. I love how ridiculous the boss fights are too, you are fighting fucking Godzilla lmao, then next time there are two Godzillas, then a fucking armored mega Godzilla lol. Of course the final boss is a mothership. I swear they just keep remaking the same game with some changes and more missions. But is that a bad thing? Not for a small and fun budget game like this. Cause it's just mindless, dumb fun and a perfect timewaster, and that's all that matters. I just wish half of every mission wouldn't be about collecting pickups, cause it takes ages to run around the map. 2021/04/19
Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Xbox)

Developer: Criterion Games

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Released: 2003

Genre: Racing
Burnout 2: Point
of Impact
Now this is how you make a sequel. Not only they improved everything and added more stuff, they also perfected the concept of the first game. The game starts with Offensive Driving 101, which basically the turorial you need to finish before you can do anything. Some of the new stuff you can already see in the tutorial: you earn medals now (bronze, silver, gold) and have more ways to earn boost (jumps, perfect laps without crashes). The Championship mode works a bit differently now, instead of required places you earn medals and points after every race, so in theory you don't have to win all of them, you just gotta make sure to have the most points in the end. It still looks like the first game, but they improved the graphics and there are more things happening on the map (like planes flying on the airport track). Also the race tracks feel less generic now and more unique, the first game was more European based, but this takes place on the US West Coast, with deserts, mountains, ski resorts, a huge dam and of course Californian cities. The music is a lot better, more rock themed and guitar heavy, and it gets louder and heavier when you boost. There are still no car brands just generic models, but there are a lot more of them with some cooler skins. They also have 3 stats now (acceleration, control, top speed) instead of just how difficult it is to drive them (my favorite was the Supercar, it had the most balanced stats). You unlock more cars with the Face/Off mode and a new mode called Pursuit, where you are a cop and you need to crash into the other vehicle to lower its health bar and destroy it (this one was really hard because the AI is cheating like crazy). The difference is these new modes are integrated into the Championship mode, and you unlock them by earning gold medals in all races. Once you finish these modes there you unlock them separately and you can play them on any of the tracks you finished (there is also a Time Attack mode, which I forgot to mention was in the previous game too, where you drive alone and are just trying to beat the time limit, I didn't care for it). You still race with only 3 other cars, but they improved the driving a lot. It just feels so much better and faster with more opportunities to boost, jump and drift, and it's easier to avoid crashes as you don't crash from bumping into cars. Sometimes it gets really chaotic when you chain your boosts together but it's just so much fun lol. It feels like there are less checkpoints with more time between them, and you can see how many seconds the next car is ahead or behind you when you drive through it, that was a really helpful addition. Beating the Championship mode unlocks the Custom Championship, where I guess you race with the unlocked faster cars on mostly reversed tracks against the traffic, so it should be harder (honestly I got gold medals on most of the races first try, I don't know if I have some hidden talent for these kind of games or if it's just that easy). One thing that didn't make sense to me in the first game was how you earn money for crashes when they should be avoided. This is the best change in the game, they added a new Crash mode where your goal is to cause huge crashes with multiple vehicles. They only take like a minute and you need at least a bronze medal to complete them and unlock the next couple ones. Crashes look more detailed now and it can be really fun to see a shitton of cars and buses crash into each other when you cause an accident. The multiplayer also includes this, along with the Pursuit mode. As always the Xbox version is the best with more skins and twice as many crashes you can complete. I feel like they perfected the formula introduced in the first game, the next one looks really different from what I've seen so I expect big changes there.
The Saboteur (Xbox 360)

Developer: Pandemic Studios

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: 2009

Genre: Action-adventure
The Saboteur
The last game made by Pandemic Studios. They made my favorite game of all time (Star Wars: Battlefront) so I always liked them. I remember one of my cousin's relative told me he is playing this game and it's so cool so I installed it on PC. I don't think I played it much, I remember doing the race at the beginning and some missions but it felt so boring and uninteresting to me. I'm not sure if I would have played it now if it didn't come with my Xbox 360 when I bought it. You are playing an Irish racer called Sean, who finds himself trapped in Paris when the war breaks out after the Aryan posterboy nazi racer wins by cheating and kills your friend. You join the resistance to have revenge on him after a long as fuck prologue. This game is basically Assassin's Creed in WW2 lol, you can climb up to the top of the buildings and jump from roof to roof, or slide down. As you can guess most of the game is sabotaging and bombing stuff. You can destroy so many things, propaganda radios, sniper towers, fuel depots, tanks, zeppelins etc. and they don't respawn. You get contraband for it, and that's basically the money in this game, you can find them in crates too, or when you find postcards or the eagle tower equivalent of this game lol. You can use them to buy new weapons, ammo, cars or upgrades from the black market. You can also spawn partisans to help you fight nazis. You can only carry two guns and two explosives, you can choose from snipers, pistols, machine guns, shotguns etc., later you get some really powerful ones from the terror nazis (those fuckers are tough). The gunplay is alright, but there is not much weight to it, just like to melee combat, jumping and climbing, or driving, it felt really weird. Most of the time you need to use stealth to complete missions or to make them easier, because once the nazis are alerted they swarm you and can fuck you up easily, luckily your health regenerates. You can wear nazi uniforms so that was cool, but they can still recognize you if you go too close so most of the times you can only rely on stealth for the first half of the missions. There are perks you can unlock, they all have requirements and they either improve your stats, unlock new attacks or weapons, and cars. For example sniping was awful but unlocking a perk by sniping a few nazis reduces the recoil. It's kinda like Grand Theft Auto in a way, sometimes you have more than one mission to choose from, and there are also secondary missions. They are mostly the same as you usually sabotage something or assassinate someone, but the locations are cool so it doesn't feel always the same. You can go outside of Paris to villages, but they are supposed to be other French regions lol. And there are some side activities you can do like bird hunting, or racing. What makes this game really unique is the visuals: the world is in black and white with dark clouds and only a few colors like red (representing the nazis), blue (the partisans) and yellow for the light. It looked awesome and combined with the jazz music it gives a game a special athmosphere. As you progress through the missions and blow up something big you liberate areas (well sort of, they still have nazis) and the color returns to that place with an explosion and a clear sky, representing how hope returns, it was really cool. The final mission is basically a huge uprising in Paris, with fighting and destroyed zeppelins and vehicles everywhere, and you get ready for the ultimate battle on the top of the Eiffel Tower, but you just walk there and kill the main villian with a headshot, normally I would say it's really underwhelming but it felt satisfying here, it was very cinematic. The game was a bit short, and I guess all those things you can blow up are there to extend the gameplay but there is really not much of a reason to destroy them other than a few ones when you run out of contrabands. And the game is kinda glitchy and felt unfinished and a bit empty, and I'm pretty sure it's because Pandemic Studios closed a few months before the game was released. Seriously fuck EA for killing them. 2021/04/10

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