So… Is It Good?

A blog featuring the various writings of E. H. Lau.

Archive for January, 2010

Bayonetta Demo Review

Posted by cyberpfalcon on January 5, 2010

Recently I got to downloaded and played Bayonetta First Climax (which is what they’re calling the demo for… Bayonetta) on my PS3.

Developed by Platinum Games and directed by the same director as Devil May Cry, the Bayonetta demo definitely impressed me. Being a 3D action game in the same vein as the God of War series, the Ninja Gaiden series, and, of course, the Devil May Cry series, Bayonetta is looking like it’ll push boundaries of the genre.

Certainly, it plays like the games in the mentioned series, however, what really set it apart and what really impressed me was how smooth and stylish everything was. The huge amount of combos for one, meant that the many combinations of buttons each had a different outcome, which feels great compared to some of the more restricted combo systems in the other games. Also, a simple, one-button dodge also made the demo a lot more enjoyable. There is also a massive amount of different ways of attacking, not only with the aforementioned combo system, but also with the different weapons that could be picked up after killing certain enemies.

At first, I was interested in the game, however, after the demo impressed me with its smooth, stylish, and enjoyable game play and (what seemed to me) an intriguing story, Bayonetta is definitely a game that I am excited about.

Posted in Video Game Demo Reviews | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

The First and Second Coming of The Serpent King (Warriors Orochi and Warriors Orochi 2 Review)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on January 4, 2010

Wow, I haven’t written anything in nearly two months… Apologies to anyone that’s been checking back, but, finally, after all the assignments, exams, and holiday events, I have some time now to write this review.

Today, I’ll be taking an in-depth look into two games: Warriors Orochi and, its sequel, Warriors Orochi 2. Both games are developed by Koei and Omega Force and are part of Koei’s famous Warriors series, a series of 3D Beat’em-Up/Hack and Slash games. These two games are crossovers of the Dynasty Warriors series (which uses characters based off historical characters in the Three Kingdoms period of China) and Samurai Warriors series (which uses characters based off historical characters in the Warring States period of Japan). I will be reviewing the PS2 versions of these games.

First, let’s take a look at Warriors Orochi. Like most of the other games in the Warriors series, Warriors Orochi is a 3D Beat’em-Up game that lets the player roam the map defeating the army of enemies that prevent you from achieving your objectives.

Before a battle, the player can choose three different characters to form a team. Only one character will be on the battlefield at a time, but can be switched out for any of the other two at anytime. I found this to be a very good thing for this game to have, since it is a crossover game, and this allows us to try out more characters from the huge roster list in a shorter amount of time over having to stick with one character for a whole stage (and some stages in these games can take pretty long). Each character levels up individually though, so a character has to exactly fight to gain any experience. Any inactive characters will recover health and Musou (which is used for special attacks). Note that though, when any one of your characters die, it’s Game Over.

In the game each character has Normal and Charge Attacks, Normal Attacks and Charge Attacks can be chained together to form different combos, although using a Charge Attack will always end the combo. For example, two Normal Attacks followed by a Charge Attack will form a different combo than the one formed by three Normal Attacks followed by a Charge Attack. While this system of forming combos isn’t particularly deep, it’s a very enjoyable and easy system to use. I also loved the fact that in this game, each character had his or her own unique Normal Attacks and Charge Attacks, and thus formed different combos than the other characters. Players also had the option of using Enhanced Charge Attacks and Musou Attacks (basically super moves) which uses up the Musou Gauge. On the battlefield, horses are sometime available for use too.

For further customizing of the characters, there is the Weapons Fusion system. The Weapons Fusion system can be a bit confusing at first, but it does offer a nice way of further customizing the characters. As the player goes through the stages, the characters that the player uses will gain weapons from the battlefield. These weapons will sometimes come with special abilities equipped. The Weapons Fusion system allows you to join two weapons together and pick and choose which abilities (like Ice, the ability to freeze opponents, or Range, which increases the weapon’s range) you want to keep. Although each character will only get similar weapons (for example, Zhao Yun will always pick up spears and Sun Ce will always pick up tonfas), the Weapon Fusion provides a fun way to make your characters more unique and enjoyable to use.

