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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

Turok: Evolution (Xbox)

Developer: Acclaim Studios Austin

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Released: 2002

Genre: First-person shooter
Turok: Evolution
This is the first Turok game I've played but of course I've heard about the series before. I remember there was a contest to name your baby Turok and they would pay for his college or something like that lmao. I wasn't sure if I should play the previous games first, but because this is a prequel I gave it a go. You are a Native American guy fighting with a cowboy(?), when a portal opens and transports you to another world with dinosaurs. The world looks pretty good honestly, you are in this jungle with vibrant wildlife, dinosaurs, birds, apes, saber-toothed cats, and you have fight them too, I really liked when you fight a T-Rex for example. But they aren't the only enemies, most of the time you will fight these mutant, humanoid dinos, and they use the environment, when you are in a canyon they set traps and throw big rocks at you, pretty cool. Sometimes you gotta jump and climb to move forward, and the game rewards exploration with ammo and health packs. The weapons are probably the coolest thing about this game, some of them are really fun like the gravity gun, or the dark cube which makes a black hole that sucks in all nearby enemies lmao. You also have a bow and you can pick up arrows again after you fired them, and you have explosive arrows, they are pretty useful. The first few levels reminded me of Halo for some reason, and I was really optimistic about this game. But unfortunately, this game is really bad. First of all, I had absolutely no idea what's going on, and maybe it's because I'm not familiar with the series but I don't think so, because you get totally random levels and nothing is explained in-between them most of the times, like how you got there and what you are doing there, the game just throws you right into action. Like you start with these tribal people, then there are these advanced mutant dinos, then suddenly an advanced human society with a giant city like wtf? Even if there is an established world, you can't expect everyone to know about the lore, you gotta have some cutscenes or something. As much fun some weapons are, there are some pretty useless ones, like the shotgun. And I had to turn on auto aim because aiming was really hard too, but it's different in this game, it just makes sure your bullets hit when you aim near the target, and not with every weapon. And the game is just ridiculously buggy and badly thought out. I missed picking up the upgraded bow, and that means I can't use it for the rest of the game, some levels are almost impossible without it. So I had to use a cheat, which gives you all weapons available on that level, but that was buggy too, so I had to activate the infinite ammo too to make it work, then I turned them off. And some weapons just disappear, like I lost my pistol (which is one of the best weapons lol) halfway through. The jumping and climbing suck too, I often fell off from a ladder too when I was looking right at it. Sometimes enemies don't react or they get stuck in obstacles, there was a boss which just stood there, that's how buggy this game is. And the levels are so fucking long, and the entire game too, it just drags and drags and there are no checkpoints so if you die you have to start the level from the beginning. And the fucking on-rail flying levels, oh god. They are the worst, it's so hard to control and you go way too fast, everything is just chaotic and you die a lot so you just try over and over again until magically you somehow beat the mission. So fuck this shitty game. 2020/09/21
BloodRayne (Xbox)

Developer: Terminal Reality

Publisher: Majesco Entertainment

Released: 2002

Genre: Action, hack and slash
BloodRayne
As usual the first time I've heard of it was in a magazine. A game about a hot vampire chick killing nazis? Of course I thought it looked cool. I think my friend gave it to me and I played it on PC. I remember the swamp levels very well, as I way playing it now I could recall a lot of things. I'm pretty sure my Windows died and I lost my saves so I never made it through the first part of the game. I don't know if there are any differences, but I felt like the colors were kinda washed out here, and even though I think it's better to play this with a controller, the the sword combat was kinda clunky to me. Other than the colors the game looks alright (shoutout to those boob psychics lmao). The story is about this half vampire chick who is working for an organization investigating paranormal stuff I guess, then goes off to fight nazis who collect artifacts or something like that, it's kinda random, especially how it just skips from the swamp levels where you fight zombies and some kind of creatures to Argentina where you fight nazis and these demons, the pacing is really bad and it's like you are suddenly playing a different game. On the nazi levels you get a list of officers you need to kill, and you are basically fighting through nazi soldiers to reach a boss (or more), kill him then go to the next area. Most of them are pretty generic, you just need to put a lot of bullets into them or hack them to pieces (sometimes you get lucky and you cut the head off and it ends pretty quickly). But some of them are pretty unique and you need to use some tactics to defeat them. Combat is either your swords or weapons you can pick up. It felt really slow at the swamp levels but you slowly unlock new moves, and abilities too such as slowing down time and you can have this vision where you can see where your objective is. Also there is blood rage when you kill enough enemies, which has different moves and slows down time, and it's more powerful. You need to suck blood to restore your health which is pretty cool. Other than enemies, water can also damage you so you gotta pay attention to that, sometimes it's hard to avoid it especially in the swamp levels because the platforming is really shitty, it's easy to fall off and hard to aim your jump. The levels are usually short and easy enough, but they can get really confusing by the third part of the game with the nazis and vampires. There is also a random nazi mech level out of nowhere lmao. I found a pretty cool easter egg while I was smashing boxes, the Ark of the Covenant lol, nice reference. Rayne's quips really add to the experience as well, it's a fun game and I'm glad I decided to play it again.
2020/09/07
Mafia II (Xbox 360)

Developer: 2K Czech

Publisher: 2K Games

Released: 2010

Genre: Action-adventure
Mafia II
I remember when the first game came out and everyone loved it. Of course it wasn't perfect, people criticized the shitty driving and the linear gameplay. After Grand Theft Auto III, that free riding mode where you just drive around was lame as fuck. I remember going to my friend's place and his dad was playing the game. I tried playing it maybe around the time before this one came out but the fucking driving was too much for me, and it was kinda boring. And because this game really isn't connected to it (other than one cutscene) I didn't bother with it. This is another game where I played 2/3 of it before I stopped, but I didn't remember why. All I remembered was the first WW2 mission in Italy and you could use Italian weapons too which I thought was cool, and that the hand to hand combat was shit. But that's it, I literally forgot everything else. As I was rewatching the game I realized why: because the entire thing is just so forgettable. Not just the stereotypical mafia story, but the characters too, right after rewatching and playing it again I had no idea who is who other than Vito, Joe, Henry and the old guy. And this is one of those linear movie games where the gameplay is nothing special and everything is about the story, and being forgettable is the worst thing that could happen to a game like that. You spend most of the game just fucking driving to somewhere, then you arrive and either have the same kind of shooting or beat up segments. Sometimes you have to do shit like working in a warehouse, selling cigarettes or cleaning toilets, which I thought was hilarious. They did such a great job creating a huge living, breathing world... but with nothing to do in it. You can buy clothes, weapons or food, or upgrade your car but that's it. There are these side character the game introduces, and you would think you can just go to them for side missions but nope. The entire world is just a background, this should have been a sandbox game. There are Playboy magazines you can collect with some vintage titties, that was awesome. And the radio with 40s and 50s music too. The ending was so anticlimactic, and the lack of choices leading to it was disappointing too. These movie games are so popular nowadays, but they are so lame, they are just cutscenes with shitty gameplay in-between. So disappointing.
2020/09/02
Robotech: Battlecry (Xbox)

