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Captain Buttbeard's Gaming Corner



Currently playing
Xbox: Phantom Crash; Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War
Xbox 360: Earth Defense Force 2025

Infinite Undiscovery (Xbox 360)

Developer: Tri-Ace

Publisher: Square Enix

Released: 2008

Genre: Action role-playing
Infinite Undiscovery

2021/01/24
Run Like Hell (Xbox)

Developer: Digital Mayhem

Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

Released: 2003

Genre: Third-person shooter
Run Like Hell

2021/01/09
Red Faction II (Xbox)

Developer: Volition

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2003

Genre: First-person shooter
Red Faction II

2020/12/24
Red Faction (PC)

Developer: Volition

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2001

Genre: First-person shooter
Red Faction
The first time I've heard of this game was in the magazine I bought, which praised its engine for the destructible environments. You can dig tunnels with your explosives which is just awesome. Because this game didn't come out on the Xbox I played it on PC. This is the first game I've played on it in years that wasn't some kind of strategy game and I wasn't ready for its effects. I'm not kidding, after just a few minutes I was dizzy as fuck and had a brutal headache. It's just so much different with a mouse it's unbelievable. Lowering the mouse sensitivity to almost minimum helped a lot so I could continue playing. The game takes place on Mars, where you are a miner working for the Ultor Corporation, but because of the working conditions a rebellion breaks out, lead by a group called Red Faction. By accident, you become one of the most important part of this uprising, aided by the leader Eos and an Ultor worker called Hendrix who helps you on radio. The story is obviously inspired by Total Recall, which is an awesome movie (I'm talking about the original one). The graphics look good, but I used a fan patch because the game has some pretty bad game-breaking bugs, which I'm pretty sure improves it the visuals too. It's kind of an old school FPS, and you can tell that by the level design, it was really confusing to me. There are so many places you can go with so many different routes that I constantly found myself lost. A lot of times I wasn't even sure where to go and what to do and that just made things worse. Also I'm not sure if there are any traditional levels, the game loads a bit between sections but you can go back most of the time so it all felt connected. At first I didn't even realize I already beat 1/4 of the game because I thought I was still on the first level lmao. They are mostly tunnels or facilities, it feels kinda samey, but there is a space station level too. And it's not always just shooting, there are some stealth section where you have to keep your distance from the guards but it didn't really work well in a game like this. Also you can use vehicles, like submarines, little flying vehicles etc., those were alright. There are a lot of weapons, mostly I just used machine guns, but some weapons have a secondary fire function. At first you fight security guards, but then you have to deal with monsters, zombies and mercenaries, and those can fuck you up pretty badly with their one shot and kill weapons. Even though the game is most famous for its destructible environments, I think it's really underutilized. There is only a couple of times when the game asks you to blow a hole somewhere to advance, most of the time there is no reason to dig tunnels and shit like that. Also, most of the buildings and walls are indestructible, and that just makes it feel less impressive. I really loved the music though, it felt so weird and cool, mostly 80s and 90s action and sci fi inspired with a lot of synth. I think this is the only game I've played where the last boss was a bomb you have to disarm lmao, too bad it was a nightmare because the sequence was random and you had to figure out every time before the time expires. I don't even know how many times I tried it before I could finally disarm it. So I don't know, I guess it wasn't a bad game but I expected more. Maybe I will find the sequels more enjoyable.
2020/12/16
Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360)