There are also Abilities that you can collect by fulfilling certain conditions, which affect the whole team. For example, Fortitude increases the defence of all three members of your team.

Overall, I found the gameplay of Warriors Orochi to be quite enjoyable. A simple beat’em-up game with a combo forming system that offers uniqueness and depth to its huge roster of characters.

The two main modes of Warriors Orochi are the story and free modes. The story mode takes the player through the one of the four stories, and free mode allows the player to go through any stages with any characters that they have already unlocked (in story mode, the characters that can be chosen for a story is restricted until you beat that story). Both these modes can be played cooperatively with a second player. The story for this game is that the Serpent King, Orochi bent time and space to bring together the warriors from the Three Kingdoms era and the Warring States era so that he may test their might. The story is then told from the perspectives of four different armies. While the story is not the most creative story there is, it serves its purpose: it brought together characters from two popular series so that we can have an enjoyable game.

The replay value of this game comes from the different difficulty levels, unlocking all the characters, unlock art work for the gallery, leveling up your characters, and the fact that its a fun beat’em-up game. Warriors Orochi is easy to get into, and is a great game for those wanting tons and tons of action. It is also a great game to play with a friend.

Now, some of you might be wondering, why don’t I just split this into two reviews, and review Warriors Orochi and Warriors Orochi 2 separately. Well, here’s why: the gameplay is pretty much the same. Warriors Orochi 2 is pretty much the same game, except with some little things added, a few more characters, and a continuation of the story.

New gameplay elements in Warriors Orochi 2 are team assists (where one of the inactive character can help the active character when he/she is attacked), triple attacks (where all three characters use their Musou attack at the same time), and Strategies (which are special abilities that can be activated when certain conditions are fulfilled). While these new gameplay elements are interesting, it doesn’t add a lot to the gameplay.

The only real new modes are the Dream, VS, and Surival Modes. Dream mode is basically Story and Free Mode except that the team of three is already chosen for you. Dream Mode also offers new “alternative” stories. While Dream Mode isn’t any groundbreaking, it’s enjoyable, giving players another chance to use different characters.

In VS Mode, there are four seperate modes: the Tag Team Mode (where two players face each other using a team of three in something like a fighting game), the Elimination Mode (which is the same as Tag Team Mode except that the players only get one character each), Tower (where players compete to see who can knock off more enemies from a tower), and Steeple Chase (where two players ride horses and race to the finish line). Survival Mode is basically Tag Team Mode, except that it is one player fighting against computer opponents until he/she loses. Now, while these two modes are completely new modes that Warriors Orochi 2 got, and may provide a tiny bit of replay value, I found them a waste of time. The Tag Team, Elimination, and Survival Modes feel unpolished, the characters are feel clunky when controlling them in a fighting game environment, and there is huge amounts of juggling, which makes these modes feel tedious. The Steeple Chase is boring and slow. And why compete with someone to knock people off towers in the Tower Mode when you can instead, join together and fight off armies in the Story, Free, and Dream Modes (if you really must compete, there’s the K.O. count).

However, this is not to say that Warriors Orochi 2 is not a fun game. Like Warriors Orochi, the sequel is also a fun and simple beat’em-up game at its core. However, Warriors Orochi 2 feels more like an expansion pack rather than a true sequel.

So, overall, Warriors Orochi and Warriors Orochi 2 are fun, fast-paced, and enjoyable 3D beat’em up games. However, at this point, only Warriors Orochi 2 is really worth buying. If you really do care about the story though, I suggest that you get one of them cheap, so as not to feel as ripped off as I did when I bought both of them brand new at retail price. Another suggestion that I’d make, is that if you really don’t care about the story, and don’t mind the game being in Japanese, then importing the new Warriors Orochi Z (which combines BOTH of these games and adds in a little bit more) for the PS3 might be the best choice.

Posted in Video Game Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »