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Captain Buttbeard's Gaming Corner



Currently playing
PlayStation 2: Zone of the Enders
Xbox: Phantom Crash; Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter
Xbox 360: Earth Defense Force 2025; Fable II

Brute Force (Xbox)

Developer: Digital Anvil

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2003

Genre: Third-person shooter, tactical shooter
Brute Force
I think this game was hyped up to be a third-person Halo, but I didn't even hear about it until recently lol. You are part of a special squad, and you go from planet to planet to deal with bad guys. There really isn't any coherent story here until the last couple missions, and I wasn't even sure what was that about, some new alien race trying to invade the Confederation or something like that. The game looks really good, with nice early 2000s character models and beautiful worlds. Most planets have their own enemies, like zombie mutants, alien cultists, lizards, mercenaries (these fuckers get really tough). So your squad has 4 members and they all have different roles and special abilities: Tex is the heavy weapon expert, he can disable mines and can fire two guns at once, Brutus is powerful lizard alien and with his special ability he can see enemy heat signatures and his health regenerates, Hawk is like a computer expert and she can become invisible, and Flint who is the sniper and she can auto target enemies. You start as Tex and slowly "unlock" them as you progress through the game. You can give them commands like follow, cover you, stay behind, and you can also switch between characters any time so that was cool. The controls are really good and with this mix of action and tactical you would think it's really fun to play but you couldn't be more wrong. First of all there is really just no reason to play tactical, why would you position your squadmates and slowly eliminate your enemies when you can just go ahead with Brutus or Flint, kill a couple bad guys then tell your squad to follow you. The only time when you need to play tactical is the last boss fight. Also the game is boring as fuck, you keep returning to old planets doing the same shit, and the secondary objectives are almost impossible to miss or fail, you almost always complete them anyway. The only location I actually liked was the asteroid level, it looked great with an awesome environment, had a creepy music and it felt like I'm not doing the same shit just on a different planet, it was fun to play even though it was hard with enemy ambushes. Of course you go back there too on the last mission and it becomes boring shit. The character I used least was Hawk, she barely had any health and her invisibility was useless because it runs out fast and takes forever to recharge, and there just isn't any reason to use it anyway - of course until the last boss when you need it. Completing objectives gives you money, I didn't understand first why you get so much because you only spend money on cloning when your squadmate dies, but then I realized on the last mission when you all die it isn't game over, you can just continue the game from there because you all get cloned lol. The only collectibles are characters you can unlock for multiplayer, but there aren't any bots there so it's useless alone. The game had such an underwhelming ending, when you disable the shield your air force just bombs the shit out of where you are and that's it bye bye lmao. I played the DLC mission too, which was like just let's throw millions of enemies at you once and have fun surviving lmao. I'm pretty sure this game was designed for co-op, and there is just really no reason to play it alone, but I bet it's fun with other people.
2021/04/04
BioShock (PC)