Developer: Vicious Cycle Software

Publisher: TDK Mediactive

Released: 2002

Genre: Shooter
Robotech: Battlecry
This game is based on an anime I've never heard of, apparently it follows the story with the addition of the game's protagonist (Jack). I had no idea this game exists until I found a review of it when I was reading an old magazine. I thought it looked cool so I gave it a go. The story is about this giant alien race whose ship crashes on Earth, and right after humanity repairs it they arrive and try to destroy us but we fight back with the new technology. The game has cel-shaded graphics, which I thought were the perfect choice for this one. Honestly it still looks really good thanks to that. I especially loved the space missions where you can see a shitload of cartoon styled battleships in the distance, it's so cool. The cutscenes look really cheap though, like something you would find on DeviantArt. You control a mech, which can transform into 3 different modes: first is is a regular, walking mech with just machine guns (I only really used it for the sniper mode), a floating mech with machine guns and light missiles which can pick up stuff if you need to carry them somewhere else (this is the one used the most), and a fighter jet with machine guns and heavy missiles. You can also pick what kind of mech do you want, the slow mech usually have lots of armor with barely any missiles, while the fast ones have tons of missiles but little to none armor, usually it's just better to pick the middle ground. There are like 40 something missions, most of them are pretty short, but there are some hard ones, especially the escort missions - I don't know why but there are so many of those. And even those would be fine, but there is one huge problem with this game: the controls are just fucking terrible. Seriously, the only reason this game is hard is because of the shitty controls. I had to lower the difficulty to easy because I just couldn't advance after a few missions. The floating mech is the worst to control, and of course that's the one you are gonna use the most. There are a good amount of bosses you will fight, but there really isn't any secret to them, just keep firing missiles and hope you kill them before they kill you. Also damn, after defeating the last boss Jack just runs out of oxygen and dies, it's a pretty ballsy way to finish a game lol. Some things reminded me of Earth Defense Force, like the destructible cities, the many missions, or how they end after killing every enemy. I had no idea TDK published games, I thought they just made casettes and discs, so that was pretty suprising. So yeah, perfect example of how absolutely terrible controls can ruin a game.
2020/08/21
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (Xbox 360)

Developer: Project Aces

Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

Released: 2007

Genre: Flight simulator
Ace
Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
So this is the first Ace Combat game I've played, and I didn't really know about this series before I found this one. It's a really fucking cool arcade flying game with tons of missiles and bombs you can use, and huge mega structures like a flying aircraft carrier plane fortress which was fucking awesome lmao. It's an over the top, fucking hordes of enemies everywhere type of game, it's sooo much fun. And it looks incredible, the graphics still look perfect and realistic to me. The storytelling is interesting, it doesn't focus on you but instead the cutscenes show different characters from both side of the war, focusing on how the war and your actions affects them. It's a bit cheesy (dude go dance with the angels lmao), but that's what you would normally expect from the Japanese anyway. The mission structure is pretty cool, you have different operations going on and you only need to complete a few of them to finish the mission. They can be ground or air attack, or both, so you have to plan ahead which ones you want to do and pick the right plane for it. There isn't many to choose from, but I didn't really use more than just a few of them so that's fine. I did feel like there is just too many ground missions to do, and sometimes you just want to shoot down planes, but at least they were easier to do. You have a wingman (Shamrock), and you can order him to cover you or attack a target, he is really useful. And you can use allied attack and cover too, which basically gives order to your allies to swarm the enemy, it's fucking insane lol. It's really over the top with giant fucking air battles, it can be really chaotic. I found it really hard to focus on the dialogue because I had to focus on avoiding missiles or chasing planes, or trying not to crash into the ground lmao. The controls are really good, high G turns are great and a fast way to turn around. You can also land and repair your plane and reload your weapons, it can be a lifesaver. Special weapons can be bombs or missiles you can launch on multiple targets, they usually have limited ammo. I expected a bit more missions, but they are usually pretty long and the different operations add to the replay value. Some of them are really memorable, like the giant flying aircraft carrier I mentioned, that fast as fuck plane that spams missiles and is hard as fuck to shoot down, when Shamrock doesn't retreat and continues killing the enemy, when the two of you are trying to escape but you have to fight your way through hordes of planes and your allies arrive to save you, the liberation of Gracemeria, or the last mission with the giant fucking laser thing (includes a trench run lol). Finishing the campaign unlocks all planes and you can start a new game with them. You can unlock backstories and info about aces when you kill them or save your allies. So yeah, fucking awesome game, I might play it again because it's so much fun.
2020/08/20
Dead to Rights (Xbox)

Developer: Namco Hometek

Publisher: Namco

Released: 2002

Genre: Action-adventure, third-person shooter
Dead to Rights
I didn't know about this series until someone mentioned Dead to Rights: Retribution in some video I was watching. Then I found a review of this game in an old magazine I was reading and I decided to play it. It reminds me of Max Payne, I don't know if it was made because of the success of that game, but it seems like it. I wouldn't call it a clone though, because it's kinda different, it's sort of like an arcade Max Payne. You got the same ex cop wants his revenge kinda thing, but while in Max Payne it was awesome, the story here is like from a really bad and cheap 80s dumb as fuck action movie. Seriously there is an epic twist at the end of every chapter, people constantly betraying you and stuff like that lmao. The whole thing is just hard to follow. The gameplay is really different too, it's like an arcade game. You can't really aim (unless you are in sniper mode), all you can do is switch targets. And the game literally throws a shitton of enemies at you constantly. And you run out of ammo fast, but that's rarely a problem because the hordes of enemies always drop weapons. This game has bullet time too of course, so you can use that when the odds aren't good, but here you can only use it while jumping forwards. You can also grab an enemy and use him as a shield, and when you are done with him he just executes the poor guy lmao, that's pretty cool to be honest. Also you have a dog, which is honestly a pretty good game mechanic. You can use him to take an enemy down instantly, and your dog brings his weapon back to you! How awesome is that? You gotta wait until you can use Shadow again, he isn't hanging around you and protecting you (hopefully that's the case in the sequels). Sometimes you take control of him, to sniff out bombs or to go to places where you can't go and help you advance forward. The controls suck to be honest, and the camera can be so bad. There are a bunch of minigames too, like a fucking striptease or disabling bombs, but some of those are ridiculous, like the fucking water torture one when i just mashed the buttons like crazy because it was so fast, or when you break out of prison and you have to beat up a bunch of inmates for cigarettes and do these minigames in the gym. And the melee combat, good lord. It's fucking terrible, you have to block constantly, grab and throw people and hope they won't beat the shit out of you. And there are a lot of these segments, even if you have weapons the game doesn't let you use them. The levels in general are just bad. It's so repetitive, with identical looking hallways and sometimes you feel lost because of that, even though the game is linear as fuck, there are a bunch of levels when you are chasing somebody, or you go into a room, gotta kill the waves of enemies, then you turn back because you need a key, then they spawn again... And you have bosses at the end of most levels, you either just put all your bullets in them or have to fight hand to hand, and it's the worst there. Seriously, fuck that boss with the gas mask, the Xbox version of this game is notoriously hard and there is no fucking way I could beat him without lowering the difficulty (thank god you can do that between saves), but even on easy it took me so many tries. There were a few other levels where I had to switch to easy, like in the cemetery, or when the game throws at you these armored soldiers with weapons that can kill you with two hits, and that goes for minutes, it's just so hard. And you have to listen to the same shitty music repeating over and over again, I was really annoyed by it. And some chapters are so tedious, they are way too long. I gotta say there were some hilarious moments, like the way he gets on the fucking plane: he is on a motorbike, and some assassin is chasing him and people are firing at him from the plane, he turns around as he jumps off the bike, starts shooting at the assassin, the bike explodes and the shock wave gives him enough momentum to land on the plane, and while he is flying into the back of the plane he takes the enemies out, it's just so dumb and awesome lmao. But I don't know, I wouldn't call it a bad game because in 2002 on consoles this was alright... It just aged poorly. 2020/08/15
Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat (Xbox)

