Monday, February 23, 2009
Halo wars has been anticipated for a long time as it's promised a streamlined console strategy game tying in with the halo universe.
Unfortunately for all of us, it was immediately eaten by the hype monster.
The plot is relatively unknown to me at this point. I haven't quite finished the campaign, but I hope to soon. In tl;dr fashion - Bad shit happens, and it's set 20 years before the trilogy we all know and love. There's a good assortment of characters which fit into the universe well, we've got an arbiter, a brute chieftain, the prophet of Regret. For the humans, we've got mister battle hardened soldier™ sergeant John Forge. No, he's not spartan 117. Sassy female A.I. Serina, Captain James Cutter of the Spirit of Fire (no star trek here) and Ellen Anders, professor of something. I don't know what. Like I said, they tie in with the universe very well.
The gameplay is where it shines, with some fun battles to be had. There's a great assortment of units and familiar faces. As you begin a skirmish or battle you select which commander you want - each has their own special abilities and units. Captain Cutter can call in the Elephants. Remember those giant, really freakin' slow mobile bases from Halo 3? Yeah, those ones. Guess what? They're giant, freakin' slow mobile bases. He can also upgrade marines into ODST helljumpers who can be launched across the map with a special ability of his. There's some other stuff, too. Anyway - Base management is very simple, with scrolling with the left stick over buildings and just hitting A to open up windows. You then point the left stick in the direction of what you want to train and hit A again. Works the same as the covenant, but they play a little differently. Onto them. Their leaders don't sit around in ships above the planet, they get up close and personal as incredibly powerful combat units with spectacular special attacks.
For those who like to have matches against CPU opponents, there's a skirmish mode included. There's a slight lack of content, however. You'd expect a bit more maps. DLC man to the rescue.
The graphics are good for the most part, as you'll see some nice shine and shadows, along with great detail for units. My only two complaints is that you can't zoom in all that far to see the action. The other being a few awkward framerate drops when things get heated up. You can see the marines holding teeny tiny assault rifles, and the spartans with their teeny tiny spartan lasers. And also the covenant, with their teeny tiny needlers and carbines. I'll tell you what's not teeny tiny, though. The units.
You can see some impressively large units stomping and flying across the battlefield, such as the scarab, the covenant's uber weapon of uberness. And also planes. Lots and lots of planes. With big missiles. biiiiiig missiles.
The controls are good, actually. I was surprised. They take a little getting used to, but once you get a hold of them, they work very well. The left bumper selects all your units, the right selects all on screen, and X moves. Y controls special attacks such as running enemies over with the warthog and tossing grenades with the marines. The right stick can rotate and zoom in the view, with a handy reset as you click down on it. Up on the d-pad selects the covenant's leader or opens the human's power window. Through this, they can fire mac-cannons, repair a group of units, launch helljumpers, that kind of thing. Right goes to anything important that's happening (such as being attacked), down hops to your largest group of units, and left cycles through bases. Like I said above, base management is simple with a few presses of the A button and merely pointing the left stick in a direction.
Halo wars comes with an incredible orchestral soundtrack to keep up with the shooter trilogy. It's filled with a collection of great pieces that play when you're assaulting a base and engaging enemy units. The sound design is good, as well. There's a familiar set of sounds from all the units, such as marines firing their assault rifles and spartans with their lasers. Yes, the banshee's "howl" is included too.
Overall, halo wars is a fun strategy game. You'd best be a fan of the series beforehand, however. It leaves anyone else in the dark.
Not alone in the dark. Oh god no.
Graphics - 8.0 Like I said, an awkward framerate loss keeps it from being better. They're good, though.
Control - 8.0 The control does very well for a console strategy game. It's not terribly good for micromanaging, however.
Sound - 9.0 A brilliant soundtrack and a great assortment of sounds keep the game from being dull.
Value - 7.8 I hear the campaign's a bit short, plus a lack of skirmish maps is a disappointment.
