So… Is It Good?

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

Archive for the ‘Video Game Reviews’ Category

So Is It Good? – Injustice: Gods Among Us

Posted by cyberpfalcon on August 11, 2013

Answer: Yes
Rating: 9/10
Quick Summary: A great fighting game with an awesome story.

+ Solid and, more importantly, fun fighting game.
+ The characters are faithful to their comic book counterparts.
+ The story is like an awesome (albeit a lot darker and mature) episode of the Justice League cartoon.
+ Additional “Arcade Endings” provide more cool “What-If” scenarios to the game’s main story.
+ Unlike Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe (made by what could arguably be NetherRealm’s predecessor), this game fully embraces using an interactive environment, and makes it fun.
+ Additional challenge modes are fun as well.

– Opponents get up just to go into a “defeat pose” after their life bar runs out, which takes away some of the impact of winning, especially when winning with a Super Move

Notes: For those that don’t know, the main Story Mode is not designed like traditional fighting game story modes. Instead, it is more like Mortal Kombat (2011) and Dead or Alive: Dimensions’ story mode, where the story is told with awesome cutscenes, which leads naturally into the playable fights.

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So… Is It Good? – Thomas Was Alone

Posted by cyberpfalcon on June 20, 2013

Answer: Yes
Rating: 9/10
Quick Summary: Great puzzle platformer with a well-told and unique story.

+ Fun platformer with intriguing and interesting puzzles
+ A very unique story that is well-told by the great writing
+ Great narration by Danny Wallace

– The end feels a bit rushed

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So Is It Good? – Double Dragon Neon

Posted by cyberpfalcon on May 22, 2013

Answer: Yes
Rating: 8/10
Quick Summary: Fun beat’em up game, both by yourself or with a friend!

+ Fun, simple beat’em up gameplay
+ Nice modern take on beat’em ups with the cassette upgrade system
+ Good by yourself or with a friend!

= Some of the jokes are really corny, but, hey, depends on your tastes

– Short (a few hours), but at the price point, this isn’t really a complaint
– The higher difficulties are way too difficult unless if you decide to grind for upgrades

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So Is It Good? – They Bleed Pixels

Posted by cyberpfalcon on May 6, 2013

Answer: Yes
Rating: 8/10
Quick Summary: A slick, hard, and fun precision platformer.

+ Responsive and slick controls
+ Fun and (mostly) fair challenge
+ Interesting save sigil system
+ Plenty of collectibles
+ Simple, yet fun, combat system

= Not much plot, but it doesn’t get in the way of gameplay

– Doesn’t full-screen properly for some resolutions

Notes: This game will only appeal to those who like hard and challenging platformers, an example being Super Meat Boy. You will find yourself dying often and having to do the same sections over and over again, trying to find the perfect timing and actions. However, that’s the fun of games like this. Recommended if you enjoy this type of games, stay away if you don’t.

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Mirrors, Swords, Witches, Agents, and Fighter Jets (Reviews of Various Video Games)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on May 3, 2012

So I have a bunch of drafts of game reviews lying around.
I decided that there are probably enough reviews of these games out there already, so let’s just get my thoughts out and move onto the next post.

Mirror’s Edge
A fun game, Mirror’s Edge offers several hours of first-person parkour gameplay. The story is somewhat interesting, though nothing that special.
Although short, players can play time trials or speed runs to try to find different ways through the levels to get a faster time. Definitely a must-play if you can get it for about $20. For the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

Heavenly Sword
Definitely not the God of War rip-off that people kept saying it is. A fun action adventure game that lets you use the eponymous sword in three different modes. A beautifully rendered game, even now, it takes players through a somewhat intriguing story. Pity that it doesn’t do anything special with the story though, and it turns into one of those standard stories about trying to keep a weapon away from an evil tyrant. Another must-play if you can get it for about $20. For the PlayStation 3.

Bayonetta
The most crazy, awesome, over-the-top action adventure game I’ve ever played. If you like games like the God of War series, the Devil May Cry series, or Heavenly Sword then this game is a must. For the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

James Bond 007: Blood Stone
One of the best James Bond games that I’ve played, and also a fun shooter in general. It mixes TPS gameplay along with driving sequences. The story is on par with some of the better James Bond movies. For the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

007: Everything or Nothing
Another fun James Bond game. However, the automatic lock-on for shooting has a few problems, and it makes it a bit hard to aim. It’s almost impossible to aim without the automatic lock-on. However, it is a fun game. Story is also pretty fun, a standard Pierce Brosnan James Bond story. For the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube.