Developer: Westwood Studios

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: 2002

Genre: Action-adventure
Pirates:
The Legend of Black Kat
I saw this mentioned a couple times in Xbox threads and it looked interesting so I gave it a go. The game has that simple, early 2000s gameplay which I miss. It's obvious what's an item you can pick up, it doesn't blend into the enviroment or look realistic like in current games, and the world works in gameplay terms too, like the different kind of islands you can travel to (normal Caribbean, lava, snowy, haunted etc.). Every island type has different enemies, but they all have some kind of pirates too. But good lord some of the enemies are such a fucking pain in the ass, it's so hard to kill them. You have lots of different weapons but most of those you have to throw and you can't really aim, and you can block but not everything. The story is about this redhead chick with nice boobs whose father gets killed and she learns her mother was a pirate, who was killed by the same guy. So of course she wants revenge and you have to obtain charstones to unlock new regions, find keys and treasures. It's kinda hard to follow the story, you kill these random bosses who have a key or a chartstone. There are also some quests but it takes a while to complete them. Every island has treasures, some of them need a specific key to unlock so you are gonna sail back to islands you previously visited a lot, some of them has quest items you need. Also there is treasure hunting which has a clever game mechanic, if you are close to a burried chest your controller starts vibrating, the closer you are the stronger is the vibration, I think it's pretty cool. Other things you can find are seashells, they unlock concept art, and hearts you can use to increase your maximum health. Combat is simple one button mashing, with extra weapons you can throw, like knives, bombs, or some magic shit. There is a charged attack too which slowly builds up after you hit enemies. Ship combat is pretty simple too, you start with a small shitty ship which you can upgrade later to bigger ones with more artillery. Other than fighting ships, there are also these towers you need to destroy, and forts which can really fuck up your ship. But once you bombed it to death you can take control of it and use it for trade and repairs. You can change the figurehead on your ship, you slowly find them and they gave different bonuses or have different special attacks. Ships have extra weapons too like firebombs. The game isn't really helpful, it's hard to figure out what to do in some situations (like with the lava boss). The camera was pretty bad sometimes, especially during the last boss battle (which you fight 3 times, once as a ship battle, once on land and then a ship battle again but this time it's a huge demon). There is also multiplayer, which is just lame ship battles... So yeah, honestly it was kinda boring and repetitive, it took me a while to finish it, usually just did one island per day or from one save point to the next. It wasn't particularly enjoyable, but it had a certain charm to it.
2020/08/04
Max Payne (Xbox)

Developer: Remedy Entertainment

Publisher: Rockstar Games

Released: 2001

Genre: Third-person shooter
Max Payne
I think I was aware of this game by 2002, I mean it was hard not to because it was a pretty big deal. I think my classmate gave it to me around that time. I remember starting the game and the first level just terrified me. You come home from work and you find your house trashed, you go upstairs and see blood in the bathroom, and hear your baby crying, your wife screaming and gunshots. I noped the fuck out and uninstalled the game, it's probably my scariest gaming experience. I didn't even want to play it, not because I was still scared but I just didn't really care enough to install it and at that time PC to console ports were really shitty. But damn this is a really good port, if not the best I've seen. The controls are pretty good, and the auto aim helps with the bit slower aiming, so the no mouse disadvantage goes away, and it also helps with the game's difficulty. It was only really an issue when you are in an elevator moving and have to shoot bombs. Also the jumping on stuff or walking on pipes or that fucking nightmare level when you walk on a blood line Jesus Christ that piece of shit (and fuck getting lost too), but I'm pretty sure it was awful on PC too, maybe the tech just wasn't there at that time for these kind of stuff. I love the story and the setting, reminds me of Grand Theft Auto III with the shithole looking New York full of porn shops or dirty love hotels, mobs and shit, it's fucking cool but also a lot darker with some really heavy stuff (but it has some goofiness too). I also love the comic book style story telling, instead of cheap cutscenes you get these comic panels with voice-overs, with the game devs being the character models, Max Payne's face is of course awesome. The famous game mechanic it added is the bullet time effect, when you can slow down time to help avoid bullets and kill enemies when you are outnumbered. It's pretty cool, I didn't always use it, but it does help a lot. You can quick save anytime which is really helpful, I don't think I used it more than just a few times until the third part, then the game got more challenging so I had to rely on it. The game has a fucking great atmosphere, I love all the small things too like listening to the enemy conversations (one is literally about how he would love to use bullet time like in the movies lmao), or those TV shows you can watch, sort of like in Alan Wake (no suprise, same developers), but more primitive and less (one is Twin Peaks influenced, you can see they already had that direction in mind). The AI is supposed to be adapting to your playstyle but I didn't really notice anything, and I never found the game to be too hard either. It's pretty linear but that's no issue here, the game was really enjoyable and it worked well. Maybe it's a bit short but honestly it was pretty satisfying, it didn't feel like "that's it?" when it ended. So yeah I'm glad I decided to play it because it's fucking awesome, and I'm looking forward to play the second game when I get there.
2020/07/24
Alice: Madness Returns (Xbox 360)

Developer: Spicy Horse

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Released: 2011

Genre: Action-adventure, platform, hack and slash
Alice: Madness
Returns
I don't know how but I think around the mid 2000s I found out about the first game. I loved the concept, a dark, nightmarish version of Alice in Wonderland. I loved the game and I'm pretty sure I played it more than once. It wasn't perfect, like I remember the platforming was a bit clumsy. Obviously I was really excited for this sequel and I couldn't wait to play it. This one definitely had the problem with the fucking black bars on my shitty TV. And it wasn't really enjoyable. Because I wanted to collect everything it became really frustrating to me, although it was easier to do this time around. I can't believe how far I got when I stopped playing, almost at the end. But some of the levels were so fucking long, it felt exhausting even just rewatching it. The story is about Alice's family dying in a fire, she goes crazy, blaming herself or trying to figure out who did it. As expected the game looks incredible, colorful with a lot of different environments. My favorite was the Arctic level, the sky was beautiful, the Moon was smoking and the smoke was the northern lights, the Sun was frozen, and they looked like those Victorian depictions, just incredible. There is also a shitty London where you don't do much, the game takes place mostly in Wonderland. The gameplay is basically platforming (be it visible or invisible, and it could be really frustrating), combat (which felt really simple and clunky, especially with the horse weapons sometimes it pushed the enemy further and you couldn't finish the attack, also there is barely any weapons you can use), and puzzle solving (really easy, some of those are fucking quizes lmao). The gameplay changes sometimes, like it turns into a fucking 2D side scroller. There are a lot of stuff you can collect, like teeth you use for weapon upgrades, hidden memories, bottles for unlockables, pig snouts to reveal some of these, keyholes you can only see and access when you shrink. Your dress changes on different levels which was a pretty cool idea. The story felt disjointed (how the fuck did she get out of the asylum?), in fact the entire game felt like something is missing. Like you can find those snail shells or whatever they were where you can increase your maximum health, and you get random combat or 2D or quiz segments to complete, it felt really out of place. After completing the game (the end boss was really easy), I looked at the database entries you unlock, and I realized a lot of those enemies and character weren't even in the game. Then I found a Beta trailer which I couldn't believe how different it looked. It's clear that half of the game was missing, there were supposed to be more scenes in London where you actually do stuff instead of just walking, more weapons like in the previous game, the gameplay looked better too. I don't know what happened, maybe the good old EA fucked with the development, I don't know. Maybe that's why they dragged out the levels so much, it would have been so much better if there were more of them but shorter. Also wtf was that end credits, it was like 30 minutes longs. Anyway I liked playing what was left, but I don't think I would have enjoyed playing the entire game.
2020/07/17
Yager (Xbox)

