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    Mar 22nd, 2008 at 00:19:31     -    Turok (360)

    SUMMARY
    In Turok for Xbox 360 is a fast paced FPS with DINOSAURS!!! This game features cool weapons, scary boss monsters, realistic AI, and stunning graphics. The object of the game is to shoot dinosaurs and enemies, and survive your journey through a dangerous world.

    GAMEPLAY 1
    You play as a rogue native American soldier named Turok who has fight his way through and off of a foreign planet. You crash land with a group of soldiers that fight by your side. This is a cool feature because it is always nice to have a companion playing by your side, weather its AI or another player. Turok and the group of people he are with are all badasses so it makes you feel like a badass. They did a good job of getting hooked and into the story.

    The weapons on Turok are sick. Its nice to have a bow and arrows in a FPS, not to mention a blade, hence the native americaness. On top of that you have all of your classic smgs, pistols, shotguns, laser guns, orb gun, grenades, and flamethrower. Whats cool about this game is the duel wielding ability, its so nice to have 2 shotguns when a pack a raptors are nipping at your legs. The knife effect is sweet, you have to time it just write and you go to a third person perspective to do some cool stabs, kicks, punches, tackles, w/e and effectively the stab a dino dead. Its cool.

    The Bosses in this game are absolutely incredible. Being able to blast at a T-Rex, GIANT SQUID/DINOSAUR/LOCKNESS MONSTER THING, a spider tank, and I havn’t even beaten the game yet. The monsters are huge in comparison to you. The first time everyone sees the T-Rex you always get the same 2 words, “Holy Shit.” I was scared the first time I encountered the giant beast in the game.


    GAMEPLAY 2
    The environment and levels you fight in are overwhelming awesome. Deep in the jungle you question whether it’s a real tree on your television or one generated by a video game. It is so detailed, the views from mountain peak very are crazy intricate. Unlike most games where the fire and water look solid, in Turok all the elements are in full effect. The wind, fire, water, rocks, everything in the levels look real, they did a really good job.

    This game was very fun to play, the single player mode offered 3 different difficulties, normal, hard, and inhuman. Having these 3 different difficulties made this game a lot of fun because normal was easy, hard was hard, but inhumane wasn’t impossible, it felt like almost realistic. Unlike most hardest setting in games the enemie is every hard to kill while your very easy to kill. The difficulties in Turok seem to only determine how strong you are, not how weak or strong your enemies are, so inhumane is a lot of fun. U go down just as quick as your enemeies, gotta be sneaky.

    The multiplayer was also very fun to play. It had a some gametypes that were a lot of fun. My personal favorite was the deathmatch, each player had a certain amount of lives, last man alive or first to 15 wins. Lots of fun.


    DESIGN
    Turok did a great job when designing the core elements to this game. The gameplay was fun, the graphics were amazing, the AI was amazing, the guns were sick, there were dinosaurs, it featured a great storyline, lots of blood, more dinosaurs, gaint bosses, special abilities, long levels, fast paced play. Turok had it all, except for a few things.

    I was severly disappointed with the lack of multiplayer on one xbox. It had online multiplayer, but unlike a bunch of other online games, you cant have 2 people on the same xbox at the same time. You can play online together unless u have separate copies of the game. You cant even play co-op, which is the greatest disappointment based on that this game has one of the coolest single player modes I’ve ever seen.

    The game developers overall did a good job of covering everything except for the multiplayer issue.

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    Feb 19th, 2008 at 00:43:55     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    Summary

    Mario 64 is the first of the Mario series where Mario is in a 3d world. Unlike the original Mario games where you run through a series of courses with a limited amount of playing time, Mario 64 offers many different worlds with a series of obstacles that you have to overcome. Each world has 6 different stars that you have to get. Each star has a different obstacle you have to overcome before you get it.


    Gameplay 1

    Within my first couple of hours of gameplay I was able to get through most of the stars in three different worlds. The gameplay was unique to the Mario series and was fun to play. Each star you have to get in each world is like a mission. You aren’t just running through a course for time. You can earn stars through boss battles, collecting 8 red coins, getting to hard to reach places, racing, puzzle solving, etc. Having more than one objective makes the game a lot more fun to play than the original Marios.

    It was good to see the classic storyline and character list in Mario 64. You play as Mario, the Italian plumber who has the fight through wave after wave of Bowser’s minions and Bowser himself to save the princess Peach. I like the story, I feel that if Mario wasn’t fighting Bowser it would upset a lot of fans.