Developer: 2K Boston

Publisher: 2K Games

Released: 2007

Genre: First-person shooter
BioShock
I started playing this game around 5-6 years ago, and I finished half of it before I stopped, it was a bit scary with the enemies popping up out of nowhere and honestly it was frustrating and exhausting to play, even rewatching it was exhausting. What made me interested in this game is the setting, this utopistic art deco underwater city was such an awesome idea. But when I started playing it was so disappointing, I wanted to experience a living city with people and shit but it's just the empty, fucked up remains of what it was with only enemies, even the few people who help you out are locked behind windows and doors and you can't really interact with them. We can only learn what was living in the city like from collectible audio tapes. When I started playing again the game kept crashing when I was going to the next level and I had to download a different version, it's a good reminder why I had enough of PC gaming, and how much it sucks playing with mouse and keyboard (of course I had to lower the mouse sensitivity to minimum again), it's so hard to switch between weapons and powers, I keep pressing the wrong buttons and it's hard to reach shit like F1, and it just doesn't feel fun playing on it at all, so fuck everyone who defends PC gaming because higher resolution and better graphics are better lol. I actually remembered the locations and the enemies but I completely forgot everything about the story. You are some guy traveling on a plane when it crashes into the ocean, right next to a lighthouse. There is a bathysphere inside which takes you to the city of Rapture. It was founded by this guy Ryan for rich people where they could live without government control and morality, so with all the human experiments they discovered this thing called Adam which gives you superpowers. But when you arrive the city is collapsing, and this guy Atlas offers you a way to escape if you help him out, which eventually means killing Ryan. There a twist which I'm not gonna spoil, but it was really clever and interesting. So besides your weapons, you have these special powers which you can use, like telekinesis, electricity, fire, stuff like that. Sometimes you need to use those powers to open up new routes and progress. There are also genes you can pick up to enhance some of the abilities you have, like faster hacking for example. There are tons of vending machines where you can buy new powers, ammo, items or weapon upgrades. You can hack these vending machines (and turrets too to turn them to your side), and you need to do that a lot to save money or yourself. But this is where the frustration started, the fucking hacking minigame was so exhausting to do all the time. And then the maps are usually large, with so many places to explore for items, and with all the enemies scaring you it's just exhausting as fuck. You can take photos of enemies, which gives you damage bonuses and new abilities after a while (I completely forgot you can do this when I first played the game lol). For the superpower machines you need Adam, which you can harnest from these mutant girls called Little Sisters, guarded by these big diving suit wearing mutants called Big Daddies (so dumb) who are hard to defeat. Then you have an option to save them or kill them for more Adam. It was actually not that exhausting to play towards the end, but I feel like those levels were more linear too, and at some point you become a Big Daddy too lmao. I had no idea what the fuck was going on with the last boss and how that happened, it was so confusing. And you get such a shitty ending, if you kill just a few Little Sisters (even if you save most of them) you end up becoming some evil dictator who attacks the world, it made no sense after what was happening in the game, I had to watch the good ending which wasn't much better. Anyway it was an ok game, I actually enjoyed playing the second half but it was kinda lame, I expected more. Hopefully the sequels are better.
2021/03/29
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (PlayStation 2)

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco

Released: 2001

Genre: Air combat simulation
Ace Combat
04: Shattered Skies
Also known as Ace Combat: Distant Thunder in the civilized world. So my first PlayStation 2 Ace Combat game. There is three of them, and I think the other two are connected. Actually I had this feeling the entire time that this game and Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation are connected too, or that it was more like a remake kind of thing. Because the story is really similar, with the Russian themed enemy nation, the meteor and that superweapon they built to shoot it down, how your forces retreated to an island, your capital under occupation by the enemy (there is even a similar mission where you retake it), and then how the last mission was destroying that superweapon (with the trench run fuck yeah, it's 3/3 so far in the flying games I've played lol). Could it be a previous war between those countries? The cutscenes however are basically just anime drawings, they looked good but I wish they weren't just drawings. It tells a story of a boy whose parents were killed when the enemy ace shot down a plane that crashed on their house, and how he moved to the occupied capital where we learn about life under the occuppation and about his thoughts on the war and Yellow 13 who he sees often in the bar where he works. This game has the exact same controls lol, but I really hate those R and L buttons, it's so bad pressing them compared to triggers. The sounds not only were similar but exactly the same lol, the music was nice. There are still plenty of planes you can buy, but I think there are less special weapons and ammo. The gameplay is similar too, but of course there are a lot less planes and targets you can destroy and without the operations. They are more ground target focused too but that's ok, and missions often feel really short, most of them had a time or score limit. I don't think they were that memorable though, and the maps often felt really bland, I really liked that icy one though with the northern lights. It was easier to follow to radio chatter in this game, but there isn't much of the story happening there. I don't want to sound like I didn't like this game because it was awesome, I just don't understand why is it more liked than Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, because it feels more like the same game just with worse everything. I wonder if the other two games will feel more distinct and memorable. 2021/03/26
Dead Rising (Xbox 360)