Developer: Yager Development

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2003

Genre: Combat flight simulator
Yager
The first time I've heard about this game was in the magazine I bought, I think it wasn't out yet and it was a preview, it looked alright but I couldn't care less about flying games. It's a German game and I think it was a bigger hit in Europe (I still don't know what the fuck that title has to do with the game, there is no reference to it, I guess it's from the word j├Ąger). The story is pretty cool, like a 90s campy sci-fi with a hotshot freelancer pilot who wants to get the girl, pirates, nazi type organization, alien tech and shit, whacky Russians in a shithole region etc. The voice acting is alright but fuck it was annoying how they kept saying the character's name every minute (dude warrior Tide lmao). The graphics are pretty good with beautiful environments, but the characters are so bad, especially the way they move. The game isn't just flying your ship, there are some missions when you are in a turret, also some cool things like hiding behind a train, submarines, flying aircraft carriers, or that hilarious infiltrate the enemy base mission that was ike 20 minutes in an enemy bomber and slowly going through the ridiculous administration and clearance bullshit. The game is pretty self aware, your character complains when the tutorial or the turret mission takes too long. There are 22 missions so the game is fairly long, the last two missions were fucking brutal though (fuck the missiles), but the game was hard in general and I think mostly because of the controls. Your plane can fly and hover which isn't the problem, but it takes forever to turn around. Also it wasn't always obvious what to do, there is a very basic mission task on your map but that doesn't help much. I expected a customizable ship you can modifiy, and select and upgrade your weapons, but there is none of that. Sometimes you get an extra weapon based on what mission you are doing, but it's all pre-determined. Some weapons have limited ammo and you have to look around the map to find more, also there are some repair station if your ship gets fucked up. The game rates your performance after you are done with a level, there you can check what bonus tasks you have missed and try replay the missions for more score, but all you get is more unlocked ships in the database you can read about, and who gives a shit about that. There is no multiplayer, which I think the game needed to be more memorable. So yeah it was fun when it wasn't hard as fuck. I liked it and I was so relieved when I finally beat the game.
2020/07/13
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360)

Developer: 343 Industries

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Released: 2011

Genre: First-person shooter
Halo:
Combat Evolved Anniversary
This one I stopped playing on The Library level, I could barely see anything on that CRT TV, had the shitty black bars, plus I played the original game to death, so it just wasn't that enjoyable at that time. I didn't try to watch a playthrough this time, because I know exactly what happens. I'm not even gonna talk about the game, because it's Halo: a 10/10 masterpiece with modern graphics and fucking terminals (they felt really out of place imo). Instead let me share my memories of this franchise. I think it all started when I bought my Xbox and it came in a bundle with Halo: Combat Evolved and Midtown Madness 3 (minus Star Wars: Battlefront which I bought). I don't think the console was ever officially released here so we only had German or Austrian imports, and Halo was in German, both the voices and texts. But the game was fucking awesome, and that tells a lot about how good it is, because I could enjoy it without understanding anything. I played it with my sister and cousin all the time. Then my friend gave me his copy of Halo 2, which also had German audio but this time it had English text so at least I had an idea of what's going on. It was just as awesome, if not better. We played this a lot too, the splitscreen multiplayer was so much fun. Meanwhile I discovered the PC version so I finally understood the game, it felt weird to play it with mouse and keyboard, but it had online multiplayer which I played a lot. Then the second one came out on PC, and I could finally listen to the original English audio and get hyped for Halo 3, which was coming out soon after. I watched the trailers, MLG videos on YouTube when the game was out (I always spent the last couple minutes in the IT class watching those videos lmao), and fucking Arby 'n' the Chief and other machinimas. I couldn't wait till it would come out on PC... But it never did. And I couldn't wait any longer, around 2008 or 2009 I bought an Xbox 360 Arcade with Halo 3. But it had a faulty disc drive so I returned it and got my money back, and instead I bought a new PC (the same one I have to this day). I'm pretty sure I thought it's a sign, and it probably was because I avoided the fucking RROD with this. When I was graduating in 2010 I knew I'm gonna buy another one, and after some research I found out the Jaspers fixed the RROD, and I bought a used one with a lot of games. How lucky I was, as it recently turned out it's a fucking Kronos, those are built to last forever. Anyway, I avoided spoilers for years, so I could truly experience the game for the first time. And it was as great as I hoped it would be. I loved everything about it, it was an incredible and emotional ending to the trilogy. Then right after that I played Halo 3: ODST, which was different with those rainy levels and no Master Chief, but it was still a great game. That was the last Halo I played in co-op. I don't know if I played Halo Wars before or after ODST, but that's probably the best console RTS you can get. I didn't really care for it, but it was nice for one playthrough. Then Halo: Reach happened a few months after that, I was on a Halo roll lol. Something felt off about that game, I mean it was still good but something was missing. That was the first "main" Halo I didn't try to replay. So Bungie was done with the franchise, but of course everyone knew Halo 4 was gonna happen. I had no idea what to expect, but of course I played it as soon as it was out. But that game... didn't feel like Halo at all. The story was like a bad fanfiction, Master Chief wouldn't shut the fuck up, his relationship with Cortana got weird, the enemies looked different, Forerunners as enemies was downright retarded. The gameplay was good, sure, but it wasn't Halo anymore. And that pretty much killed my insterest in future games, I still have no idea what happened in the next game or care about what's gonna happen in the upcoming one. Anyway, I don't know if I just got used to the shitty casualized FPSs that came out since the early 2000s or I just suck now but I don't remember this game being this hard. I regret not watching a playthrough honestly because I kinda feel like I wanna replay them again. So maybe I will continue with an English Halo 2 this time, then see how Halo 3 looks like on a HDTV.
2020/06/30
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360)