Overall - 8.0
It's fun while it lasts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go chill with my posse of 19 other players online.
Special Thanks to Angely Grecia of PeadPR for sending down the limited edition!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Deadly Creatures, eh? Now this certainly has been an interesting adventure.
Deadly creatures follows a scorpion and a tarantula as they go through the wastes of the sonoran desert. You'll be adventuring through cactus, bramble field, hollow log, and so on and so forth. You'll be battling other arachnids and insects, such as tarantula hawks and gila monsters.
The controls are quite good, for a motion based beat 'em up. Start a combo with A, then swing the wiimote to branch out. Left for a swipe, up for a downwards jab, you get the idea. The nunchuk keeps it simple with the analog stick moving, the C button aiming attacks and Z for jumping. Or, if you're playing the scorpion, blocking. The controls are precise enough to battle any other critters you'll find along the way. There's a few motion-base finishers to be performed. They're a little annoying to actually get them to work, but when they work, they're spectacular.
Now the graphics were a spectacle for the wii. It's quite amazing, showing off some great lighting and shadow effects. You'll see the individual little hairs on the tarantula's leg and also on other bugs. The framerate keeps up very well with the graphics, I've yet to see it actually drop.
Plot-wise, the game is simple. A pair of men are digging for some gold that was left in the area during the american civil war.
Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper do a good job in voicing them. It's nothing too engaging, but it's just enough to keep you going.
The gameplay is where the game shines. It's fun stuff ripping through other nasties and trudging through the bleak desert wastes. You get a variety of attacks, such as a web shot, sting, venom bite, and the game hands them to you at a good pace. Get bored of one move, and you'll have another ready for you.
The length is the only disappointment. The game is 10 chapters long with each being about 20-30 minutes long. There's a few unlockable art galleries to go collect (or, go back for) which are given by collecting grubs scattered throughout the levels, and that's about it.
All in all, deadly creatures is a fun adventure which is a good addition to the actually GOOD third-party wii games. That makes three. Pick it up if you've got a spare bit of cash and looking for a fun time with the desert kingdom.
Graphics - 8.0
They definitely stand out as some of the finest I've seen on the wii.
Gameplay - 8.0
The gameplay is as fun as the graphics are good, with some great battles to be had.
Control - 7.5
When it works, it works. During the finishers, they can be a little tricky.
Value - 7.5
Like I keep saying, deadly creatures is a fun time. It's a tad short, however...
Overall - 7.8
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Good god what a piece of crap this was.
Alone in the Dark is a remake (I think so...) of an old survival horror classic, which follows a guy going into a haunted mansion. He then has to survive against ghouls and monsters with what he can find. Now, forget all that and get a new plot on the field. Apparently, bad shit happened and some guy is now against the forces of... uhm.. Hell? I, uh, think so. Really, I don't recall it specifying.
The gameplay was somewhat dull. The first level takes you through a burning building which is astoundingly boring, even with you pulling fire extinguishers out of nowhere and putting out the fire. Don't worry, things pick up a little when monsters start showing up. Scratch that. MONSTER. There's just one, and all I remember was smacking it across the face with some blunt object.
Now the graphics weren't too bad. It's a shame they had to be wasted on such a crappy game.
The game showed off some nice lighting and depth of field effects, and, being a main component of the game the fire sprites weren't too bad themselves. Character models, although a little wooden, looked good enough.
Now, this is the section where I should be talking about the control. But then I remembered - What control?
Graphics - 8.0
Gameplay - 4.0
Control - 2.0
Value - -4,875,234,000
All in all, Alone in the Dark was a disappointing adventure through a burning building and the rubble of the front desk. No, I never got past the second level but that didn't stop the game from being horribly lousy.
It's some sort of corner, could be nook. Possibly a cranny. Anyway, I'll be posting a few video game reviews occasionally. Don't expect them terribly often, but I'll post them when I've got time.