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Released: 2009

Genre: Third-person shooter
Resident Evil 5
This is the first Resident Evil game I've played, but of course I heard of the series and I was familiar with some characters, like Wesker, Chris or Jill. I did see that shitty movie with Milla Jovovich though but I don't really remember anything from it and I'm pretty sure it isn't really based on the games, at least not the first one. I was worried that I will have no idea what's going on without playing the previous games, but the game has a pretty long history file you can read and I also watched videos of the stories of each game so I felt like I was good to go. The story with these viruses and zombies felt dumb at first lol but I enjoyed how over the top was it. In this game Chris Redfield travels to Africa to investigate a bioterrorist threat and a really hot black chick called Sheva Alomar joins him. He also tries to find out what happened to his former partner Jill Valentine. The gameplay is similar to the previous game, so basically you can't aim or use your weapons while you are moving. I often heard Resident Evil 4 revolutionized the genre, which I really don't understand because to me that felt really outdated even when that game came out, but for a horror game I think it works really well. Still, I was worried how I'm gonna like this gameplay. And honestly I really hated it, it was insanely hard for me. I kept dying over and over again, enemies just overwhelmed me, I couldn't manage my inventory. I had to lower the difficulty to easy and restart it because I couldn't even pass the first level. It was still really hard for me, but somehow I managed to finish the first level. I was seriously thinking about just dropping the game but for some reason I kept playing and I started to really enjoy it. Looking back to it, the problem was I was trying to play it like any other third-person shooter, which easily gets you killed. I didn't try to run around and use the enviroment, I didn't try to explore the area and I kept firing my gun and not using melee attacks so I kept running out of bullets. Also the first mission really just throws you right into action and honestly felt like the hardest one lol. You go from African towns to marshlands, mines, tribal villages, secret bases, a ship and to a fucking volcano fuck yeah lmao. You have your usual turret sections and a lot of quick time events, and those can happen during cutscenes too, a few of them require to bash the living shit out of your buttons so better get ready lmao. By the way those cutscenes are pretty cool and felt movie like. There are a lot of different enemy types, from weak to strong. You don't have a lot of bullets so gotta use those special attacks and your knife a lot too. The inventory only has 9 spaces, that includes everything from weapons to ammos, healing items, grenades etc., so it can be hard to manage stuff and make it easy to run out of things, but as long as you explore everything that shouldn't happen often. You can also manage your inventory before loading the game, you can sell and buy stuff so that can be helpful. Weapons can also be upgraded from the money you collect. You can also use your partner's inventory to store stuff. I remember people saying her AI sucks but I didn't have any problems with her and I thought she was smart, she healed when I wanted to and was good at killing enemies, sometimes she was too close to bosses though. The game was designed with co-op in mind for sure, sometimes you separate and go on different routes, and do a lot of shit together like opening doors, or my favorite in the mines where she lights the way and you do the killing, so I'm sure it's fun to play with someone. There is no jump, you either just walk or run, everything else is done by a button that pops up when you can jump, climb, dodge, punch etc. There are a lot of puzzle solving too, most of them aren't that hard to do. Most boss battles feel different and unique, and can be really over the top like when you kill a giant tentacle monster with a fucking satellite laser cannon lmao, or fight the last boss in a fucking volcano, where you also have to beat the shit out of a giant rock. As for collectibles, you can find BSAA emblems hidden and you need to shoot them, some of them are tricky to do. You earn points and you can unlock new stuff, like action figures (lol), new costumes, or filters. The game also has a lot of achievements, I don't really try to unlock them but in this game they just kept popping up for me lol for so many stuff. After you beat the game you can play Mercenaries, which is basically survivor mode, I didn't really care for it. Overall I had a lot of fun with this game, I know a lot of people complain that it's not a horror game anymore just an action game, but that's even better for me lol. I don't think I'm gonna play the sequels though, I feel like the story of the series ended perfectly here.  2020/12/13
Rainbow Six 3 (Xbox)

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Released: 2003

Genre: Tactical shooter
Rainbow Six 3
This is another tactical shooter series I've heard of which I didn't want to play because I never played the previous games, but I don't think they are connected so whatever. Unlike Ghost Recon this isn't a military focused one, it's about counter-terrorism, defusing bombs and rescuing hostages. It actually reminded me of the demo of SWAT 3 which I played ages ago, but I was just doing dumb shit in that without understanding really how to play it. The story is about a US oil embargo (how the fuck would that ever happen?) with only Venezuela supplying them oil, and terrorists really don't like that - of course the story takes some interesting turns. It's the same take it slow and plan your moves kind of gameplay like in Ghost Recon so I really liked it. But in here you aren't in huge open fields, most of the time you are navigating through narrow streets and corridors, clearing out rooms and stuff, so the game is harder but you can save 3 times during a mission, and that makes up for it cause you are gonna die a lot until you memorize enemy placements. You have plenty of guns and grenades you can choose from before missions, but I always went with the recommended ones. You also have 3 teammates whose equipment you can't change and you can't take control over them. In some missions only one of them will be with you, but there are missions when you are alone. They are always the same members, so even if one of them dies he will be there again in the next one. You can give them orders, to hold or to follow you, or secure a hostage, defuse a bomb or open a door and throw grenades, and you can also give the order and tell them to execute it later, if you want to breach a room at the same time from different doors so that's pretty cool. Sometimes it takes a while for them to do something though because they keep positioning themselves in front of a door so the AI isn't perfect, and they aren't that effective as in Ghost Recon. They also make some funny comments sometimes and that gives them a little personality. Most missions are about killing terrorists, defusing bombs and securing hostages and that can be boring after a while, though there are some stealth sections where you can't be noticed. The gameplay is usually really slow but there are times when you have to chase a target or defuse a bomb in time and that's gonna be really hard to do when there are terrorists everywhere and they can kill you with a few hits. Most places you go are pretty generic but there are some cool ones like the Alcatraz level, which has the same fucking shower shootout like in that Michael Bay movie lmao. Because this is a console specific version, the crosshair is a pretty big red circle as long as you aren't moving, and that makes aiming a lot easier. So yeah it was pretty good and now I'm really thinking about playing those Rainbow Six games too that are on the Xbox 360.
2020/12/12
Kung Fu Chaos (Xbox)

Developer: Just Add Monsters

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2003

Genre: Fighting, party
Kung Fu Chaos
This is another party game just like Whacked!, but I was looking forward more to play this because I've heard good things about it. It has this kung fu movie set theme which is a pretty cool concept, you select a character and try to "act" through these crazy scenes. Unlike Whacked!, which just had the normal levels and game modes you would have when you are playing with somebody, this game has a proper campaign. But fucking hell how much I hated this shit, it was extremely hard for me to pass the levels. You get the usual minigames which were ok (there is one which is pretty much just Pac-Man lol) but there are these levels where you have to fight your way through waves of ninjas and then kill a boss at the end, and these are the absolute worst: because of the fucking overwhelming enemies everywhere I can barely move and it's hard to do any combos, and the only way you pass a level is if you score at least 3 stars out of 5, and if you don't kill enough ninjas in time (which you won't because those fuckers block everything) you have to start it again. I think I only scored 4 stars once in one of the minigames, but if you actually want to finish the campaign you have to score 4 stars in EVERY SINGLE MISSION to unlock the second to last level, and then score 5 stars in that level to complete it so fuck that shit, I didn't even bother to watch it on YouTube. And then there is the the Championship game mode which is basically the party game part, where you fight and complete minigames with 4 other players or bots, but I just didn't care at this point. There is also a Miniseries mode which I couldn't unlock so I have no idea what it's supposed to be. I guess Championship can be fun if you have friends to play with, but honestly I would rather play anything else, these stupid fucking party games aren't for me and I doubt I will play one ever again. 2020/12/05
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (Xbox 360)

Developer: Rockstar North

Publisher: Rockstar Games

Released: 2009

Genre: Action-adventure
Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City
I've been a huge fan of the Grand Theft Auto games since I played the third one (I played one of the first two games, I don't remember which one but I didn't care for that 2D world). The huge open world with the dark atmosphere was something I've never seen in a game before that, and I still believe it's one of the most influential games of all time. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was alright too, adding motorbikes and proper flying vehicles was awesome but that 80s world wasn't my thing. Then came Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, with a gigantic world that wasn't just one city, and with so many new things that it's got to be the best in the series (I'm not sure which one is my favorite, either this or the third game). So of course I was really excited for Grand Theft Auto IV, but... it kinda sucked. It's by far my least favorite, and honestly I can barely remember anything from it, other than that fucking cousin calling you all the time for bowling and that you can fuck bitches from the dating websites, but I can't remember anything about the story and characters. The driving fucking sucked that one I remember clearly, and I thought the city was a huge step down after the huge open world of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The TV shows were fucking cool though, I remember the Republican Space Ranger show or whatever it's called, that was funny. This one is a collection of the two expansion packs released for the game called The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. It came with my Xbox 360 so I tried to play it before Grand Theft Auto V came out (which I also really liked, it sucks how they are focusing on the shitty online play and just milking the game to death instead of making a new one, seriously the 8th generation is so fucking terrible, I can't even think of more than five games I would like to play) because I heard some characters will show up, but it was so boring and the driving and shooting fucking sucked so I stopped. But because it was still installed I just decided to finish it before I uninstall the game and never touch it again lol. The Lost and Damned is about a motorbike gang, you are playing as Johnny who was managing the gang while the boss was in jail, but he is fucking crazy and he is ruining all the work you've done. The story and missions didn't feel coherent enough to me, like they were random and didn't really have that much connection and with no real leadup to the end of the game. I guess they were going for something serious, you even have a noise filter just to show how serious it is lol. I didn't really enjoy it and I was just forcing myself through it. As much as the driving sucked at least the guy didn't really fall off the bike so that's something. I think it added new songs and TV shows too (well both expansions), new weapons, minigames, races, and gang wars you can do. Johnny and the gang are the ones who showed up in Grand Theft Auto V by the way. The Ballad of Gay Tony I actually really liked. While The Lost and Damned was basically just new missions, this one adds ratings after every mission, so you can later try to go for a better score if you feel like, and see what things you need for a perfect score (time, damage, or some cool stuff you can do). You are playing as Luis, who is a business partner to a nightclub owner called Gay Tony, he is in a lot of debt to the mob and you are trying to get out of the situation. This one was funnier and more coherent, with a better story and characters, and the missions had more variety. Of course it has new weapons (that fucking golden SMG you get was the best weapon lol) and minigames too like golfing, and side activities like drug wars, club management, parachuting, triathlons or a fight club (fuck this one seriously, it was so hard to complete). Both these story lines are connected to the main game, I don't remember if they were in that game or just got shoehorned into some missions later but it's a pretty good idea. The end credits (which was insanely long) also shows what these new characters were doing during some missions of the main game, like driving around in the distance lol. Both these expansions are much shorter by the way, but I would recommend The Ballad of Gay Tony, I'm pretty sure it's better and more memorable than the main story.
2020/11/24
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (Xbox)