Developer: Ninja Theory

Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

Released: 2010

Genre: Action-adventure
Enslaved:
Odyssey to the West
Back in 2011 I was looking for games to play and I remember finding out about this one on a website I was reading, which called it one of the most underrated games on the Xbox 360. Nowadays it's on every underrated hidden gem list, but it's pretty interesting it already had that reputation not even a year after it's release. Now it's either this or Alice: Madness Returns (or both) which I stopped playing because Gears of War 3 came out lol. I didn't really enjoy the gameplay to be honest, I was very new to this platforming and hack and slash thing and I was either bored of frustrated by it. Also it didn't look that good on that shitty CRT TV, I'm pretty sure it had those black bars on the top and bottom too and I could barely see anything lol. I was done with 2/3 of all these games when I stopped playing them which is crazy. But I'm glad I finished this now on a HDTV because the game looks gorgeous. Not just the graphics, the entire post-apocalyptic world looks fantastic. So do the character models, they used that motion capture shit on real actors like Andy Serkis and they gave a fantastic performance. The girl was really cute too. The story is about escaping from a slaveship with a girl who enslaves you with a headband because she needs your help to go back home. They slowly get to know and trust each other, and you rely on her with upgrades, distractions and directions. You also have to protect her because she is useless in combat and the shitty mechs would kill her. The character interactions are best part of the story imo. I watched a playthrough on YouTube and I remembered most of the major things until we find that pig dude, but I completely forgot about doing the next mission after that. This time around I didn't have much of a trouble with the combat, honestly I probably sucked ass in anything that wasn't a shooter. It's really simple too, and not just a combat but the platforming too, like it's very linear and you can only go one direction. There aren't many combos and shit like that, this game is perfect for anyone who has never played games like this. There are also segments where you fly on a "cloud", but there isn't any combat there unless you are fighting a boss, then it's just press a button and that's it. You collect these red orbs for upgrades, I was suprised how much I collected, like usually around 90%. I'm sure my playstyle of I want to do every little thing and collect as much as possible contributed to why I was frustrated with the game back in those days, but in this small dose I didn't feel that way. You can also find these white masks which give you irl flashbacks of the pre-apocalypse world, but that's explained at the end of the game. The ending is a big wtf though, I don't think there were any clues of what's really happening with those slavers, in fact I don't think it really makes sense based on what the slavers' mechs were doing. Also Trip did the right thing. I don't usually like when the game is all about the story, but I think it's only a problem when the gameplay sucks, this was just simple and that's totally fine. I enjoyed playing it this time and I'm glad I finished the game. It inspired me to explore more of this genre which I'm looking forward to.
2020/06/24
Fable: The Lost Chapters (Xbox)

Developer: Lionhead Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2005

Genre: Action role-playing
Fable: The Lost
Chapters
I remember reading about this game a lot in the magazine I bought, and then how pissed people were because Molyneux overhyped it and half of the promised features didn't make it into the final game. But still it got good reviews, and deservedly so because it's a good game with a lot of soul. It felt really simple though, which was perfect for me as someone who isn't really familiar with fantasy RPGs. Originally this was an Xbox exclusive but this extended version was released on PC and Xbox again. You start off as a kid just doing kiddie quests, then bandits show up and destroy your village and kill your family (at least that's what you think). Some mage saves you and takes you to the Heroes' Guild, where they train you to become a hero (how ridiculous is that lol, the entire world works in gameplay terms). Your childhood is basically just the tutorial, after you "graduate" you leave and start doing quests. I was a bit worried that once the game lets me out to the outside world I will be overwhelmed but it does a great job slowly introducing you to new things. Gold quests are the main story, you can pick up silver quests in the guild, and there are bronze quests you find in places you visit. You earn xp, gold and renown status. I like how the NPCs react to you and your title, the more famous you are the more they applaud you, or women just fall in love with you without flirting lol. You can buy houses and get married... to multiple women lol. You can even fuck your wife, or whores. I only married the barmaid chick from Oakvale, she looked pretty hot and I didn't want to cheat on her with other women. Anyway, you slowly discover new regions thanks to the quests, and the main story is pretty good imo but the sidequests aren't bad either. Lots of cutscenes with voice acting add to the experience too. In this version the story continues with new main quests but they felt kinda out of place to be honest. The world looks beautiful, lots of variety but not enough enemy types. The combat is alright, pretty simple basically just press a button or two but that's perfect for me. It was really hard though to switch between spells thanks to the control limitations, for sure this isn't a problem on PC but for me it was hard to do, so mostly I just healed and used that sword buff spell. There is some customization, like haircuts, beards, tattoos but not that many. Also suprisingly few weapons and armors you can buy. Your character ages, which I think is cool but it's way too fast, I was already an old guy when I wasn't even halfway through the game. And you get scars from battles, now that's awesome. Your appearance changes from the choices you make too, you get blonde hair, blue eyes and a halo with butterflies flying around you if you are a good guy, and I think you turn into an evil looking guy with horns when you take the evil options. Again, it's pretty simple, most quests only have two options if they have any. I always play the good guy, I find it very hard to pick the evil choices in games, it just feels wrong to me. There are chests and treasures hidden in the world and these Demon Doors that require something specific to open them, they also have treasure inside. The minimap is pretty useful, but the interface kinda sucks, but again it's probably because of control limitations. Also you have expressions you can use, some of them are pretty funny. I spent like 2 months playing this game, I wouldn't say it's long though, and you can keep playing once you finished the main story. I will probably visit my wife sometimes just to fuck her lmao. I have Fable 2 which from what I've heard is better. I played it for like an hour when I got my Xbox 360, but I think I stopped playing because I wanted to play this first. Took me a decade to get to it lol. Anyway, I love this game and this was a good introduction to the genre, I'm looking forward to try out other RPGs.
2020/06/22
Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)

Developer: Rare

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2005

Genre: First-person shooter, stealth
Perfect Dark Zero
I wanted to play Perfect Dark first but it was pretty much unplayable on the emulator on Xbox and I couldn't make it work on PC, so I just watched a playthrough on YouTube. By the time I found a working one I already watched almost the entire thing so I didn't bother with it. For sure it's a cool game, reminds me a lot of TimeSplitters 2 (I know it should be the other way around, but hey I played that first). Although I must say the level design looked super confusing to me and I'm sure I would have been lost a lot then complain about how frustrating it was. Anyway here is the story of how I managed to find this fucking game: the ISO collection's PAL copy is the one released in Southern Europe and it doesn't have a Title Update on XboxUnity, and that update is a must for multiplayer because it improves the bots by adding personalities. I couldn't find any other downloads so I said eh whatever, and started burning the DVD but it failed. To me this was a sign and I didn't try again with another DVD. I spent hours searching on Google and DuckDuckGo and managed to find the filename of a release that led me to a website with an archive of all scene releases. That should have been the end of the story but they were uploaded to a stupid website where the download speed is limited and I can't let this ancient computer run for days to download it, so the only other option was paying for premium. I almost did it but then I found a forum where some guy shared his expiring premium account with the users there I think. Finally I got the game! But then it turned out it's a .360 file, because it was released before Xbox 360 piracy was a thing. Luckily abgx360 is smarter than I thought, and it rebuilt the ISO. And the burning was successful, I finally got the game with a title update! Is it worth all this? Well, yes and no. The game looks great honestly but the character models are pretty bad, but not because of the graphics (Joanna looks hot though). The single player is OK I guess, pretty forgettable and dumb sometimes. The story is about Joanna working with her father as bounty hunters (I think), until something goes wrong and you go after dataDyne. The controls and aiming are so bad, she walks so slowly and the aiming is just terrible. It was really frustraring but I started to get used to it and enjoy it by the last 3 levels. Before missions you can select your loadout and I just let he game to handle it but it was a mistake, I had no idea you can pick more than one weapon. The P90 was my favorite, of course because I love Stargate SG-1 but it's a great weapon in the game too. I wasn't always sure what to do, that was another frustrating thing. I often failed missions and had to restart (fuck the lack of subtitles too). It was pretty hard on normal, but that might have been the fault of the shitty controls. So yeah the single player wasn't that good. But the multiplayer, oh boy. I haven't had this much fun with MP in a long time. The bots are pretty good, the gameplay seems to be better than in single player. The bot personalities add a lot of extra variety, the game modes are the usual deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag etc. but that's fine. There is another one I haven't tried, it has different game modes but I'm sure I'm gonna like that one too. So I'm glad I went through all that trouble to find this game, because I'm gonna keep playing this multiplayer for a long time. 2020/06/20
Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (Xbox)