    Mario in the 64 version is just plain sick. It’s a lot of fun to control Mario because of the amount of things you do. Mario can kick, punch, duck, dive, tackle, throw, leap far distances, jump very high, do back flips, front flips, jump off walls, get shot out of cannons, crawl and slide. As a Mario fan since the original Mario, being able to do more than just jump was awesome to see the first time I played Mario 64. Its sweet to be able to make Mario leap over a large gap and do a extra high front flip to kick-jump off a wall.

    Something really cool I noticed while playing was the amount of little rewards you can find throughout the levels. There are certain objects in levels that trigger rewards like coins or extra lives, but there are a lot of hidden ones throughout the game. For example, in the first level if you ran around a certain patch of grass you would be rewarded with an extra life. There are even certain unmarked spots on the map that teleport Mario. Which come in handy when one spot teleports Mario from the bottom of the mountain to the top.


    Gameplay 2

    For my second couple of hours of gameplay I was able to complete a few more worlds and achieve some new abilities. I enjoyed how the challenges incorporated the design of the level. It kept things interesting. For example when you became metal Mario in the under water levels you get the ability to walk on the ocean floor, which is impossible to do while swimming. Introducing the new abilities later on in the game also helped keep things fun. Plus with the new abilities you acquire you can go back to previous worlds and use them there; like the floating island in the first level where there is a block you have to unlock first before you can use it

    A cool feature of Mario 64 that other Mario games don’t offer is the order you play the levels in. In the original games you didn’t have a choice which level you played, you had a fixed order of levels you had to complete. In Mario 64 you don’t have to collect all the stars in a particular order, you have the option of jumping for world to world. You don’t have get all the stars in one world to continue to the next. Even in the world, you don’t have to get stars in a fixed order. This helps keep players intrigued and prevents bored from being in the same setting for too long.

    One thing that I didn’t think was very good about Mario 64 was that there was little to no replay value for star missions. There is a slight record system of how many coins you collect with each star where your have a high score is the amount of coins you collected. I feel that this isn’t a good enough motive to play missions again. Time should have been recorded. It is a lot more fun to do things quicker than it is to take your time roaming throughout large maps for every enemy to kill and coin to collect. The problem with Mario 64 and all the rest of the Mario games is that there is little replay value.


    Design

    The level design in Mario 64 is nothing like the original Mario games. Each level is a themed 3d world where you are free to roam within the borders of the level. The levels are huge and can it can take several minutes to borders in each level are either walls you cant jump over or a fall to your death. I noticed some similarity in the first 3 levels I played though, each level was just a mountain, where you always find a star at the top. Mario 64 doesn’t restrict Mario from leaping from the top of these mountains either, and having the freedom to watch Mario fall through the air is cool.

    The reward structure in Mario 64 keeps the player in the game. Each world is behind a door that requires you to have collected a certain amount of stars to pass through. After collecting stars you are rewarded access to new worlds to collect more stars. And with new worlds comes new abilities like Mario’s Wings and Metal Mario. It keeps players playing because they want to discover what worlds and abilities hide behind each door. The ultimate reward however is collecting all the stars and meeting Yoshi.

    Mario 64 provides a lot of challenges not seen in previous games of the series. In fact, there are several different kinds of challenges such as, boss battles, solving puzzles, races, collecting items, and having to navigate through hard courses. The fact that there are so many different types of challenges makes Mario 64 a much more entertaining game than the original Mario games.

    Although there are a lot of different kinds of enemies in Mario 64 I feel that there isn’t enough of them in each level. The levels are pretty empty for how large they are. I didn’t like how I would die from obstacles more than enemies. They were so easy to kill, there should be more enemies to jump on or punch. After playing for a while I started to get bored of just running and jumping through obstacles. There wasn’t enough combat in Mario 64. The boss battles where ok, nothing special. The lack of fighting in Mario 64 made the game more puzzle/obstacle oriented.

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 23:26:27     -    Gears of War (360)

    Summary

    Gears of War is a fast paced, realistic third person shooter with a tactical twist. The fighting style of this game is unique and unlike any other shooter I’ve played. Similar to paintball; it’s all about having cover and flanking your opponents. You have the option of playing campaign by yourself or with a friend or competing online against players around the world in various gametypes. Gears of War is one of the most hardcore and sickest games I’ve ever played. Its brutal graphics, unique fighting style, and extreme details really make this game great.

    Gameplay 1

    For my first couple of hours of gameplay of Gears of War I played the campaign mode. This game has everything a good campaign should have, great graphics, AI, physics, characters, storyline, etc. It has it all. This game is so detailed, there are so many effects that make the campaign great. It is very hard to put the controller down once you start playing Gears.