Developer: The Collective

Publisher: LucasArts

Released: 2003

Genre: Action-adventure
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
So of course I liked the Indiana Jones movies and heard of this game from the magazine I bought. I thought it looked cool but without internet and money at that time I couldn't get it. Before I play games I try to read the back cover and the manual (if I can find one) and this game has the coolest one I've ever seen, like you are reading Indy's notebook, it's really clever and I miss when games had manuals. The game feels like an Indiana Jones movie, the story is alright, you are hired to collect artifacts all around the world that will help you find a powerful magical pearl inside the tomb of the first Chinese emperor. Of course you have the usual stuff too, nazis, magic, traps and local bad guys (I think one level takes place in that club from Temple of Doom). The classic music also helps to make you feel like you are in the movie. And some of the locations too, you go to places like Sri Lanka, Prague, Istanbul, Hong Kong etc., and they all look pretty good and have different kind of enemies. It's a fun little adventure game but it's really clunky. The gameplay is mostly platforming, melee combat and shooting (there aren't that many bullets so you can't just empty a magazine into an enemy). The controls seem a bit complicated, the button layout is downright retarded. Jumping is weird, it feels like you jump too much or won't grab the ledge so it can be hard to tell if you can make it. You can use your whip too in some places, but that was pretty buggy, when you have to whip like 2 or 3 times in a row sometimes the game won't register it, or even the first one when you aren't facing it perfectly straight. You can restore your health with drinking water from your flask, and you can refill it in fountains, I thought it's pretty clever for an Indy game. Traps are another annoying thing, they can be hard to avoid due to the shitty controls. Targeting sucks too, you can switch to a first person mode to aim but then you can't move, and the auto aim goes after it's own mind sometimes instead of aiming at the enemy in front of me. The puzzles are all pretty good though, but they aren't really hard to solve, I had more trouble with figuring out how the controls work in some cases. There is of course the usual on rails car shooting level which is different than the rest of the game, but it was ok. I think there is a boss battle at the end of every location, they aren't that hard (except when you are running away from the nazi bulldozer) and you can quickly figure out what to do. The collectibles are these hidden artifacts you can find on some levels (3 per chapters), I managed to find all of them and they unlock a gallery with concept art. It's a pretty long game, and it starts to drag towards the middle with the nazi base and shit, these levels are pretty uninspired and aren't that good as the historic locations. Towards the end you get supernatural enemies and weapons too, and the game gets really hard due to shitty game mechanics and bugs. I kept falling to death or had the whipping issue and sometimes I just couldn't see shit because of the awful camera, and it just became a frustrating mess and it took me more than an hour to beat a fucking level. Still, even with all the glitches and bugs it was a fun adventure game.
2020/11/22
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (Xbox 360)

