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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 19:55:20     -    Kane and Lynch (PS3)

    SUMMARY
    Kane and Lynch is a third person shooter for the ps3 . The game lowers you into the middle of a story about two convicts Kane and lynch, who are broken out of prison in order to find some sort of treasure for an evil gang, that Kane hid before he went to jail. The story then shifts to a slightly more individually driven story of Cane trying to save his daughter from the S7ven.

    GAMEPLAY
    For the first forty five minutes of this game I was playing with a few friends (one other simultaneously) on the co op option. To start off with I will say that this game is tons of fun to play with other people. The game almost seems built for co op play with one player playing as Cane and the other as Lynch. The two can tag team save each other by injecting adrenaline and both players must be alive at all times in the game. And what’s more fun than gunning down endless waves of cops with your buddies? Game play is goofy at first probably because we had originally expected a first person shooter, but after about fifteen minutes the game play really starts opening up. As far as a story line goes Cane and Lynch is really a good game. Its almost like a movie I felt like and the voice acting was relatively high rate. However the characters made me want to let the cops kill me because of how worthless they seemed. In most games you have sick bad ass main characters but in cane and lynch you have some guy who looks like a balding child molester and some guy who’s face is nastily defaced. Aside from the bad character design the characters fit their role as convicts and the story gets more and more action packed, and outrages, as you progress.

    GAMEPLAY
    Our second forty five minutes was better than the first. We proceeded to a point in the game where the players have their entire control scheme available to them, which also included the ability to direct a few guys, who followed you around and help out. The storyline went from fun, we robbed a bank to more fun, we went to Cuban jungle and got some cool new clothes and weapons. The characters were also more bearable this round, because of their new attire. Game play was a lot of fun but we did often find ourselves repeating a “scene” over and over again before we conquered it. This got tiring at times but because the challenges were actually difficult it was fun to play and not too unbearable. This aspect made experiencing flow a little difficult however.

    DESIGN
    This game had some good aspects as well as some bad. The game had really good level design and variation. At times you were in the city other times the forest ect. Also the story line in this game was very interesting. It was a relatively realistic seeming story that made it so movie like and that is a pretty innovative design that most games don’t have. On the other hand though the game had horrible characters, and they really made it hard to be into your character and thusly the magic circle in a way. The game created conflict by putting the player among a next generation amount of enemies who were all well equipped with relatively intelligent AI. Also the game had such a perfect plot for heavy conflict it was easy to create conflict with the plot as well as reward players with further knowledge on the plot. I think one of the main reasons we kept playing was to learn more about the plot. The game was also relatively weak on weapons I felt. It seemed like not enough time was spent making them, graphically pleasing or super fun, and when your playing a shooter that is sometimes a key factor. One more innovative design that the creators had were cool cut scene style finish em’s (like the pistol wip in halo). In these cut scenes you do a cool execution but can still be affect by the live action of everyone else ie you can still get gunned down while melee attacking some guy.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:51:11     -    Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