    Gears of War has one of the coolest storylines I’ve seen in a video game. You play as Marcus Fenix and the game starts off with you being released from a prison cell in a prison that has been taken over by the Locust Horde. It turns out that years ago, the Locust Horde gathered under every major city and launched a surprise attack killing many . And rather than allow the Horde to keep the spoils of their aggression, humans used chemical weapons and orbital particle beams to neutralize them, along with the cities and bases they controlled.

    The more you play single player the more hooked you get. There are 5 Acts with numerous chapters in each act. And in each act you have the option of taking different paths, split up your squad, and give your squad commands. This adds a replay value to the game. You get so into the story and characters with each cinema scene you get to as you progress through the story. The music in Gears is sweet; it really helps you get lost in the game. With every new wave of enemies you encounter the music picks up, and once you kill them all it dies down again.

    The characters in this game are all hardcore. You and your squad are all huge, and completely decked out with armor. Your character has phrases that he says during combat that people can relate too. Its always awesome to hear Marcus yell “Bring it” when under fire and “Oh yeah” when you get a head shot. It’s appealing to know that your character is a badass, it makes you feel like a badass too when you rip through your enemies. And all of your enemies are demonically fearsome, evil, and ugly.

    The only thing that I disliked about the campaign was that at times you were forced to walk. Who wants to walk. The faster into battle the better.


    Gameplay 2

    For my second couple of hours of Gear of War I decided to play some online matches. Gears of War’s online play is very competitive which makes it a lot of fun. There are ranked matches and player matches with various gametypes like Annex, Warzone, Execution, and Assassination with multiple levels to play them on, you can find yourself playing online for hours.

    The online play is much more fast-paced than the single player mode. Don’t expect to last long without cover. Winning games online requires a lot of skill, Gears isn’t one of those games that you can just pick up and be good at. It requires a steady thumb and a lot of strategy to be a great player. Its defiantly a game aimed towards the hardcore gamer. This is good because a lot of games today try to appeal to too many different types of gamers. It’s nice to see a game dedicated for the skilled gamer.

    A cool feature that Gears of War has is a statistics record. The game keeps track of your headshots, grenade kill, wins, losses, etc. It makes you want to play better and achieve a better record.

    Although Gears of Wars online play is better than most online games, it still has some flaws that it could improve upon. It is a big pain to find games because of how long it takes to refresh the list of available games. For example, when you load up a list you see a game with 6/8 players in it and select it, you often get denied access to the game because the 2 spots were filled while you were refreshing your game list. And when you are denied access to a game you have to completely refresh your gamelist. This gets rather annoying.

    Something I feel that Gears of War could add to its online play, is a ranking system where you are matched up with people of equivalent skill and games that aren’t just 3v3 or 4v4. It would be nice to see 2v2 and battles containing more than 8 players.


    Design

    The way Gears of War is designed is what really sets it above most games out today. The fighting style is unique because of how realistic it is. Most shooters are nothing like real firefights, circle strafing, running out into the open, and jumping around would never be a strategy used in a real firefight. In Gears its all out getting cover and flanking your opponent. You have the ability to get into cover, jump over low cover, dodge roll in all directions, swat turn from cover to cover, and roadie run. Which is what your more likely to see in real combat firefights. Its style is very innovative and not seen in games of the past.

    The weapon design in this game is so sick. The Lancer and Bow are by far my favorite. The Lancer is a machine gun with a chainsaw attachment, so instead of just beating your opponent down, you saw him in half, and there is nothing more satisfying. You would think that a bow wouldn’t stand a chance in a game full of big guns, but the sick think about the Bow is that it shoots explosive arrows. So when you do nail someone, they explode into bits. The sheer brutality of all the weapons make this game very visual stimulating.

    This game is designed to be very graphic, and I love it. The more gore the better. When your seer through the locust in half your chainsaw is revving loud and his arms are failing while blood is shooting everywhere. Even though it’s a third person shooter, slightly transparent blood splats against your screen, it’s a cool effect that adds a level of intensity. When you get shot mid range by a shotgun there is the same effect except much more blood. I have to say the coolest gory feature is the headshots, if you nail someone enough times in the head with the pistol and hit them in the head with a sniper, the head explodes.


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    Jan 29th, 2008 at 03:03:30     -    Halo 3 (360)

    Summary

    Halo 3 is one of the most fun first person shooters today. It is the conclusion of the very successful Halo trilogy. You play as a Master Chief who is supposedly the last super soldier left from the Spartan project, who is genetically enhanced and equipped with MJOLNIR armor that allows your character the ability to jump higher and hit harder than a normal human, plus it gives you a rechargeable shield. The goal of Halo is to save the world by shooting up opposing Covenant aliens and the flood. But once you play online the goal is to shoot your way up the ranks of the Halo 3 online community.