Developer: Red Storm Entertainment

Publisher: Ubi Soft

Released: 2003

Genre: Tactical shooter
Ghost Recon:
Island Thunder
I'm not sure what to say about this one. It's a stand-alone expansion pack for the previous game, so everything is the same except the story. I didn't notice new weapons or anything like that. The story is about Cuba having elections and the commie party wants to win at all costs. You gotta stop their irregulars from arming up and from attacking and forcing civilians to vote for them on election day, then capture their leader. Half the missions, and they aren't that interesting. It's more colorful thanks to the Cuban setting, so I guess it looks better than the grey and muddy Eastern Europe, but still I prefered that one. Oh the "multiplayer" worked in this one, you can find all enemies and hunt them down or defend a position. I found it harder than the campaign and more frustrating. Anyway it's not bad just more of the same, it's still fun to play, just not as much as the main game.
2020/06/18
Ghost Recon (Xbox)

Developer: Red Storm Entertainment

Publisher: Ubi Soft

Released: 2002

Genre: Tactical shooter
Ghost Recon
I wanted to play through all the Ghost Recon games before I play Advanced Warfighter but I wasn't too optimistic about them. I'm not familiar with the tactical shooter genre, my only experience was Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, which came with my Xbox 360 when I bought it. I had no idea what's going on in that game, I thought it's just another FPS but it had large open fields and a hit pretty much killed you and I just said fuck it, this sucks. Good example of how you just need to mature into genres sometimes. Because holy shit this game is fucking awesome. The story is the usual Tom Clancy stuff with ex-Soviets wanting to restore power (what's with him and Georgia and Kazakshtan, seriously these two countries are always in them). You control a special unit, first you move to Georgia, then to the Baltics and finally to Russia. The missions have plenty of variety, forests, cities, army bases, snow, mountains, swamps, night time, so everything. But usually it's just collect something, escort someone and kill everyone, but that's fine. Sometimes you have AI allies like tanks who help you out, but sometimes they just stop for no reason. You have two teams, an A and a B team, each with 3 soldiers. You can choose them from different classes, like rifleman, sniper, demolition expert etc. and set up a team the way you want but I just picked auto assign. Then there is a command map where you can give them orders and play with one of them, I usually went with the sniper. If they finish the mission alive their stats improve, but if they die that's it, and you are gonna die after a shot or two. The maps usually are large open fields and you can decide where you want to go and in which order. I usually just sniped the enemy from the distance, but that's not always possible. Sometimes I lost a soldier or two, if you want to keep everyone alive that's an extra challenge, but it isn't hard to do. The enemy AI isn't really good, but your teammates are, sometimes you can just send one of your teams to a different direction and they can kill everyone and survive most of the time. They can get stuck in rocks and trees, and you have to take control of them to move them away, that was a bit annoying. Antother annoying thing was the controls, you start slowly sidestepping if you move the left thumbstick to left or right and I got killed a couple times because of that. The graphics are pretty bad, but it's alright. Also there are bonus objectives that unlock new soldiers, I think I only failed two of those, they aren't really hard either. There are quick missions, I guess that's the multiplayer with all the maps from the campaign with different game modes, but I couldn't make it work, it always froze my Xbox. I really liked the whole slow, tactical approach of this game, I found it very relaxing and enjoyable, it wasn't frustrating at all. I guess I'm not really suited for fast gameplays. So yeah, this is probably the best game I've played in a while, I'm looking forward to the other ones, I think they get more arcadey but I hope I'm gonna enjoy them too. 2020/06/08
Whacked! (Xbox)

Developer: Presto Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2002

Genre: Party
Whacked!
So I just wanted to play something easy and quick between games and I've heard about this game so picked this one. It's a party game and normally that means you need other people to enjoy it but it has a whacky single player. It's about a game show with these ridiculous characters who compete for an unknown prize. I picked Lucy because she is hot and basically naked lmao. I don't know if there is any difference between the characters but I'm pretty sure they all do the same things and you just get different cutscenes and prizes. By the way the character models still look great, probably because of the cartoonish looks but still.There are stages with different game modes and you slowly unlock new weapons and power-ups and characters. Stuff like star collecting, dodgeball, chicken hunt (hated that one), king of the hill etc. The controls are pretty bad and outdated for an Xbox game imo, you aren't using the right thumbstick at all. Hitting or killing another character will drop stars you can collect and some weapons can fuck you up big time, like the chicken gun or the dodgeball and you can easily drop down from first place to last. So really the best tactic is to avoid everyone until the end, especially for star collecting and dodgeball. I loved the cartoon commercials between stages, they are so stupid and fun. But the gameplay wasn't that fun to be honest, and it was pretty frustrating at times, especially some of the maps like the space station and the police chase, all maps fuck with you to some degrees but these were the worst. I just played one stage per day and slowly got to the end. I feel like it's hard to enjoy a game like this without playing with people you know.
2020/06/07
Duke Nukem Forever (Xbox 360)

Developers: 3D Realms, Gearbox Software

Publisher: 2K Games

Released: 2011

Genre: First-person shooter
Duke Nukem Forever
Why did I even waste a DVD on this one lol. I think the first time I've heard about this game was in 2002 when it was already a joke. Everyone was like yeah this game is never gonna come out. Prey was similar but then it got released with great reviews. 3D Realms "dying" and Gearbox taking over the project was the moment I think when everyone realized OK this is an actual game. Honestly I thought the trailer was awesome and it looked like a fun, ridiculous game and it was kind of a historic moment imo, so that's when I decided I'm gonna play it. And yeah, it's pretty bad lol. The graphics were outdated even in 2011 but honestly I don't care about that so whatever. This game really feels like some late 90s, very early 2000s FPS, I had this feeling the entire time that the developers barely changed anything about the gameplay since they started working on it. Like those ridiculous platforming segments with the game's wonky controls? Seriously it's insane a game like this was released at that time. And honestly, I just can't hate them for it... I kinda like that you know? But everything else... The story is so bad, everything is scripted, the enemies are really frustrating. That's why I stopped playing I think, I remember that level on the Hoover Dam I just kept dying and I said fuck it. But apparently I played a lot more lol and I was almost at the end. There is no health, you increase your ego by killing bosses and interacting with objects, drawing, pissing, looking at porn magazines etc. lmao. It's so stupid but I liked it. And some of the one liners, or references like Master Chief's armor. But the driving levels ugh, especially the one in the desert, just awful. Or when you get shrunk down and drive in some kid's toy car. So stupid. Something about the weapons feel off too but I can't explain it. I don't even feel like talking much about it, it's just a shitty game but I'm just glad I can finally delete it from the hard drive after 9 years lmao. 2020/06/05
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (Xbox)

Developer: EA Los Angeles

Publisher: EA Games

Released: 2003

Genre: First-person shooter
Medal of Honor:
Rising Sun
On paper this should have been a better game than the previous one: secret bonus missions and films you can find so you can explore a bit more, and finally there are aiming settings. But the aiming still fucking sucks, even if you change sensitivity. And I don't know what happened to the graphics but the game looks so much worse. And it's not just because there are a lot of jungle levels, everything looks really bad, no more great looking character models. The game starts with Pearl Harbor even before you get to the menu, I think that's a pretty clever way to do a mission about a surprise attack. There are less missions than in Frontlines, but they are a bit longer. And you aren't alone most of the time, but you are still this behind enemy lines kind of guy. The story here is about finding some Japanese gold they stole from occupied territories. The jungle missions are really frustrating (there is a level where you ride an elephant though lol), it's easy to get lost because everything looks the same, but I really enjoyed the one in Singapore where you have to infiltrate an Axis summit. The movie inspiration is still there, like where you have to blow up a train on the bridge on the River Kwai. Most of them aren't very hard but I died a lot during the last mission on the aircraft carrier, those big Japanese submachine guns are really OP. The game is still very basic and it could have been so much better. One of the things you can unlock is storyboard videos, and the ideas they had were so much better but they didn't really fit into the game's style, it was like some Indiana Jones movie or something out of a LucasArts adventure game. Such a shame really, I would have loved that game. The other one is interviews with veterans. They are interesting and I get it, they exist to add to the replay value because they are hidden but the game just isn't that good to replay it. The AI can be pretty dumb, I get what they were going for with Japanese soldiers charging but it wasn't working very well. The developers managed to outdo themselves once again with another useless weapon, seriously the Springfield sniper fucking sucked, took like 3 shots to take out an enemy sometimes. After a mission you can watch a video where you read a letter your sister sent you about what's going on at home, I really liked this idea. The multiplayer has bots in this one, I played a bit and it was ok. If I ever end up without internet for a long time this is something I could see myself doing if I'm really bored. I will probably skip the last Medal of Honor game on this console because I've heard it sucks.
2020/05/23
Alien: Isolation (Xbox 360)

Developer: Creative Assembly

Publisher: Sega

Released: 2014

Genre: Action-adventure, stealth, survival horror
Alien: Isolation
As i said in the blogpost, I fucking love sci-fis with futuristic analog technology. Alien is probably the best example of it. And this game did such an incredible job replicating it. I was really excited for this game for that reason, even though I was so scared of horror games, finishing Dead Space took me a year because I was so terrified and it was a long fucking time back then when I finished everything in weeks. This one took more than 5 years, but for a different reason. I remember I only had 1 disc left and the game needs 2, and when I went to a romantic place with my ex girlfriend I made sure we go somewhere where I can buy a disc too lol. I had to go back and rewatch the missions I did because I barely remembered anything, but everything came back as I was watching it. Funny how much memory you can have but sometimes you can't find them on your own. I played the first 11 missions and I was sure I'm near the end, but how wrong I was. The game felt really long when I played it 4-5 years ago, but comparing it to the past few weeks I played it completely differently: I was hiding all the time and not using my weapons and tools but now I openly engaged the alien and chased it away whenever I could (also I like discovering everything so I usually look around and find collectibles and listen to tapes and stuff, so that alone makes it longer). I wasn't really scared of it though, it was just ridiculously stressful and that's one of the reasons why I stopped playing. But not the main reason: the game just couldn't load anymore, it froze sometimes but I just couldn't load the next mission. Recently when I was downloading title updates I found out it happens when you install the game and have the gigantic 900 MB title update installed. But if you delete the update you can't continue the save, plus an update with that size vastly improves the game for sure. But deleting the game and running it from the disc solves the problem, it's just loud as hell and normally I install everything because I'm worried about the drive dying. I really like how the alien can't be killed, and you have to avoid it. That one deadly enemy aspect of it made me really interested in the game along with the analog tech stuff. You aren't a godlike figure who kills everything, this is probably the only game where you truly feel vulnerable. You have weapons mostly to chase it away or to kill people or androids, but the ammo is very limited, and a bunch of tools you can use to lure them away which is cool too. Also you can craft from the stuff you pick up. The space station looks awesome, the graphics are incredible. I loved the classic locations, like the planet where the crashed alien spaceship was, or a computer room that looks like the one on Nostromo, just perfectly replicates how the movie looks. The gameplay is mostly just hiding, trying to fix stuff and escape, not linear at all you can pick your route and look around and read and listen to stuff that adds to the story. The story is about Ripley's daughter trying to find out what happened to her mother and someone finds the Nostromo's flight recorder and she goes to a space station to collect it, but when she arrives it's already fucked up and you find out why: the alien. Then it's about escaping and surviving while the whole thing collapses around you, it's more chatoic towards the end. I love how they got the original cast back, you can listen to their voice records and Ripley's message to her daughter, really touching. It's very similar to the movie in a lot of ways, so I don't think it's spoiler to say you will be the only survivor. The AI is pretty damn impressive in this game, the alien learns (I think), is constantly after you so you gotta be careful. Fucking androids are so annoying and hard to kill until you get the bolt gun which kills them with one shot. Plus you can't chase them away, they are more frustrating than the alien. The music and sounds really make the experience more tense, especially when the motion tracker starts beeping. I don't think I will ever replay this game because I just can't do the entire thing again, but I think it's a one of a kind experience. Absolutely incredible.
2020/05/15
Deadly Skies (Xbox)

Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Studios

Publisher: Konami

Released: 2001

Genre: Flight simulator
Deadly Skies
Also known as AirForce Delta Storm outside of the civilized world. I wanted to try a similar flying game before I start playing with Ace Combat 6 because I felt like after that game I won't be able to appreciate older and shittier flying games anymore and this was pretty much the only one on Xbox with modern planes. The story is simple, all diseases are cured, the world is running out of resources, bad guys form an alliance to take it from the good guys. It's not a linear game, you go wherever you want to go on a world map, land on airbases and select new missions and buy or sell planes. Plenty of variety there, but there is no reason to switch between planes, the more expensive ones are simply just better ones. I wouldn't mind navigating through the world map and decide what I want to do first but there are stupid fucking checkpoints everywhere and they are the worst thing about this game. Most of the time the enemy captures them and you have to fight those battles over and over again. And they are all the same, it's so boring and frustrating. I was seriously considering ragequitting the game over this but then I found out the last mission is basically a fucking Death Star run and I just had to keep going lol. Luckily you don't have to do every mission to progress which slightly makes the chekpoint situation better. The controls are really bad though, the plane can barely do anything, it's really hard just to turn around. Some of the main missions would be really cool but they aren't as enjoyable because of the controls, like the one where you shot down nukes before they hit a city. As I said the last one is a Death Star run, I barely had any health left when I finished it but it was awesome, I just wish you could fly out too after destroying the reactor. From the main menu you can replay the missions after completing the game (even the ones you didn't do), that's cool if you don't want to suffer through the ckeckpoint hell again. So yeah, some of it was enjoyable, but it's just one of those cool shitty games I guess.
2020/05/14
Medal of Honor: Frontline (Xbox)