Developer: Capcom Production Studio 1

Publisher: Capcom

Released: 2006

Genre: Action-adventure, survival horror, beat 'em up
Dead Rising
I don't remember how I knew about this series but when Dead Rising 2 came out on PC I played it a little bit, but for some reason I thought it's just an open world game without any real story and it's all about making weapons and killing zombies for fun so I quickly got bored and uninstalled it. You are Frank West, a photojournalist investigating a town that was quarantined by the military. After witnessing a lot of strange behaviors and explosions his helicopter lands on a mall, tells the pilot to come back in 3 days and he goes in to uncover the truth. He quickly finds out that there is a zombie outbreak happening in this town and he retreats with some survivors to the security room. He has 3 days to survive and figure out what's going on. It's not a linear game at all, you can go anywhere and do anything you want. And time really is running out, you only have a limited time to solve Case Files (main story missions) and Scoops (side missions, mostly rescuing survivors and leading them back to the security room, and killing psychopaths), so you gotta plan everything ahead. You also have some time to just fuck around the mall and kill zombies. There are so many of them, they are mostly dumb but they can be aggressive and grab you and fuck you up. I really thought the timer is what's gonna make this game really hard but I was able to solve all the Case Files and most of the Scoops so unless you want a perfect run it's not gonna be an issue. What made this game hard for me is the slow as fuck aiming and clunky controls. I had so much trouble at the beginning, and not just because of the controls but I didn't really have any idea what to do, most of the Scoops I failed were the first ones because I just left the survivors there thinking I can go back to them later. And you are really weak, you gain XP by killing zombies, saving survivors, killing psychopaths etc., and you gain new skills, more inventory space, more health and improve your stats, but that takes a while. The game is clearly designed for multiple playthroughs, because if you fail a main story mission you can still continue playing and get one of the many endings, then you can start a new game with all your experience, but I didn't want to replay the game many times. That fucking clown psychopath on the first day almost filtered me, I could barely damage him and I kept dying, I thought this shitty game isn't for me and I almost stopped playing it. It took me weeks to kill it after lots of reloading and repeating, and when I finally did I could pick up his chainsaw and the 3 books to extend it and then the game became really fun. Cause you can pick up almost anything and use them as weapons which is awesome, but they break after a while, but you can use books as buffs for many things. They take up inventory space though, which is rather limited at first. You use food to regain health, and that takes up space too. What doesn't take up any space is your camera. Of course Frank is a photojournalist after all, and he can take pictures for XP. You get points for crazy shit, explosions, dramatic moments, even erotica lol. You can also dress him up and wear any clothes you want, you can make him look like an idiot wearing women and kids clothes too lmao. I mentioned psychopaths, they are the bosses in this game. They are all wacky ass characters and batshit crazy, but that could apply to all characters really, and even to the story so it's a typical Japanese game lol. The game has some other problems beside the shitty controls, like the radio where you get new Scoops and mission updates, when you pick it up you can't do anything other than running until you listened to the entire thing, also the survivor AI isn't the best, sometimes they get stuck on objects and you have to go back and help them out somehow. After you solve all the cases you still have a couple hours to just fuck around, but that's when the soldiers appear and they can kill you pretty fast if you don't take care of them. Getting the true ending unlocks the Overtime Mode, which continues the story for another day. In the final boss fight you can't use any of your items so it was really hard, but by that time you should have enough health to survive. Beating Overtime Mode and getting the real ending unlocks Infinity Mode, where you can just do whatever you want without respawning items and saving, so it's basically a survival mode. As much as I didn't like this game at first I started to really enjoy it and ended up discovering a really good game. 2021/03/20
Ico (PlayStation 2)