    Gameplay

    The campaign of Halo 3 is stunning. With such a captivating story and intricate levels, its hard to stop playing until you beat the game. I enjoyed every second of Halo 3’s campaign, each level full of action where you are always fighting outnumbered. Each level offers something different, while some levels consist of close range firefights, others will be filled with massive vehicle wars, and others with boss battles.

    There are many ways to play Halo 3’s campaign. You have the option of playing campaign on 4 different difficulties with up to 4 players. Having 4 players on campaign is only possible via Xbox Live because only 2 players can be on the same Xbox playing campaign. The campaign is a more fun with the more people you have playing with you. On top of multiplayer campaign, Halo’s story mode also has the option of adding skull effects. Skulls effects can only be applied after you find the skull located someone in levels. There are 2 kinds of skulls, white skulls and brown skulls. White skulls make the game more fun but do not add to the difficulty of campaign, for example, the grunt birthday skull makes grunts explode into confetti when you get a headshot. Brown skulls make the game harder by making your enemies stronger, smarter, drop less ammo, etc.

    Something cool that none of the other Halo’s campaign’s offered but Halo 3’s did was a scoring system. You get points for kills, and are deducted points for deaths. You earn more points per kill the higher your difficulty setting and you get more points per kill the more brown skulls you have on. You are also awarded extra points for getting headshots, plasma grenade sticks, combo kills (plasma pistol charge up + headshot), and consecutive kills. You have the option of having a free-for-all scoring system where each player has their own personal score, or a team scoring system where there is an accumulative team score. This adds a competitive element to campaign, where the goal changes from just beating the game to achieving the highest score possible.

    The story of Halo is very captivating and kept me interested throughout the entire Halo trilogy. The story takes place in the 2500’s and the Covenant are a group of alien races (Elites, Hunters, Brutes, Jackels, Grunts, and Prophets) lead by Prophets that are on a mission to destroy the human race. The Covenant are far more technologically advanced than humans, so you are always fighting a battle in their favor. On top of the overwhelming Covenant force, you are faced with Flood. The Flood are like zombies, they infect living, bring back the dead, and are on a never ending quest to consume all life. Referred to as “demon” by the Covenant, you play as Master Chief who is the last hope for humanity and has to single handedly defeat the Covenant and stop the spread of the Flood.


    Gameplay 2

    Although the Halo’s campaign is great, the true Halo experience lies in its online multiplayer. Online you can have up to 16 players in one game. You can compete in various game types, ranked, social, and custom, against players all over the world. Once you start playing it’s hard to stop, especially if you keep winning matches.

    Over Xbox live you can compete against players all over the world by yourself or as a team. Online you have an overall rank, and leveled rank per ranked game type. The levels range from 1-50 in all the game types. When you and your friends get a team together, go online and play matches it’s a blast. When you play ranked games you are paired up with players of close or equivalent skill and win, you take experience from your opponents’ rank, when you lose, your opponent takes experience from your rank. It is very competitive which makes the game more fun.

    What is cool about Halo is that if you don’t feel like trying hard in a ranked match you can play a social match. You are matched up with players randomly and your rank isn’t affected. For the experienced player social matches are nice, its always fun to pown some noobs and they serve as a good warm up for ranked matches. And if you get bored of social matches, you can play custom games, where you have the freedom to create the rules of the game, including: game type, weapon types, vehicles, health, speed, etc. for some plain old Halo fun.


    Design

    Personally, I feel that the Halo 3 and the other Halo games are some the best designed first person shooters out. Halo can be played by people with all different skill levels, but it is a game that requires skill to be good at. Unlike a lot of first person shooters, it isn’t easy to get the kill your aiming for unless you execute it properly. You can’t just shoot wild and expect to get the kill, headshots are key. This makes it hard for new players to fight against more experienced players. This is a good thing; there is nothing more annoying when you play a game where skill has little effect on the outcome of multiplayer battles.

    Halo 3 did a really good job with its guns. The assortments of weapons in Halo 3 are balanced and simple. There isn’t a weapon in the game that is obscenely better than all the rest. This helps keep the game less based weapon control and more on skill. If use your arsenal of weapons properly there isn’t one gun that can’t take out another.

    The matchmaking system in Halo 3 is the best matchmaking system I’ve seen to date. You can find a game within seconds of signing online. With so many different game types like free for all, team slayer, team objective, 2v2, etc. there is always something to play. The only setback to the Halo matchmaking is that you can only match up with a player or team with 10 levels of your level. So if your level is in the high 40’s, it could take a long time to find a match, or you may not even be able to find a match in less common game types like lone wolves and team objective. I think that if there are no opponents within 10 levels, you should match up with the next closest person.

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