Developer: Gaijin Entertainment

Publisher: 505 Games

Released: 2009

Genre: Combat flight simulator
IL-2
Sturmovik: Birds of Prey
Normally I would have never played this game, but it came with my Xbox 360 and I played it a little bit at that time as a time waster. I remember I couldn't really see shit and I struggled with the controls a lot, so it was really hard to shoot down planes and I died a lot. Also the music, for some reason I remembered the entire theme, I have no idea why because it isn't even that good lol. Honestly I couldn't even remember if I finished it or not so I installed it to see and I barely played a couple missions lol which was weird because it felt like I played this a lot. But I have an idea why: a few years later the developers made a game that I played a lot called War Thunder, which I'm sure most people have heard of. And as I was playing this I realized it's the same exact fucking game. I'm pretty sure those fucking Russkies just reused every asset they could and made a multiplayer game out of it. I know it's unfair to compare it to a game that came out later, but that's what I felt the entire time, that I'm just playing a single player War Thunder. There isn't a coherent campaign here, you get a few missions in different places, like Britain, Stalingrad, Sicily, Berlin etc., all with different pilots. They are pretty basic, shoot down planes, cover bombers, destroy ground units, stuff like that. The controls aren't as bad as I remembered, it was easier this time, but it still pretty hard to aim and destroy planes, mostly because the targeting icon and crosses and so fucking tiny, and some planes just blend into the background. Also sometimes you have to fly to the other side of the map and it can take a ridiculously long time. Sometimes there are secondary objectives, like helping out allies, or landing to save a crashed pilot, but most of the time you get the objective when you complete the mission, which basically is flying back to the base lmao, typical lazy Russians. The last missions were so typically Russian too, basically you are bombing the shit out of Berlin and the Reichstag lol. Honestly the gameplay wasn't that bad, just nothing interesting about it and it's pretty boring and repetitive. I thought the game was ridiculously short until I realized there are single missions you unlock after completing their campaign equivalents, and there is a lot of them. Most of the time they are just a few minutes long (sometimes just a minute), with the same shit again (destroying planes and ground units, or covering bombers), but there are some stupid filler shit too like flying to somewhere, or landing at air bases. A few of them were alright, mostly the ones with massive dogfights, but like two bomber covering missions were so fucking hard, it took me forever to complete them. These missions really didn't add anything to the game, just made everything more boring and repetitive, I'm pretty sure they just added them to extend the gametime with a bunch of ridiculously simple missions that require no effort to make. I'm just glad I finished it and I never have to play it again. 2020/11/04
Panzer Dragoon Orta (Xbox)

Developer: Smilebit

Publisher: Sega

Released: 2003

Genre: Rail shooter
Panzer Dragoon Orta
This game is part of the big 3 Sega games that were released exclusively for the Xbox. I've tried to play GunValkyrie, but fucking hell that game has the worst controls I've ever seen seriously. It's not that it's hard, it's downright impossible to use unless you are some hyper focused hardcore gamer, I couldn't even get past the third level so I just dropped it. And of course there is Jet Set Radio Future, which is the most liked I guess, but I just don't understand the appeal of it, it's just a cartoony skating game. Maybe one day I will check it out but right now I don't care for it. And there is this game. Honestly I've never wanted to check this out because I thought ugh, why would I want to play a rail shooter lmao. But after suffering through Turok: Evolution, I thought you know what, these flying levels could be really enjoyable if they are done right in a better game, so here I am. I didn't really know anything about the series other than the genre and that you are flying with a dragon. When I was reading the manual I thought the lore seems pretty interesting, and I was right, it's my favorite type of fantasy: nomadic people living in the ruins of an ancient advanced civilization, a new empire emerges when they figure out how to use the technology left behind and you must defeat them. I love how they made up a language for the game (sounds like a mix of Latin and Japanese?), it shows how much they cared for the game. The game still looks great, and the CGI in the cutscenes too (the girl is really cute). The cutie is called Orta, who is imprisoned by this new empire when a dragon saves you and you discover the world and learn who you really are while you fuck up the empire. The world is beautiful and diverse, you can be flying above deserts, snowy mountains, forests and waterfalls, or inside a ship or even a computer, everything looks gorgeous. I must say though the controls were really hard to get used to, because I always use reverse controls in flying games, but here you are mostly just aiming, but when I looked to one of my sides or behind me then my brain expected normal controls so I just changed it back. The game is really hard because it requires quick reaction times which I absolutely lack. It took me forever to kill the first boss and then I just constantly died on the second level so I lowered the difficulty to easy. It was still a bit hard for me but the impossible became just challenging (yeah I suck whatever lol). You have one weapon with two different firing modes, normal laser and homing laser, you want to lock onto as many targets as possible and use homing laser, and only use your normal one on missiles and such. Your dragon has 3 forms, Base Wing which can lock onto a lot of targets and can speed up or slow down, and has a special attack which fires a lot of lasers (you are invincible during special attacks), Heavy Wing which is slower and can only lock onto a few targets but your weapon is more powerful with a really powerful special attack, and Glide Wing which is a smaller and faster dragon that can fire a lot of lasers but can't lock onto anything, it's only good if you need to evade something or get spammed by enemies or missiles, and it's special attack can restore a little bit of your health. Defeating some enemies will give you genes which levels up your form, you can quickly change before you collect the gene to make sure all your forms are leveld up, you can't really learn anything new it just makes you stronger. Usually missions end with a boss fight (but there are minibosses too sometimes), you need to figure out the pattern, what to evade, which form is better to use, where to shoot etc. and you can fly around the boss to find weak spots to defeat them. There are a lot of unlockables, and not just concept art and shit like that, but a lot of bonus missions. There is a mini campaign of a young imperial boy whose father you kill, and he joins the military academy because he wants to kill the dragon, but then the story takes some interesting turns. I liked it but it was so fucking hard to control. There are some other separate missions (five I think), I only unlocked three, the last two was about riding on a cute little dragon lol. And there is the original Panzer Dragoon, which I played a bit until I realized you can't save the game. Also even the unlockables menu has some really unique visuals, like when you are on that mission inside the computer. This is truly one of the most unique and interesting games I've ever played and I'm glad I experienced it.
2020/10/31
Kameo: Elements of Power (Xbox 360)