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
The best flight combat game I’ve ever played. It tells the story in a brilliantly executed method, allowing players to be immersed into its touching story. The gameplay is semi-realistic, but, like I said, probably the funnest flight combat game I’ve ever played. The gameplay, mixed with the beautifully told story makes this one of my favourite games. For the PlayStation 2.

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Why SoulCalibur V Is A Good Game, Yet A Disappointment

Posted by cyberpfalcon on March 21, 2012

I’ve been a big fan of SoulCalibur ever since the SoulCalibur II (which is actually the third game). So when SoulCalibur V was announced, I was excited. Then they said that they were going to replace most of the cast, which made me skeptical, but still excited. Then the game came out, and I played it. That made me disappointed.

Now, I’m not saying that SoulCalibur V is a bad game. In fact, I think that it’s a good game, however, there are just so many things that makes the newest installment in this series a disappointment.

Let’s go over the gameplay. SoulCalibur V is a fighting game. It’s a 3D weapons fighting game that’s primarily based on inputting the correct strings of buttons rather than comboing with special moves. So to make it a bit more clearer, it’s more like Virtua Fighter rather than Street Fighter.
The fighting system is solid, with players using a series of moves which results in a high-or-low guessing game. This time, a special move called “Critical Edge” has been added in. These Critical Edges are basically special moves that spice up the gameplay. Also added are Brave Edges, which are special variations of regular moves. There is a ton more details about the fighting system in this game that I haven’t talked about, but to sum it up, the core fighting system is solid, even though this installment allows players to perform juggles a bit more than the previous installments (which, in my opinion, is not a good thing, since we don’t want a SoulCalibur that’s like Tekken, we want a SoulCalibur game).

So we have a solid core system in place, that’s good.

Now then, let’s move on to the modes that the game has to offer.

… and it was at this point in the article that I realized that pretty much everyone else has said most of what I’m going to say.
For example Angry Joe’s review, or Joystiq’s review.

So rather than bore you all with a long article about my opinion on the game, which is pretty much what the two links say (with some minor variations here and there), I’ll just list the good and the bad (sorry, no ugly here).

The Good:

  • Battle system is mostly still the great system that the Soul series has been known for
  • Character designs are great, new characters look great, old characters get cool redesigns
  • Characters who use new styles are pretty cool and inventive (new styles as in a style that isn’t a copy from a character in previous games…, we’ll get to that)
  • Critical Edges and Brave Edges are welcome additions to the gameplay, with Brave Edges being better versions of existing moves, and Critical Edges being Super Moves, both at the cost of your special meter; they give the well-known system some refreshment and some cool new moves for new players and veterans to try
  • An actual story mode, taking a page out of Mortal Kombat (2011) and Dead of Alive: Dimensions, although…, if you look in the bad, you’ll see a counter point… several of them
  • The cutscenes in the story mode are gorgeous…, when they’re cutscenes
  • The story is… okay…
  • EZIO AUDITORE DA FIRENZE
  • Gorgeous graphics and a great soundtrack
  • Can register rivals in muliplayer, keeping track of your rivals’ progression
  • Replays – they’re saved automatically (limited of course), and then you can permanently save some of them to your HDD
  • Character Creation – fun as always, can create your own or dress up the already existing characters, lots more things you can do this time, like adding stickers or CHANGING THE COLOUR OF YOUR WEAPONS
  • ..EZIO AUDITORE DA FIRENZE, sorry, he’s just an awesome choice, and he’s really fun to use
  • Nice lobby system in multiplayer

And now, for The Bad:

  • Single player is lacking… ALOT
  • Story mode focuses mostly on Patroklos and Pyrrha, AT LEAST HALF OF THE CAST DON’T EVEN SHOW UP IN THE STORY, and the ones (besides the main two characters) that do show up are only there for quick cameos, why have a story mode if you’re not going to showcase your roster?
  • In story mode, you only use… FIVE CHARACTERS in total (two of them are actually still Patroklos and Pyrrha, so from a story standpoint, three, from a gameplay standpoint, five), why have a story mode if you’re not going to let the players experience most, if not all, of your characters?
  • The story is… okay…, it’s really only tolerable
  • … WHY IS MOST OF THE STORY TOLD THROUGH SEPIA COLOURED STILLS INSTEAD OF THE GORGEOUS CUTSCENES?
  • The character roster, while having some great characters…, manages to have THREE mimics (as in they randomly choose other characters’ moves to use for that round), one is fine, but THREE?!
  • Most of the cast are replacements, in fact, most of the cast uses styles that are pretty much copies of characters they’ve left out. Why bring in a new cast then? Why did you skip 17 years? WHAT WAS THE POINT?!
  • Speaking of mimics, it’s bad enough that they took out Sophitia and Cassandra (two of my favourite characters), but there are now THREE selectable characters that use the short sword and shield style (alright, this point is a bit nitpicky, but add the fact that they have three mimics too…, and the two points really tick me off)
  • No Talim 😦
  • Arcade mode… HAS NO CHARACTER ENDINGS
  • Legendary Souls mode is basically a really, really, really hard arcade mode with the A.I. cheating (More on that in a bit)
  • Quick Battle mode is just a mode where you fight CPU of varying difficult. In II, we had Weapons Master mode, which was fun and full of varying challenges, III had a Chronicles of the Sword mode (while different, it was fun), IV had a Tower mode (which is really just challenges, but getting to customize your characters with different stats to try to beat the tower was fun). So…, WHY DO WE ONLY HAVE QUICK BATTLE MODE IN THIS GAME, WHERE ALL YOU DO IS FIGHT CPU?! AND WORSE, AT THE HIGHER DIFFICULTIES, THEY CHEAT.
  • In various modes, the A.I. cheats. It’s basically psychic (IT READS YOUR CONTROLLER INPUTS), and can pull off moves that shouldn’t be allowed (for example, a move requires crouching, I’ve seen the CPU pull it off many, many times without crouching). So instead of programming actually smarter A.I., the team (might not be the devs, maybe the executives decided to do this, who knows) decides to just give the CPU psychic powers and allow them to pull off moves that aren’t possible…, great.
  • WHERE IS THE BACKSTORY ON ALL THESE CHARACTERS?! WHO THE *bleep* IS XIBA?! WHY DOES HE HAVE KILIK’S STAFF?! … ETC.
  • No Talim 😦 Or Sophitia. Or Cassandra. Or Yun-seong. (You know, I probably wouldn’t be as upset about this if they had Story Mode tell us what happened to the characters. Heck, I probably wouldn’t be upset if the NEW characters at least had profiles or something IN THE GAME to tell me who they are and what they’re fighting for. The fact that most of the new characters have no backstory that’s shown IN THE GAME or even IN THE MANUAL just makes me miss the characters that I’ve grown to love over the years.)
  • In Character Creation…, a lot of the parts… float. They don’t fit the characters, they just float around them. Try putting a breastplate on a thinner (or even normal-sized) character, it floats. The fact that they got all the parts to fit in SoulCalibur IV makes this an even more sour point.

So as you can see, for nearly everything good that I have to say about the game, I have counterpoints.

So to summarize, SoulCalibur V is a good game, the gameplay is great. However it doesn’t build on what they did in the previous series, and it’s lacking so much content. If this was priced lower (much lower), maybe I would feel justified, but at a full retail price and compared to the fact that we had a ton more content in IV and previous installments, SoulCalibur V is a disappointment.

So if you’re a fan of the Soul series, I’d say wait for a price drop and stick with IV for a while (unless if you’re THAT big of a fan, then you probably already have this). If you’re new to the series, get IV and wait for a price drop before you get V. If you’re new to fighting games…, get IV first. (Or, you could just rent the game first, and see if you want to take the full bite.)

Oh yeah, speaking of which, a pre-order bonus from Gamestop (at least in Canada) was an Ivy bobblehead. Whose great idea was this? Let’s take our characters who’s known for her… round parts… and make those parts flat while making her head the roundest!
(On that note, apparently, Ivy is chaste. She was infected by the Soul Edge, so she doesn’t want to pass down the curse. … again, why are interesting tidbits about characters left out of fighting games? I mean, seriously, I know we can search the Internet, but if you have a profile already written, PUT IT IN THE GAME. Besides, it being in the game makes it more official… Hm…, maybe that tidbit isn’t canon then…, if anyone knows the source of that, let me know)

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Another Attempt At Unleashing The Force (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II Review)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on February 14, 2011

Recently, my friend got me Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for the PS3 (thanks, Robin!). And…, I finished it in 8 hours. The main story (both light side and dark side endings) and just passing the extra challenges only took 8 hours… If I had bought this at full retail price like I did with the first The Force Unleashed, I’d be angry. In fact, now that I look back, I was upset about how short the first game was too, as good of a game as it was. This game, however, doesn’t get to use the excuse of being a short but good game, because this game is basically the first game with the smallest of changes, a story that is barely satisfying, and is actually a bit shorter than the first game.