Developers: Japan Studio, Team Ico

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Released: 2001

Genre: Action-adventure
Ico
My first PlayStation 2 game. I'm not so sure why I picked this one, I guess I wanted this to be my first experience. I don't remember when I heard of it first, probably when Shadow of the Colossus came out and everyone mentioned it was made by the same developers and how it was an artistic game. Actually I played Shadow of the Colossus a little bit on a kiosk, because the concept of slaying giant fucking monsters by climbing up on them seemed so cool to me, but I was just riding on a horse with no idea where to go lol. Anyway I had no idea what kind of game is this until the last couple years, all I knew was this cover and how different it looked compared to other game covers. I read a review in the old local console magazine and I thought man, if I ever gonna buy a PlayStation 2 this is a game I wanna play on it. The game takes place in a world where boys with little horns are considered a curse and they are blamed for everything bad that happens. So warriors take this boy named Ico to an ancient fortress to die, but he manages to escape from his coffin. He sees a dream and tries to hunt down what he saw. He finds a spirit girl named Yorda locked in a cage and he decides to rescue her and escape the castle together. Yorda is pretty helpless, she can't really jump or climb and she wanders around so you gotta call her to follow you or hold her hand (cute!) and lead her, pull her up. The gameplay is basically finding the route to progress, opening doors, climbing, puzzle solving and some combat. It's fun finding the solution and the path and it isn't really that hard to figure out what to do but sometimes it takes a while, you gotta think with Yorda's limited capabilities in mind, you need her to open spirit doors. Often times you are revisiting places of the castle you've been before, but different parts of it you couldn't access previously. You also have to protect the poor girl, because her evil shadow queen mother sends these black smoke spirits to capture her. Fighting them off can be frustrating in the beginning when you only have a stick that barely causes any damage and battles can take forever because the AI is pretty smart and keeps dodging attacks too, not to mention when they gang up on you and push you off ledges. Things get better once you find a sword, and then really easy when you get the mace. These smoke monsters can capture Yorda and take her to a shadow portal, then you have a limited time to pull her out before it closes and you die. Some of the battles can be avoided by rushing to the spirit door, opening it kills all the enemies. The game has such an awesome atmosphere, there is barely any dialogue or story telling and very little music, mostly you will just hear ambient sounds, and there is no interface, menu, quest logs or anything like that, it feels like you are truly discovering and experiencing something. The camera works like that too, you can move it to look around like it's really a camera. The misty castle is dominated by grey and brown colors, and when you get outside the bright green grass and the yellow sunlight blinding you just makes everything feel so alive, you could even feel the gentle wind coming from the sea. Even saving the game was pretty cute, you sit down on a bench with Yorda, and when you load the game you are waking up from sleeping there. Of course it isn't a perfect game, most of the issues I had was because of the controls and the camera angles, for example that waterfall level was a nightmare, trying to jump on that wheel or throwing the rock for the mace weapon puzzle took fucking forever because of that. And Yorda doesn't always listen to you, I'm sure that was intentional but it can be annoying when you are trying to call her and she doesn't want to come or jump. And while most of the game was really creative, there is a level you have to do twice with the same tasks just on the other side to open the gate, and that was a bit lame. The ending was unexpectedly cute, I thought it's gonna be sad because of what was happening. This game was such an incredible experience, I'm glad I picked Ico a my first PlayStation 2 game and I hope most of the other ones are gonna be this good. I also can't wait to find out how good Shadow of the Colossus is.
2021/03/09
Burnout (Xbox)

Developer: Criterion Games

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Released: 2002

Genre: Racing
Burnout
There are some genres I really couldn't care less for and normally I would never play them, such as fighting games or racing games. I can almost count on one hand how many racing games I've played, I had a Need For Speed game on PC in the early 2000s that I played a bit, Midtown Madness which I played a lot and Midtown Madness 3 which was bundled with my Xbox (I barely remember playing this but I unlocked so much stuff lol), some motocross game I don't remember anymore, one of those MotoGP games from the late 2000s and Forza Motorsport 3 just a little bit when I was bored. But I have Burnout Paradise on Xbox 360 and I thought I should try to discover at least this series in this genre, so I decided to start with the first game, which I heard is really simple and basic so it would be a perfect introduction to the genre. The "campaign" in this game is the Championship mode, where you go through a bunch of championships with a couple of race tracks. You don't always need to win the race though, there is a minimum required position (though it's mostly first place). There are 3 other cars you race with, mostly in cities with traffic. You have a certain amount of time to go through checkpoints, so you gotta drive carefully to avoid crashes cause that's gonna slow you down. Crashes award you with money, which I really didn't understand cause you are not gonna finish the race first place if you crash more than just a few times, the other cars are almost always behind you. There is a boost meter, which you can fill up with drifting, going against traffic and avoiding hitting cars in the last second. When it fills up you can go really fast of course, and if you keep holding the button while driving dangerously it refills the meter instantly. It's a really arcadey game, and it's so simple. There are barely any maps and cars in the game, and there aren't any licensed stuff in it, the cars and the music too are just really generic. Some maps are marathons with really long races, the last one was at least 20 minutes and I barely managed to finish first lol. Winning a championship unlocks new maps and game modes, like Face Off where you go one on one with another car, and if you win you unlock that car, Survival Mode where you need to finish the race without accidents (no thanks lmao, there is no way I can do that), or Free Run where you can drive without traffic, and of course there is splitscreen where you can race with your friend. It's a very simple and generic racing game, but I wouldn't say that makes it bad, it was fun and exciting to play it. I expected it to be a lot harder, but as an introduction to the genre it's exactly what i wanted.
2021/03/03
Blood Wake (Xbox)

Developer: Stormfront Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Released: 2001