Developer: Rare

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2005

Genre: Action-adventure
Kameo: Elements of
Power
This was a launch title for the Xbox 360, and this was probably the most interesting game from that lineup. I didn't really remember much about it, but looking at the old magazines I have I'm sure I read about it. This game had a long development, I still have the box of my Xbox and it has a picture of the game on it. It's a beautiful and colorful game, and I would say it still looks incredible, but that's probably because of the art style, which is really charming. You play as Kameo, a little elf (who looks like a fairy) who is the heir to the throne, but her evil sister frees the evil troll king, captures most of your family and knocks the Elemental Warriors out of you. The game just throws you right into action without explaining anything, invading the troll king's castle when you still have some of the warriors, which is really weird, especially how after that level you get a tutorial, I don't know what they were thinking. It was really hard to figure out what to do, but the book you have constantly gives you tips so that helps. Also the controls aren't the best, they felt pretty weird and outdated, like they weren't sure what to do with the new controller. So Kameo can tranform into Elemental Warriors, who are basically monsters with different abilities. Most of the game is about finding them and defeating the Shadow Trolls who captured them (which are pretty much mini boss fights, but they are really easy to kill), or the bosses who have your family members and then they give you one after you freed them. Kameo can't do much so most of the time you are gonna be one of the Elemental Warriors to fight, solve puzzles or kill bosses. Most of them wouldn't be hard to do but the clunky controls really make things difficult. Sometimes you have to tranform quickly from one monster to another which was pretty cool. There are 10 of them and you slowly collect them all by the end, but I must say a couple of them felt pretty useless, you know they only exist to solve a few puzzles on a level and then never use them again. You can collect fruits to upgrade their abilities, they are either hidden somewhere or rewarded by NPCs after helping them, or you can buy them at shops. There are also elixirs you can find or buy, they increase your maximum health. And there are 4 spheres you can find and you can equip one, they all have positive and negative effects, like one increases your attack but decreases your defense, or one that regenerates your health but decreases your energy (this one is the best). The world is really beautiful, like a living fairytale. There is the floating castle in the sky, and different places like a forest region, a water region, an ice region and a fire region. They are connected by the Badlands, where a giant battle takes place. I'm sure it was really impressive in 2005 to see what the next gen is capable of, and honestly it still is: hundreds of trolls and elves fighting without any lag or framerate issues, it was so awesome. There are moments when you have to help out, by defeating tanks, ships or airships, it's so cool. The world sometimes feels really empty though, you can talk to NPCs but they will just say a line and move on, that was really disappointing. Despite its faults it's still a lovable game with a lot of soul, it's a shame the sequel never happened. 2020/10/27
Crimson Sea (Xbox)

Developer: Koei

Publisher: Koei

Released: 2002

Genre: Third-person shooter, Hack and slash, Action adventure, RPG
Crimson Sea
I had no idea this game exists until I found it in one of those recommended Xbox games lists. Looked up some gameplay and it looked interesting, and I found a review in the local magazine giving it a 9 so I said why not. You are playing as this guy named Sho, who works as some private detective I think, with a little girl lmao. Then this titty monster blonde woman called Live-D hires you to find something, then basically tricks you into joining this space organization that kills these mutant bugs that can genocide entire planets. You meet new people who join your squad, of course one of them is a love interest and it turns out you are some kind of chosen one. It's corny as fuck with wacky characters, and so typically Japanese with messages like friendship and love is the most important thing, sometimes it felt like it was made for little kids lol but I loved how quirky it was. Not only the game looks good, but the music is awesome, seriously it's one of the best game soundtracks I've heard, it felt like something from a sci-fi movie. You have a melee weapon which can transform into a gun, and you are fighting these mutant bugs, usually hordes of them, it's really fun to just shoot and hack through dozens of enemies. Weapons have 3 parts and they are all customizable, from what type of gun you have (pistol, machine gun, grenade launcher etc.) to what effect or buff they have. You can buy these between missions on the battleship you are on, and that's where you can learn new sounds. Yes sounds, waveforms are the magic in this game... lol. They are usually basic, like a huge blast around you, healing, shield, stuff like that. Your "mana" doesn't regenerate, you collect it from the enemies you killed. Missions are usually short and suprisingly varied, I expected all of them to be something like Earth Defense Force where your goal is to kill all enemies and that's it, but instead you are going from planet to planet, sometimes with your squad or sometimes just alone, escorting or chasing someone, finding invisible or disguised enemies, collecting waveforms, and most of the time with a boss battle at the end. It's hard to follow what's going on sometimes because everything has a weird name, but the keyword glossary and the little girl's diary can be really helpful (and you can find out stuff like she is a lesbian who is in love with your strong woman squadmate lmao wtf). It all sounds great but there is a huge, huge problem with this game: the controls. Seriously, there is just no excuse for tank controls on a console that has 2 analoge sticks, especially in a game like this with shitton of enemies everywhere. I almost dropped the game after the tutorial it was so bad, but it's not just that, the camera is so fucking awful it made me ridiculously motion sick, I felt dizzy and had a brutal headache after just 30 minutes of playtime. But there was something about this game and I played it again, slowly getting used to the controls and had an easier time by dashing and strafing, but it was still really hard to fight. And honestly I loved this game, even with the constant headaches I played it twice a day, and that never happens. It's really underrated and fun with a lot of soul.
2020/10/20
Assassin's Creed II (Xbox 360)

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Released: 2009

Genre: Action-adventure, stealth
Assassin's Creed II
I played the first game when it came out, I was really excited for it and I loved the setting and the story but it honestly has one of the most boring and repetitive gameplay I've ever seen and I just stopped playing around the Jerusalem level because I couldn't force myself through it anymore. I rewatched the game on YouTube a few months ago because always wanted to play this one. And holy shit, it's so fucking good. The story takes place in Renaissance Italy this time, which is also a cool setting imo. The main character in the modern timeline is still Desmond, but in the Animus we are playing through the memories of his ancestor Ezio, who learns his family was part of the Assassin's after they are killed, and decides to take revenge on the conspirators responsible for their death. The story is really good, and I loved how they used historical characters (also that wtf ending wow). Finally missions feel different, unlike in the first game where you are doing the same tasks over and over again. The gameplay is still the same, but vastly improved without all the repetitiveness of the first one. The focus is still on stealth, jumping and running on the top of buildings, exploration. You can hire different kind of NPCs to help you distracting or fighting the enemy, which is really useful in some situations. The combat is better too, with more weapon types, and you can buy different ones too with better stats, the same goes for armors. It's still not perfect though, sometimes it felt too much, especially when you had to fight multiple enemies around you. You have your own town and villa you can improve: adding new buildings or upgrading current ones, buying art, weapons and armor, and finding collectibles will increase the value, the more it is the more money you get. There are a couple of different locations, big cities such as Florence and Venice, and a couple smaller ones with countrysides. You unlock more of the map by climbing up to tall buildings and then using Eagle Vision, and jumping down is always fun. There are a lot of side missions (races, assassinations, letters, beating up cheating husbands lmao) and hidden stuff you can find. While I usually try to do side missions, I don't really bother that much with collectibles, but this game was so much fun I felt compelled to do almost everything, that's how invested I was in the game. There are these glyphs you can find, which have puzzles you need to solve to unlock short videos, and when you unlock all of them you can view the entire video, which is another wtf moment. And then there are the catacombs, which are more about platforming and trying to find the hidden treasure. Collecting all six will give you Altaïr's armor, which is the best one because you don't have to repair it. There are also codex pages, they increase your health and give you new weapons, but collecting them all is required for the ending (I liked reading them). The only ones I didn't bother with are the treasure chests and feathers. Of course the game isn't perfect, often times my character just jumped the wrong way or I fell down, or jumped when I was trying to sprint which was really annoying. Horse riding still isn't perfect, it's easy to get stuck in everything. Also it came out during that time when the DLC bullshit got out of hand, they straight up removed 2 chapters near the end and sold it separately. To be honest they aren't good and really fuck up the pacing of the game, but I just watched them on YouTube before the last mission. I don't even remember when was the last time I was this excited to play a game, probably when Grand Theft Auto V came out in 2013. I'm really looking forward to play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, especially after that crazy ending, I'm really curious where the story goes next. Awesome fucking game.
2020/10/13
MechAssault (Xbox)

Developer: Day 1 Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2002

Genre: Action / Shooter
MechAssault
This is a game that's usually shows up on best Xbox games lists. It came out with Xbox Live and it was a pretty big deal and one of the top games to play online I believe, so I was excited to try it out. The game takes place in the same universe as the MechWarrior games, which I'm not really familiar with. You are part of some kind of military organization, and you are sent to a planet which is under attack by some tech cultists called the World of Blake - your job is to defeat them, of course. It's not hard to figure out that this is a mech game. You start with a light mech but you unlock/find more as the game progresses. Most of the time you can select which one you want to use before missions, there are light armored and fast mechs, slow mechs with a lot of armor and of course medium mechs. They all have different stats and weapons but I just went with the Mad Cat because that was clearly the best one. You have machine guns, rockets, laser weapons etc. but mechs only have 3 they can use. These have unlimited ammo but there are buffs you can pick up and level up your weapons, then your ammo becomes limited until it runs out and you are back on your regular guns again. These overheat after some time so you can't use them constantly, otherwise it will damage your armor. Mechs also have a special ability, which can be invisibility, radar jamming, jumping, shield etc. You fight soldiers, tanks, helicopters and of course other mechs, and sometimes there are boss battles at the end of a mission. It's pretty cool I guess but I had this feeling the entire time that something is missing. It's not a bad game at all, it just felt bland, I don't know why... Maybe because this game was about the multiplayer and without it it's just not the complete experience. Also it was pretty short, I thought I'm not even halfway through yet when I was done with most of the game. Either way, it's alright and I'm gonna play the sequel when I get there.
2020/10/07
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Xbox 360)

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Released: 2007

Genre: Third-person shooter
Lost Planet:
Extreme Condition
I knew about this game when it came out but at that time it didn't really interest me. But when I was looking at games to play I decided to give it a go. The game takes place in a cool snowy planet which humanity tries to colonize, but these creatures called Akrids live there and they make it impossible so only pirates and government soldiers remained there. Apparently these monsters generate thermal energy which turns out to be really valuable to survive and power vehicles. There are some generic Akrids but some big ones and the bosses are really cool, like that giant worm (Dune reference?). You fight pirates and NEVEC soldiers too, and the story takes some weird turns, not to mention the weird cutscenes, everyone acts so Japanese, and I wouldn't be suprised if they used local voice actors and some very literal translations, but it was still cool. Aiming felt pretty weird too, you can move the crosshair on your screen without moving your character, but you can get used to it. You have a grappling hook you can use to access hard to reach places, and a lot of times you are going upwards to progress. The game has a couple different mechs, they are pretty cool, some of them can fly a bit and you can change the weapons on them, and they are pretty important cause killing bosses or other mechs is pretty much impossible without them. What powers them is thermal energy, which is also required to stay alive. You collect them from waypoints, dead enemies, containers and if you get injured it restores your health from it. It also slowly runs out, so you gotta be on the move all the time and look out for more. There are also these target marks you can find and shoot at, they are just collectibles and don't really add anything to the game. Every mission ends with a boss battle, which is either a giant Akrid or an enemy mech. I liked the first half of the game but after you start fighting NEVEC soldiers the game becomes realy hard and frustrating. Fights become really chaotic with constant explosions, you can't even stand up or move and you are pretty much fucked without a mech, which gets destroyed pretty fast. To be fair I was hunting down target marks and that made everything harder, but when a checkpoint fucked me up and I lost them somehow I just gave up and the game became fun again, but that was like the second to last mission. The last level is so much fun, you get a fully ugpraded mech and just destroy everything, and the boss battle is basically a lightsaber fight in a fucking flying mech lmao, it was awesome. I played with the Colonies Edition, which adds some new modes but I didn't bother with them. It's a decent game but nothing more than that unfortunately. 2020/09/27

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