Let’s just get this out of the way first, does Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II live up to any of the hype? No, no it doesn’t. Is the Force unleashed this time? No. What about the exciting story of finding out if Starkiller is a clone? YOU NEVER FIND OUT (before anyone says anything, in my opinion, the extra cutscenes that are not part of the main game don’t prove anything, Darth Vader could be lying, and that could have been a clone too)! Having two lightsabers instead of one this time should be awesome, right? No, it doesn’t make lightsaber combat different from the first game at all, in fact, I’m pretty sure that all of his lightsaber combos are EXACTLY THE SAME! Boy…, this series is really bad at living up to it’s hype…

The story is about Starkiller (or his clone, you never find out) escaping from Darth Vader again, and searching for Juno, his love interest from the last game. Along the way, he meets up with the Rebels and… that’s really it. There’s not much to the story, but I suppose it does its job.

In terms of gameplay, there are a few tiny little differences, but otherwise, it feels exactly like the first game. First, there is the addition of Starkiller in free-fall, where he’s dodging obstacles. Fun, but nothing significant. Second, they removed the Lightning Shield power and replaced it with the Jedi Mind Trick… Granted, the Jedi Mind Trick is interesting, allowing you to either make enemies jump to their deaths or turn against their allies temporarily. However, in my opinion, the Jedi Mind Trick gets boring quickly, and while the Lightning Shield wasn’t the greatest power on Earth, it was Starkiller’s unique power and no other Jedi had used it before. Third, the upgrading system has been simplified, the only thing you can upgrade now are Force powers, gone is the need to upgrade your Saber combos or things like Health or Defense. This third difference is probably the only significant upgrade from the first game that’s worth mentioning, because it makes lightsaber combat a lot less tedious in the early stages in the game, as it means that you start off with most of your lightsaber combos already, and you don’t have to purchase basic ones.

Do note though, that the game assumes that you’ve already played the first game, as it doesn’t really bother to teach you anything beyond the basic Force powers and how to attack, so the learning curve is a little bit steep for people who haven’t played the first game. However, it’s very manageable, and not too hard to pick up.

Also, the loading times are MUCH better than the first game’s.

The challenges that come with the game are… lackluster. They’re basically things like survive waves of enemies and getting to a goal under a time limit. They don’t add a lot to the game, and unless if you really love the game, you’ll probably not be bothered to get Platinum on them just to unlock a few more costumes.

So is the game good? Yeah, it’s a fun game that I enjoyed. In fact, if you’re a Star Wars fan and liked the first game, I’d recommend it to you. Just don’t buy it at the original retail price, in my opinion, the game’s only worth $20-$30.

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The Civil War Of The Ultimate Alliance (Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Review)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on February 3, 2011

Sometime ago, about a month before I started this blog, I wrote a review of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 for my friend’s blog. For the sake of completeness, here it is:

———-
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is awesome! It’s an enjoyable game with a good story. It also doesn’t get too RPGy, which some people complain about, since the last few Ultimate Alliance games had more RPG elements. However in my opinion, I found this to be better, since this means that there aren’t useless powers to accidentally give points to. And seriously, its a superhero game – we want the action.

Overall, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is a good experience, both single player and multiplayer (by that I mean offline co-op, I haven’t tried online yet). The only complaint I have are the loading times, but it’s not that bad. Loading times are only around half a minute or so… which is far better than Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

I’m quite happy that I preordered Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, since it looks like they were sold out very quickly, and I got Juggernaut! While Juggernaut isn’t one of my favourite characters, he’s actually quite fun to use, so that’s good. And I’m pleased with how the developers included some of the lesser known heroes instead of only the popular ones. Plus, its not an easy game either, but it strikes a good balance between being easy and too hard. You should definitely try out the game.
———-

The original review can be found here.
While you are there, please check out his blog and his book, “Lessons From The Successful Investor“.

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Vengeance of the Dark Knight (Batman Vengeance Review)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on May 15, 2010

Well…, better late than never? Anyways, on with the review!

I love Batman. The movies, the comics, the cartoons, the video games. Batman is one of my favourite superheroes because he uses his wits, gadgets, martial arts skills, and, most of all, his undying determination to fight crime. The most recent good Batman game is, of course, Batman: Arkham Asylum. However, let’s look back on another good Batman game. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Batman Vengeance for the PS2.

Batman Vengeance is based off Batman: The Animated Series, artistically as well as storywise. With that said, the graphics look great, and emulate the style of Batman: The Animated Series very well. The story of the game is well told and enjoyable; it is based of the canon of Batman: The Animated Series, and is told in the style of it as well. Overall, this game pays homage to Batman: The Animated Series with it’s story told through gorgeous cutscenes and graphics.

The gameplay for this game is generally good. Batman Vengeance is an Action Adventure game, which means running around and beating goons and bosses up in various ways. The game’s combat system consists of melee combos and a first person view mode which is used to throw batarangs or to use the grappling hook. Regular combos are straightforward, however, they sometimes feel clunky and aren’t very smooth. Using gadgets in first person view is interesting, but having to switch between two views will need some getting used to. Also, stealth is recommended during many parts of the game, meaning that this is not a straight action game.

Batman Vengeance is an enjoyable game overall, with a great story and an average combat system. However, there aren’t a lot of extra features besides the main game, so game’s replayability is not that high. If you’re a fan of Batman, and can get this for a discounted price, definitely give Batman Vengeance a try!

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No…, the Force is Still Leashed. (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Review)

Posted by cyberpfalcon on April 23, 2010

Hello all of you out there! Alright, finally, all my exams are done, so let’s get this review out!

I’ll admit it, after watching the Star Wars films as a kid and as a teenager, I wanted to have the powers of the Jedi. I wanted to have a lightsaber to fling around and I wanted to have all the powers of the Force at my disposal (I still want that, but that’s an entirely different story). In fact, probably a lot of you out there have, at least once, imagined yourself with the powers of the Force. That is why, when Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was announced, I was excited. It was game that was supposed to allow us use the Force as creatively as we wanted to. As the titles of the game says, the Force was supposed to be unleashed in this game. So, let us take a look at the PS3 version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and see if the Force was with this one.

Firstly, the story of the game is set between Episodes III and IV of the Star Wars Saga, and deals with Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller. The story is told very well throughout the game, and is definitely a great tale worthy of the Star Wars name.

Of course, a good game also needs good gameplay, and this game does deliver it. First of all, The Force Unleashed is an Action Adventure game like the Devil May Cry series or the God of War series, and thus it uses a lot of the same conventions such as combos, power upgrades, and quick time events.  The Force Unleashed manages to take these conventions, give it a Star Wars spin to it, and make it a fun and enjoyable game to play.

Lightsaber combat in The Force Unleashed is fun. There is a variety of cool combos that you can do, and you can also mix your lightsaber attack with your force powers (for example, electrifying your lightsaber with Force Lighting, or performing a Force Push at the end of a series of lightsaber slashes). Force powers in this game, while not as unleashed as it was made out to be, are fun to use, and are actually quite useful in the game. Also, what I liked about this game was that upgrading actually causes your Force powers to gain effects (for example, after an upgrade or two, the Lightning Shield can also reach and zap your enemies).

So while it’s nothing groundbreaking (in fact, pretty much all of the Force powers have been implemented in other Star Wars games already), the gameplay in The Force Unleashed is a fun experience.

I also loved the music in this game. The music compliments the game, and is a great to listen to.

However, the big factor that stopped this from being a great game are the loading times. First of all, the game has to take time to load… pretty much anything. First of all, regular loading between stages already takes longer than average, but when there are loading times that take around a minute for things like the upgrade screen, the lightsaber customization screen, changing the colour of the lightsaber, the level selection screen, the costume selection screen, and other little things, it all adds up to a big, fat, huge annoyance. Also, it actually seems like the loading screen itself has its own loading times…

Another annoying bit from this game is that if you change your costume in the middle of a level, you have to start the entire level again (which of course, means loading the whole level over again), and your costume is automatically changed everything you finish a stage… So changing Starkiller’s costume is a very… arduous task to say the least.

Alright, the title probably gave it away by now, but no, the Force has not been unleashed in this game. While the story and the gameplay are good, the annoying factors prevented this game from a great game. However, this is still one of the best Star Wars game out there, and is generally a good game. Just… play it when you have some time on your hands.

Now that exams are over, stay tuned and hopefully the next review will be up within the next two weeks.

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