Developer: EA Los Angeles

Publisher: EA Games

Released: 2002

Genre: First-person shooter
Medal of Honor:
Frontline
I believe this is the first Medal of Honor game I've played. The Call of Duty games were my go to WW2 FPSs so I expected something similar where you have your teammates with you and just kill Germans or the Japanese. The first mission in Normandy was kinda like that, but then you are basically a spy behind enemy lines, helping out resistance fighters, sabotaging and stealing technology. It's weird because it doesn't really fit the game's style, as there isn't any stealth. Even though you have missions in disguise they immediately discover who you are and you have to shot your way through. I would have loved some hiding and sneaking behind enemies but nope. Oh well, still it was a fun game. I really liked the character models, I think they still look great, they have this realistic propaganda poster look and it's awesome. One thing I've noticed before that most console FPSs I've played (with the exception of the Halo games) couldn't figure out how to do smooth aiming. It was so slow and there weren't any options to change it. Also holy shit, this game's BAR has to be the most useless weapon I've ever seen, seriously even the pistol did more damage. The game copies a lot from movies, I especially liked the submarine level, I've watched the miniseries version of Das Boot recently (the original, not the new shitty reboot) so it was cool seeing it there. Another annoying thing was how you can totally miss doing some mission goals after fighting your way to the end and you have to go back like on that level when you have to find stuff hidden behind paintings and clocks. I quickly blazed through this game, sometimes doing 4 missions per day, it didn't feel short though, it just wasn't frustrating. I wouldn't say I loved the game but I enjoyed playing it.
2020/05/01
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Xbox)

Developer: Stormfront Sudios

Publisher: EA Games

Released: 2002

Genre: Action, hack and slash
The Lord of the
Rings: The Two Towers
Another game I wanted to play when it came out but I didn't have a console. I played The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on PC though and the first level was from the second movie when Gandalf arrives and I wanted more of that. That's where this game ends by the way. Oh and the first half of this one is from The Fellowship of the Ring and only the second half is from The Two Towers... Anyway I remember thinking this game should be played with a controller not with a mouse and keyboard, and I was right it's much better this way. I think I stopped playing it during the Black Gate mission (I think it's the last one lol) because a stupid troll always killed me or something like that. I don't want to replay it again just to finish it, even though it was the better game. Both have really horrible camera, it can be really annoying when you go to a different screen and you have to adjust controls. You can play with 3 characters: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. I just played with Aragorn because the levels are the same and you only need to play with the other ones if you want to unlock bonuses and cheats but I just wanted to get over with it. The more points you earn on levels the more upgrades you can get, combos, more health etc. I found this one pretty frustrating too, but the last two levels were surprisingly easy and I wasn't expecting that after that hard level on the walls. It sucks because I was hyped for an epic Helm's Deep battle because of that first mission in The Return of the King. I'm sure this was an alright game when it came out but it didn't age well unfortunately.
2020/04/24
Freedom Fighters (Xbox)

Developer: IO Interactive

Publisher: EA Games

Released: 2003

Genre: Third-person shooter
Freedom Fighters
I'm not sure if I heard about this game when it came out, there was probably a review in the magazine I bought but I don't remember it. Either way most likely I didn't think it was any interesting. There is an old guy on YouTube who has a couple videos about the Xbox and he keeps mentioning this game, and it also shows up in the /v/ recommended games lists so I downloaded it. The story about being part of a resistance and fighting occupying forces reminds me of a game I was really looking forward to back in 2007-2008 called Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Now that game turned out to be a terrible piece of shit so I never bothered with it. Unfortunately this game is nothing special. You pick your missions on a map, but they are all the same basically. Blowing something up and healing people gives you extra charisma though and the more you have the more people you can recruit to your squad. That's pretty much the only thing I liked. Instead of the usual 3-4 people, you can have up to 12 squad members and it makes the game instantly better, just sending over all your men to the enemy and watching them fight it out or joining them and start killing together. But you won't have that many until the end, there is even a mission in the sewers when you are alone and I hated it, it was really frustrating. Speaking of frustrating, I died a lot because it's so hard to select the medkit with the D-pad. There isn't much of a story and the game just suddenly ends. At least it was short enough. Still though it's not a bad game, it's just... meh.
2020/04/23
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (Xbox)

Developer: FASA Studio

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2003

Genre: Action, Arcade flight
Crimson
Skies: High Road To Revenge
Oh boy. Crimson Skies. Back in 2000 me and my cousin played the shit out of the first game's demo. I thought it was the coolest shit ever, 30s planes, treasure island, fucking zeppelins. Then around 2002 there was a one page preview for upcoming Xbox games in the PC magazine I bought and this was there. It looked awesome but I didn't have an Xbox until 2005, and it was all about Battlefront at that time for me (still is, it's my absolute favorite game ever). Every couple years I remembered it but I didn't have a modded console and as a poorfag I couldn't afford it. I thought about buying it in the 2010s but PAL versions were rare and it didn't worth it. Around 2017 I downloaded the first game to finally play it, I tried to play it a few years before that but it didn't look as good as I remembered and I uninstalled it. But that time I slowly played it and in early 2018 I finished it. It was frustrating at times but overall it was a cool game (weird how I thought the graphics looked great in 2000 but almost 18 years later it was... pretty bad). So I was looking at the sequel and I was about to buy it for real when I looked up console modding to see if I can get it for free. Back in the days I think chipped hardmods were the only option but I found out about softmods and it was a cheaper solution so I said fuck it and ordered a cable and a copy of Splinter Cell. So this is the game that got me back into playing on the Xbox. Now with the stock HDD I couldn't install it and and it took me 2 more years till I decided to upgrade the HDD. But I burnt the game on a DVD so it wasn't a problem. Now that was 2 years ago, and I finished it today. Why it took this long you ask? Well there were months of hiatuses between playtimes, last one being a year I think. Sometimes it was so frustrating and boring I just couldn't play it. What's funny is I didn't even realize I was on the last mission. It's a cool game though, nice arcade flying game but kinda short. The graphics look good but I really prefer the live action pics from the first game (especially those hot ladies), the characters in the cutscenes looked kinda bad. Honestly I think I like almost everything more in the first game. The story and the missions were more interesting, this one has some kind of open feel to it though, you can do smaller missions, races and stuff and just fly around in maps. Also the planes were more customizable, in this it's just a one upgrade option you can do for tokens you find on levels. Shame I couldn't play multiplayer, this seems like the perfect game for some splitscreen fun. Overall I liked it though, but it didn't really worth 20 years of hype.
2020/04/16

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