Genre: Vehicle combat
Blood Wake
This is another Xbox exclusive I see mentioned sometimes. I didn't care for it, thought eh it's just a boating game who cares. But when I wanted to play something simple and looked through earlier games I thought I should try this out. The game has this Oriental setting with pirates and new post colonial empires. But the story is nothing special, I don't even remember the names. You are some guy, your brother tried to kill you, pirates rescue you, you start working for them, then you need to find parts of some shield amulet and at the end you face your brother. The cutscenes are basically just drawings on a paper, which I guess is cool. The gameplay is fairly simple, you have a boat and you need to destroy other boats, targets on the beach, collect something, escort other ships, protect villages or race. There are a lot of missions, but you don't always have to kill all enemies to finish them, sometimes it's better to just rush to the objective and get out as soon as possible. As you progress through the campaign you unlock better ships with more armor, speed and weapons. You can't select which one you want to use, only in multiplayer and you need to play through the game in every difficulty to unlock new maps, game modes and weather too. Destroyed enemy ships drop ammo and health boxes, and you need to collect those if you want to survive. You fight big ass battleships too not just boats, those were pretty cool but they can fuck you up, and those shitty land turrets too, I hated them. Your weapons can be cannons, missiles, torpedos, mines etc. As the gameplay is only happening on water you know that's where most of the work went, and it looks really nice especially for a game from 2001, but they made sure it's pretty realistic with waves and shit too. But the realistic water physics combined with the god awful controls just make this game so fucking hard and frustrating to play. Some ships when they are too fast control like shit, the smallest fucking analog stick movement turns it like crazy, then the smallest fucking bump into something turns the ship over and then you are stuck for like 5 seconds, getting absolutely destroyed, not to mention avoiding torpedos and mines is almost impossible. I had to cheat on the last level because it was obvious after I only got to the last part 3 times in like 50 tries that I'm not gonna be able to finish this game thanks to the piece of shit controls and how enemies fuck you up despite playing it on the easiest difficulty. The multiplayer has bots and a lot of modes you can play in splitscreen, so at least there is that, but to unlock everything you need to play through the game with higher difficulties so fuck that.
2021/02/21
Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (Xbox)

Developer: Gray Matter Interactive

Publisher: Activision

Released: 2003

Genre: First-person shooter
Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War
In the late 90s when I was in elementary school we had a computer in our classroom and it had Super Mario Bros., Paperboy and Wolfenstein 3D on it, so one of the first (if not the first) game I played on PC was Wolfenstein 3D. I don't think either of us managed to go past the first couple levels, but I remember those blue walls, the nazis and the dogs well. We even got the teacher to play it once lmao. Of course I heard of this game too, it was a pretty big deal when it came out, I think I even watched my friend play it once but I'm not sure. I also played the 2009 Wolfenstein, it's supposed to be a sequel to this one but I really don't remember much, other than going to some other dimension or something like that, and that old nazi general who was in this game too. You got the usual mixture of nazis, castles, zombies and occult stuff, that's always a winning formula lol. The Xbox version has extra prequel missions, new weapon, new enemies, new items, new multiplayer maps, co-op and something extra I will mention at the end. The game starts with an awesome intro video where an evil knight and a sorcerer fight, it's such a high quality cinematic video, I loved how it looked. You are B.J. Blazkowicz, working for the OSA, trying to figure out what the nazis are up to in Egypt. As it turns out they are trying to revive that evil knight to use his powers to win the war. They capture you but you end up escaping from castle Wolfeinstein, then you are just assigned to some other place to destroy secret weapons, I really liked it because it shows you are just a soldier following orders and go from one mission to another if they tell you. Of course the secret weapons and your other investigations lead back to where you started, and you return to castle Wolfeinstein (get it? lol) in the end. I really liked the controls, most of these FPSs I've played so far still had shitty controls, but this one finally feels like Halo, it's very fluid with some auto aiming. The game isn't about just shooting, there are some stealth sections and missions too, but they don't work really well, especially that fucking forest level I hated it so much lol. Just like in Wolfenstein 3D there are a lot of secret rooms and treasures you can find, I took it very slowly because I kept looking for them but i could barely managed to find them lol. Finding them all gives you some bonus at the end of the level, like a weapon or ammo. In some dungeon levels there are traps too, and they can kill you easily so you gotta look out for them. Other than the usual nazis you fight zombies too, and halfway through the game shit gets really hard with paratroopers, robot dogs and those electronic flying mutant supersoldiers lmao. I noticed that enemies take way too much bullets before they die, especially the bosses (the last one was easy though). Other than the usual WW2 weapons there are some pretty cool electric weapons and machine guns too, and some items you can use that have an effect on zombies and the nazi mutant soldiers. As much as I can see it's a good game it wasn't that fun to play, and it was too frustrating at times (especially the stealth). After you beat the game you unlock Wolfenstein 3D, which I played a little bit, now that one was still fun to play. 2021/02/13
Prey (Xbox 360)

