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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 11:59:52     -    skate. (360)

    After what was admittedly several more hours of play I find the game much more entertaining. Now having gotten used to the trick system It is easy to do large lines of tricks just by going nuts on the thumbsticks. In my playing I obtained sponsor companies for both my board and shoes, so I perks for rocking their gear. I also worked for two magazines and seem to never exhaust the videos or photo-shoots I could have. The way in which the game has you film videos is very creative and allows you infinite possibilities as well. You are given a list of films each with a different sequence, point value, or special circumstance. Then you skate around the city and shoot them when you find an appropriate spot, so everywhere you skate is totally up to you.

    Another feature of the game which as I complete more challenges is getting more important to me, are the spots. Around the city there are 30+ places the designers deemed as 'spots'. These are all massive ramps or rails, or have ridiculous angles which make for nice tricks. To find the spots though you must explore the city, then when you find one you have to own it by doing a massive trick. Once a spot is owned you can use it in multiplayer and it is marked on your map for you to later go back to.

    In skate you can tell that a lot of though went into the layout of the city, as the game is directly dependent on the environment which you preform you tricks. I thought it was interesting however how much the city looks like a city. Very rarely in skate do you find yourself saying, 'that ramp wouldn't actually be there.' This is really one of the things that sets it apart, you feel like what your doing has some realism. A good example of this are curbs. In a skateboarding game it would be vastly easier to just smooth out curbs and allow you to skate over them, but in skate they are realistic, which means your lines can be blocked when transferring from street to sidewalk. This added realism makes you view the world as you would in reality and incorporate the curb in your trick sequence.

    The other design quality worth noting is the level of tricks. In the past boarding games of all sorts have been plagued by having the harder tricks totally out of the realm of real human possibilities. Skate doesn't. I'n skate the hardest tricks you can possibly do are executed by pro skaters all the time. This combined with the rest of the experience gives skate a ridiculous amount of realism when compared to other games like it.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 11:33:35     -    skate. (360)

    Skate is a 3d, 3rd person skateboarding game for the Xbox 360. When the game starts you create a player who, after an intro video with some insane productions values, enters the world of amateur skateboarding. From there on the premise of the game is gaining popularity in the world of skateboarding.

    Everything is new in this game, from the menu to the map to the trick scheme, the learning curve is tackled through interesting tutorial-esk challenges in the beginning. Besides freely skating around a fully sandbox environment, you may talk to other skaters and photographers to complete their challenges and get your name in the magazines. The challenges stack and are increasingly difficult, building on the previous one.

    Actually playing the game took a bit of learning in itself, unlike most games like it, you use movements of the control sticks to preform tricks as opposed to buttons.To do a kickflip for instance you flick the right stick down and then to the upper left. Harder tricks have more difficult movement schemes, similar to how you would move your feet on an actual skateboard. Grinds are an area I though was handled poorly, you simple land on an acceptable surface and it begins to grind. Then if you want to switch grinds or angles you simply move the left thumbstick. Switching grinds is slow and difficult process not to mention the game excludes some of the cooler styles of grind.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 11:05:17     -    The Legend of Zelda (NES)

    The second dungeon had just provided me with the magic boomerang which gave me extended range. I found myself back at the game 30 mins after I had previously stopped. Off with my boomerang I chucked my way to the end of the third dungeon whose boss was the coolest yet. A large blue carnivorous plant gave me some trouble, my trusty boomerang was useless but resorting to bombs took care of him.

    The game manages to keep you entertained as you quest through a visually boring environment. After the third dungeon link is provided with a raft which you must use to get to the fourth dungeon. This time the dungeon is dark and you must use a candle to light your way, By the time I had boomeranged and slashed my way to the forth boss I was very pumped to fight him. Link wasn’t able to throw his sword so the only way to seize victory was to run and slash and run and slash. Link fought valiantly but after and unfortunate death I was able to claim victory in the fourth dungeon.

    The key element that made the game so addicting was its openness and being able to choose how you complete it. It is totally possible to get to the end with out ever using your sword. It was one of the first games to really toy with a sandbox style of play like this, making that the chief design feature to set the game apart.

    The game is very uniformly 2d with 8 bit graphics so there isn’t much by way of eye-candy. The game however keeps you hooked through a good rewards system. Every dungeon yields something new and interesting to keep you involved. Also it is worthy to note that the game is pretty short compared to modern games, though this was solely a limit of technology at the time, it helps to make the game beatable. Had it been much longer and getting to the end would have felt like a chore.

    One area I found lacking was that of the story. I almost felt like the story was more formulated with knowledge of the franchise and other games than what was explained in the text of the game. It was my understanding that a good portion of the story was in the original instructions which are long gone. If I was not familiar with the characters sorting out who Gannon, Zelda, and Link are in relation, and what this triforce thing is, would be difficult with game text alone.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 10:38:45     -    The Legend of Zelda (NES)

    The Legend of Zelda is a 2d overhead adventure game. You play as link a fantasy hero whose mission is to save the princess zelda and get back the Triforce of power from the evil Gannon. In order to rescue Zelda you must explore the land of Hyrul collecting fragments of the Triforce of wisdom which eventually leads you to the princess and a battle with the pig-like Gannon.

    The NES was slightly before my time, I do own one, but never played zelda the first time around. My first experience with this franchise was the N64 release of Ocarina of Time, so any comparison I draw could be warped by that opinion. I thought about this going in, as the NES turned on and took me to the start menu I wondered if it would be any good, or if the newer games spoiled it for me. 5 Minutes in I was hooked.

    The game is simple, you wander around a 2d environment looking for pieces of the Triforce, and killing enemies. Granted the game is 2d, you begin to feel for Link’s quest and start feeling a drive to finish. I powered through the first two dungeons in one sitting and was very pleased with links triumphs to that point. I found myself not wanting to stop playing even though it was an old 2d game of which I have the wii version at my disposal.

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