    Summary
    In the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time the player controls a character (Link) in third person. Ultimately, the player is attempting to stop an evil villain from destroying the game world Hyrule, and saving the princess of this world, Zelda of course, by accomplishing an impressive amount of tasks based largely around your sword swinging abilities as well as your ability to solve puzzles. This game is packed full of dungeons and boss’s and spans a “game-world-time” of many, many years.
    GAMEPLAY
    Zelda is a fantastic game in my opinion. For this review I started a new game and just started playing the game through. Zelda first opens with a few cut scenes, which really begin to set the scene of the game. The cut scenes do a lot to develop the main character Link, as well as the world in which he lives. After the cut scenes we are soon introduced to a relatively original way of providing information to the player, and that is with Links fairy. The fairy aspect of Zelda is perfect for maintaining both an effective storyline, and also giving necessary information when appropriate. The fairy can be asked questions about certain game aspects that may not be obvious like a boss weakness or how a new weapon works.
    The graphics in Zelda are also worth mentioning. For their time, the graphics of Zelda were amazing. Being the first real consol to cater to 3D gaming, Zelda really showed people what the possibilities were. The graphics of the game are appropriately realistic in the game, though everything is very brightly colored and the music of the game is very positive, which created a happy fun feeling for me. The game world is expansive in Zelda, and the controls of the game are similar to that of Mario 64 with the exception of the jump button. Link is able to jump but only at times when it is appropriate like when approaching a gap or when trying to run over a small wall or something. In these circumstances the jump option becomes “automatically available” if you will, another relatively unique aspect of the game for its time. It really sets itself apart though in its sheer magnitude of complexity though. In Mario or any other previous generation game at the time, most games simply gave you one, or at best a few, like Mario 64, paths to travel. Zelda however is completely free roam. You can meander around in you starting city for days pulling weeds if you’d like, and in order to progress from this point you must really start exploring. The game does give the player some sort of story line though, and seemingly innocent missions like collecting rupees eventually lead the player to a very nicely set up saga for you to take part in. The environmental graphics of Zelda are fairly well done as well, buildings appear 3D and can be climbed and interacted to an extent. The field of view in the game however uses the fog technique to shield distant scenery which adds a sort of mysterious feel to the game. Social interaction while playing Zelda at this stage of the game is minimal. The fact that Zelda is strictly a one player game degrades its social possibilities, however in the more challenging parts of the game it is actually very fun to brainstorm on possible techniques to achieve required tasks with other living people.
    GAMEPLAY 2
    After finally scoring my sword, I made it to the Great Deku Tree, which for non players is the first dungeon of the game. In the dungeons the puzzle solving really starts to form. In most games previous to this one, players would usually have a path to follow or some sort of guide or something to tell you what’s going on, but in the Zelda dungeons that is not the case. Players must explore on their own, with some help from our trust worthy fairy of course, and find everything from maps to compasses just to know what the dungeon looks like. In This first dungeon the scenery obviously became much darker and more ominous feeling. The graphics begin to include spider webs and spider like monsters instead of friendly plant monsters and green fields. The music as well becomes slightly more dramatic and dark giving the game a more intense, less unfocused feel. In the Deku tree we really get to start using all of links cool attacks and moves. While sword slashing is the main technique used to defeat your enemies, this game also includes an items pouch, which can hold several different kinds of nuts and sticks that help you to defeat your enemies. This is such a complication for video games of the time, because it made the game go from being simply slash and run to true puzzle. For instance, at some point in the dungeon the player must equip a stick, light it on fire (after realizing he can do so) on one of the background torches and run to a spider web to burn it down. This complexity was relatively unseen in video games before this, and I believe this is one of the aspects that made Zelda so famous.
    While in the dungeon you definitely start to experience flow. The combination of intense sword battles combined with the complexities of the puzzle aspects of the game really start making the player feel accomplished after completing a task. This feeling of accomplishment then leads you to keep playing and keep accomplishing. Some accomplishments include the classic rupee collection system, which can be used as money to buy things, as well as a fair number of larger rewards like slingshots and bow and arrows ect. throughout the game.
    DESIGN
    I believe Zelda has many very innovative elements. Just to name off a list of a few I can include the auto jump feature, the traveling story teller/assistant/fairy, the extensive item bag, the night and day system, and the GIANT gameworld. All of these elements added so much to the video game experience, that it almost seems to me like a turning point in gaming history. Just to talk about the level design in Zelda for a minute, would be difficult. The world of Hyrule is enormous. It includes so many different areas of play along with so many dungeons, it would really just be a feat to explore the whole world in one earth day. The game successfully creates conflict by slowly exposing the player to the real storyline. By starting with the small picture and slowly zooming out through different accomplishments, players really feel like they are a part of the game. Conflicts then seem more personal and make the game even more entertaining to play. The tone of the Zelda world is mostly happy in the beginning pre tri force construction, and mostly dark and scary in the end post tri force construction. The game does this by making people zombies instead of people as well as darkening the whole game world and all of its characters. This game definitely showed emergent complexity, and makes me want to make a better game for my project than I ever could. The control system for Zelda also made playing the game very fun, the included Z targeting system was new at the time, and the use of the c buttons was more impressive than any previous games.

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    Feb 10th, 2008 at 02:10:48     -    Pilot Wings 64 (N64)

    Summary: Pilot Wings is a game on the Nintendo 64 system. The only real goals in pilot wings is to complete random task assigned on a per level basis. Players can compete in tasks including birdman, hang gliding, gyrocopter, cannon, rocket pack, and skydiving.

    Gameplay:
    In my first pilot wings session I played first as the gyrocopter. Before getting tto your missions players must first select a character. Characters are mostly cartoonish in nature and have minimal special facial features, the most notable differences lie in the bright and colorful clothes that each character wear, and their height.
    While playing in the gyro copter players have the ability to control the speed of flying as well the ability to use an unlimited amount of missiles which fire from your copter. The missiles are a huge part of the gyro copter’s entertainment level. The ability to just fly around a level and shoot missiles at random sailboats and buildings, although mostly unaffective on the environment, provided me with a large amount of entertainment so long as I was able to save enough fuel to land!
    I believe that one of my favorite parts in pilot wings is to just ecplore levels. I know for sure, when the game first came out the levels were quite impressive in there 3d nature, by todays standards however the graphics of pilot wings are not all that great, but I still found plenty of entertainment flying around levels looking for hidden rewards discovered only when the player completes them. This game had me not very involved with anyone around me, and the fact that it is only one player makes this a more solo experience.