Developer: Human Head Studios

Publisher: 2K Games

Released: 2006

Genre: First-person shooter
Prey
I mentioned this game after I played Duke Nukem Forever as another one that was in development for a long time, but got released earlier. I was reading about it in a magazine, like it's a game that's never gonna happen but then in the mid 2000s it appeared again out of nowhere. That cover was always so weird to me, like it's some kind of angel. I think people really liked the game and called it unique, and after reading a review I knew I want to play this. The main character Tommy is Native American, which you don't usually see in games for some reason (Turok is the only other one I can think of). Apparently they made sure that the culture and the mythology are realistically portrayed, that's pretty cool. You start off at an almost empty bar late at night with your girlfriend who works there and your grandpa. You hate living in the reservation and want to get out, but they keep telling you that's where you belong. It feels boring and shitty, you play on some slot and arcade machines (for achievements lol), listen to some music, beat up some drunks lol, it's a good introduction to Tommy's life. Then suddenly fucking aliens show up, tear up the bar with beams and kidnap everyone. On the spaceship shits get real and brutal, people being used for food, it's such a good introduction to the game. Of course your goal is to save your girlfriend and get the fuck out. As you can guess it's not a cheerful game, lots of fucked up and sad things happen. The alien ship is gigantic and also really fucked up looking, there are some pretty scary parts (like those fucking ghost kids) and awesome too (like when you look out and see a plane trying to navigate through it, I guess they just suck everything up). They also got this irl radio guy (Art Bell), and sometimes you can hear his radio show, talking about UFO sightings, or a psychic talking about you lol. My first thought when I started playing was that this looks like Duke Nukem Forever lmao (or even better), just 5 years earlier. I had this feeling that it's gonna be a shitty port, because on panels and stuff like that you can see the cursor you control with the thumbstick, but it was fine. At first you might think it's just gonna be your average FPS with weird as fuck alien guns, enemies and environments, but man this game is seriously one of a kind. First of all you have portals which open sometimes, you can go through them to go to different places. One time you find yourself on a big round rock with it's own gravity, and suddenly you see a fucking giant alien coming in the room, and you realize you ended up on a tiny rock that was in display in that room after going through a portal. Then there are these pathways you can go on, and walk on the walls or the ceiling without falling down, it was so weird it took me a while to get used to it and not feel dizzy. Then there are these switches you can turn gravity around in the room, you truly have to think in 3D in this game, you can't just look straight ahead of you. At some point you grandpa transfers you to the spirit world and you learn spirit walking, where you can learn how to exit your body, and go through force fields or attack enemies who can't see you until you fire at them with your spirit bow (you also have this spirit eagle with you who sometimes distracts enemies). I was really impressed by all these stuff in the game, most of the time you are gonna use them to solve puzzles you need to progress. They aren't really hard and the solution is usually easy, but you really need to think outside of the box and use your brain to solve them. But even with the puzzles it's a pretty linear game. It's all so weird and awesome, but there is a huge, huge problem with this game: you literally can't die. When it happens you go to the spirit world, shoot at some flying spirits to restore your health and spirit meter, then go right back where you died. That's it, there is just no challenge like this. And the game is really easy anyway, like it's marked where you need to spirit walk. Some missions are extremely short too, like it takes 2 minutes lol. And there is a flying vehicle you control sometimes... those parts sucked. Still, it's one of the most unique games I've ever played for sure. The game ends with this text: Prey will continue... but it never did. There was a second game in development and it looked awesome, but the retarded studio cancelled it, and years later we got that shitty reboot that had nothing to do with this game. Shame, really.
2021/02/07
Infinite Undiscovery (Xbox 360)

Developer: Tri-Ace

Publisher: Square Enix

Released: 2008

Genre: Action role-playing
Infinite Undiscovery
I've never played a JRPG before, mostly because I absolutely hate turn-based combat and that battle screen bullshit this genre usually uses. There is just no excuse for the first one on 6th gen and later consoles, fuck tradition and all that shit, they were only a thing because of technical limitations. I found this game while I was looking through recommended games lists, and that dumb name and the cover got me interested. Unlike most other JRPGs, this game has real-time battles and you won't get teleported to a battle screen when you encounter an enemy. The story seemed pretty interesting too so I decided to play this game, I felt like this could be the perfect introduction for me to the genre. It comes on 2 discs, so it's a pretty big game. The story is about this evil order which chained the moon to the planet, causing all kind of disasters and monsters to appear in the regions where the chains are located. But there is one person who is capable of cutting these chains, his name is Sigmund and with his liberation force he is trying to save the world. But you aren't playing as him: you are Capell, a flute player who looks exactly like him, and for that reason you are imprisoned. But that's the reason why Aya from the liberation force rescues you, she thinks you are Sigmund too. You join this team after you are rescued to begin your journey. Unlike most protagonists, Capell really doesn't want to be there or to fight, he is a coward who just wants to run away. I really liked this, I don't remember any games having a main character like that. Of course his attitude changes at some point, but I'm not spoiling what's gonna happen. There are a lot of interesting twists and turns (like the connection between Sigmund and Capell, I really didn't see that coming), and I thought the story was pretty good, although you can clearly tell it was made by Japanese by how dumb it can be. The first DVD is mostly lighthearted and all silly and cutie, but things get pretty dark and heavy by the second DVD, it takes a while for the story to really get going - it really feels like a journey as things progress. You get a bunch of characters who can join your team of a maximum 4 members, but you can set up different parties sometimes and you can see them fight, that gives you XP and loot too, pretty cool. Some of these characters can be pretty annoying and insane, another sign that is was clearly made by the Japanese. Also there are so many of them, and some join so late that you aren't gonna use most of them. The voice acting wasn't the best and the lip syncing was way off, and some cutscenes didn't even have any audio, I don't know if they ran out of time or what. The music was alright, but it repeats so much it got annoying after a while. The game has beautiful environments, I especially loved the lunar rain and how you can see the moon up in the sky and the chains you need to go to. You can only control the main character, so I didn't have to deal with switching characters like in other JRPGs. As I said it has a real-time combat, and basically you only really need to press two buttons for light and heavy attacks (and a combination of them for bonuses). You can set up two battle skills for those buttons, which your character executes when you hold the button. You can do the same for your party members, and you can set up connect skills too. Connecting to a party member lets you use their special abilites, which you are gonna need sometimes, because it's not just for battles: some characters can open locked chests, talk to animals which you are gonna need for some quests, stuff like that. You gotta pay attention to your party during lunar rains, because it can turn them evil. The developers took the real-time battles a bit too far, because the game doesn't pause when you open your inventory, and things can be pretty chaotic when you are desperately trying to heal or revive your party members (you can order them to do the same with a button though). Unlike other characters you can use your own kind of "magic", which in this case is your flute. You can select a tune to play which can grant different effects, make invisible things visible, buff stats, cast a protective shield, etc. At some point you also learn enchanting, and you can buff the characters or make them immune to different kind of things for a few minutes. There is also crafting, which most characters can do, they all have different specializations, like armors, weapons, cooking, magic, potions, things like that. Besides the main quests you can do side quests (get ready for a lot of backtracking). You don't have quest markers or logs, so you gotta talk to everyone and remember everything. Sometimes you need to be connected to a party member for the quest to start, and that's a lot of possible combination with all those NPCs, so get a guide ready if you don't want to spend months playing this game. You can talk to your characters like that too, to learn more about them or unlock their titles and traits, which is what Capell thinks of them, some are funny and later they can be pretty dark too. I liked the ending (and especially the last level, it was so beautiful), but I wish they didn't pussy out and add the epilogue with no explanation, the sad ending would have worked so much better. Beating the game unlocks the Seraphic Gate, which is a collection of previous dungeons with new and powerful enemies to beat for better gear or items - I tried to play those too but I was killed by the first enemies in like seconds lol. I have this feeling that this game was made for people who never played any JRPGs before, the developers figured that's the case for the average Xbox 360 owner. So in it's genre it's probably not a very good game, but I liked it and for me it was the perfect introduction to the genre.
2021/01/24
Run Like Hell (Xbox)