    Gameplay:
    During my second round at the wheel of pilot wings I decided to work on getting my wings in the hang glider class. This class of vehicle is much more difficult to manage than the gyrocopter was. In the hanglider players are able to use air uplifts to gain altitude. This added layer of complexity helps make the game seem to have more variables and makes this game more interesting to play.
    I believe I ecperienced some feelings of flow while playing as the hang glider because you constantly have to be adjusting while flying the hang glider. Also while playing as the hang glider the player doesn’t have to worry about gas or other factors. This allows for ultimate exploration time around the fair sized levels.
    Something I did notice about this game that was a little bland was the story line, or maybe the lack of a story line. In pilot wings there really is no underlying theme, the closest thing I can find to a goal is to get your gold pilot wings in all the classes in the game. The game rewards successful play with new levels and new challenges.

    Design: I have mixed feelings on the elements in pilot wings, some of which made it innovative and others that made it a little unpleansent. Some of the innovative elements included the expansiveness and openness of the levels. The options present in the levels provide players with more than enough options to stay entertained without necessarily fulfilling the quest objectives. The levels are minorly varied but some are repeated with different weather conditions.
    Some of the negative aspects of the game however include the lack of a storyline, as well as the lack of any character development. Some may say these exact aspects of the game make the game more playful and less serious, like a wii sports game, but for the most part it leaves the game lacking in any real substance.
    The tone of the game world is mostly positive and bright. All of the levels are brightly colored as well as usually featuring some kind of npc hang gliders flying around a castle or something of that nature. This game inspires me to have more open feeling levels in my own game to create the feeling of control exhibited by pilot wings.

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    Jan 25th, 2008 at 19:31:56     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    Summary
    In Super Smash Brothers 64, players control a famous video game character from other games and platforms. In the game, a third person fighter, player’s battle their chosen character against a single enemy. After each victory the level changes, maintaining the themes associated with the enemy’s background.

    Game play
    When I first started playing Super Smash Bros, after a few years break, I was excited to pick an old school character, and was super stoked to be Link in my quest to victory. The game play almost seemed new to me and was pretty fun. The controls are simple and mainly consist of a few base attacks and some good old school button mashing. I liked the game’s difficulty because it increases with each new level/enemy. The story progression in the game seemed relatively un connected however. There was no real sensible progression from enemy to enemy, and no real story line accompanying the level changes. Even though the story of the game was lacking, the first six levels I conquered were very fun, and the excitement of both the game and the old memories had a positive impact on my mood.
    On this occasion of Super Smash gaming, I was playing the one player version, but I think much of super smash brothers’ appeal lies in its multiplayer options. The multiplayer is basically the same game play as the one player, but it incites much good spirited competition among you and your human opponents.

    Game play
    In my second session on the game I was able to beat the game. I was much more focused this half and really noticed how much the objects, which appear randomly in the game add to the game playing experience. The objects also themed randomly to be relative to one character or the other offer power ups most of the time and leave you hanging every once in awhile. Also as the game drew closer to the end, the difficulty was finally getting to my level and I was able to more successfully use the relatively large reservoir of moves to defeat my foe.
    Also during my second session a friend stopped by and we found that the ability of the player to interact with bystanders is relatively high. The game offers entertainment to most people I would say, and is pretty action packed offering fast paced entertainment.

    Design
    I believe that super smash brothers had a few innovative ideas for its time. The health system displayed in the game was new to me when I first started playing it, and still is. The way your hp builds up, making your character more and more prown to attacks by enemies, was a very fun way to deal with health. I also enjoyed the level elements displayed in the game making fights more than just a tekken style no outside influence battle. The multiple layers of usable fight area in the levels give height and dimension to a pretty 2D fighting area, and obstacles like tornadoes add difficulty and options to the fight. Also cool about the levels is there relation to the characters featured in the game. These familiar environments help players to relate and connect with the game. The themed levels also give a happy cartoony feel to the game, making it more appropriate for young audiences and those not fond of blood.
    This game actually does give me several ideas for my own game. The way the levels have things you can interact with, either positively or negatively is a major attributing factor to the game in my opinion. Some negative aspects of the game include the lack of story line and the relatively unchanged final battle, which consist of a large white hand.

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