Developer: Digital Mayhem

Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

Released: 2003

Genre: Third-person shooter
Run Like Hell
This is a game I just randomly found, I don't even remember where. For some reason I thought it's about a fugitive soldier trying to escape in a sci fi setting. It got bad reviews, but something about this game looked interesting. The story is about a guy who works on a mining space station, and when he returns he finds out aliens overran the station with no survivors to be found, but he is desperate to find his fiance. Sounds familiar? That's right, this game is basically a proto Dead Space. They got a bunch of famous voice actors too, shame the background noises are so loud you can barely hear them lmao. It's such a typical early 2000s game it's hilarious: it has real product placements (some energy drink) you can get from vending machines and they increase your health a little bit, and during boss battles fucking Breaking Benjamin songs play lmao! The problem with this game is that it felt outdated by the time it came out. From what I've read it was supposed to be a game like Resident Evil in space, but it was developed for so long and they changed the game to a third person action game in the last minute. By the time it came out it was just a generic, rushed shooter. If it comes out just 2-3 years earlier this could have been considered great - it just shows you how quickly games changed back in those days. You can see there was supposed to be more exploration, but you can still find a lot of health and weapon upgrades, or codes you need to open doors or access computers. I think crafting was supposed to be important too, but you are only gonna use it for a few items you need to make to progress. The gameplay itself feels pretty generic and meh, when an enemy pops up you just lock on and keep pressing A to fire, sometimes you dodge but that's it. And despite having a bunch of weapons you are only gonne use the rifle and then later the assault rifle. When your shield runs out and your health is low you just open the inventory and use a medpac, you can find so many of them you never gonna run out of health. There are two of these stupid segments when you just run like hell (get it?) with quick time events to dodge or jump over shit. It's not scary either, only maybe when an alien jumps out in front of you from a ventilation shaft. Sometimes you return to previous areas and you see how the alien lifeform transformed the place, that was pretty cool. The game ended with a cliffhanger, it's a shame it never got any sequels because the story wasn't that bad. I installed the DLC too, basically two challenge stages I played for a few minutes, and a bunch of character skins including your fiance in lingerie, that was pretty hot lol. Early DLCs were cool when the devs just made some fun stuff for the game for free. Now it's just endless opportunity to shove useless, overpriced shit down your throat and continue bloating up the game instead of making something new - or worse, using it to finish the game because they released it without half the content that should have been in the game on launch.
2021/01/09
Red Faction II (Xbox)

Developer: Volition

Publisher: THQ

Released: 2003

Genre: First-person shooter
Red Faction II
So the sequel came out on Xbox too, and that's where I'm more comfortable playing games. This time the game takes place on Earth, where I guess the government (called the Commonwealth) somehow obtained the nanotechnology after the events of the first game. Chancellor Sopot uses it to create supersoldiers, but fearing their new powers he orders them to be killed. You are one of these soldiers, and you and your squad join the Red Faction (I have no idea what's going on with them, none of that shit on Mars had anything to do with Earth and suddenly they are freedom fighters here, the game doesn't explain anything) to overthrow Sopot. Of course there is a twist at the middle of the game that changes everything. Some of your team members are with you in some missions, and they all have specializations, like sniper, vehicle expert, stealth, stuff like that - you are the demolition guy of course. Most of the levels are in buildings or on the streets, there are some vehicle missions too. They don't really look good, the graphics are pretty meh and everything looks lame and bland. The gunplay feels shittier too, but I do like weapons, and there is a lot to choose from. The first game had health packs and armor you can collect, here your health regenerates and there is no armor, but you can pick up health packs which basically serves as lives when it goes down to zero. This one is more linear, but it can get a bit confusing too. The destruction is different, you can't dig tunnels and stuff anymore, only the buildings and objects are destructible. I actually like that change, it's more useful in this environment, and it feels like you can destroy more things than in the first game. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's going on, the objective isn't always clear, and there are a lot of bonus objectives the game doesn't tell you so you have to figure it out on your own. They give you green points, while red points come from killing civilians. There are 4 endings, the more green you have the better ending you will get, and of course more red gives you the bad endings. Not like it really matters, it's the same cutscene but with different dialogues, and it's just stupid shit like this character joined a circus or wrote a book, some shit like that. Which is pretty lame, the entire game was lame honestly. You can unlock a lot of concept art with completing missions and bonus objectives, if that's something you care about. One thing I really liked though, and that's the multiplayer. There are so many different maps and modes, some are like arena FPSs, they reminded me of Unreal Tournament. Good thing it has bots, because I don't think the game had Xbox Live support. At least I found another game I can play with bots, and that's always a good thing.
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, led 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 collecitbles, 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 level up your form, you can quickly change before you collect the gene to make sure all your forms are leveled 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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