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    Apr 26th, 2009 at 20:41:05     -    Rock Band 2 (360)

    Rock Band 2 Review

    Overview-

    Rock Band 2 is the second installment of the Rock Band series developed by the company Harmonix Music System. The series is different among usual console games in that it has individual instrument controllers for the instruments emulated in game. The basis for the game is that you (and friends) have started a rock band and you must play your way to the very top and become world famous. The four instruments in game are the guitar and bass (playing on the guitar controller), the drums (played on the drum set), and vocals (played on a microphone).

    Overall an entertaining game. It was built for multiple players, but it can also be enjoyed alone. The song selection has a wide range so even the most selective people can enjoy a song or two from the list. The songs are unlocked as the player progresses through the concerts the player(s) select to play. Some are just single songs, some are sets (either mystery sets or sets the player can pick songs to play from) and the better the player(s) do the faster the game progresses to new gigs and new songs. To be world famous is the object of the game and the challenges of new songs attract players to this popular game of the rock band series.

    The Instruments -

    The guitar controller is played with 6 color coded buttons on the neck of the guitar and a strumming switch at the base. The drums are designed much like a drum set with drumsticks to beat out the pattern shown on screen. The microphone controller is just used to sing into and match the tone of the voices played on screen. The better the person (or people) match the patterns the higher the score goes.

    There are four levels for each instrument. Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. Stepping from easy to medium and medium and hard will increase the number of buttons the player must control as well as increase the difficulty. Expert increases difficulty greatly and it takes a real pro to be able to get through a song on expert.

    The smooth transition between levels is a definite plus in game and everyone can pick up the instruments with a bit of practice (There is a practice mode just for that). If The person is just completely uncoordinated, there is always the microphone or the no fail option on easy mode.

    The Gameplay -

    The Tour is the central focus of the Rock Band game. When first starting the game, the player(s) get to create a brand new band and the members of that band. With a band created, the player(s) are taken to their first town and only a few available gigs. The more gigs a player plays and the better the gig is played, the more gigs and the more areas open up. Along with gaining more gigs, there is also money earned and fans earned (or lost if failed).

    The band expands around the city, then the country, then the world as they rock concerts and play famous rock songs. The expansion is nice in that it doesn't go to fast at first, but also, it does not hold back once the band gets use to the game play and wants to really explore the songs they can get.

    There are other modes of gameplay as well. For example, there is an online verses mode where bands compete against each other and a trial game to earn more songs. No matter what mode is played, the controls and goal is always the same.


    The Customization -

    The customization for the characters is not bad, a player can change the face, hair, height, weight and various different color codes (skin, eyes, etc). The clothes at first are minimal, but there is an extensive shop for clothes, tattoos, hair, accessories, and even instruments that the player can purchase for their character with the money earned with the completed gigs. This aspect is especially interesting because there is such an extensive list of objects so there is plenty of incentive for the player to earn even more money.

    Final Thoughts -

    The game is definitely a good game for anyone who likes rock songs. From the obsessive who continues to play until they have rocked the top of expert to those casual gamers who only get to medium. The level of customization lets the player connect to the character and band and lets them feel like they are really up there rocking the stage with their favorite song. The individual controllers are fun and innovative way to play. The ability to play with multiple people on multiple instruments made it a first and really drove it ahead of its field.

    It is probably not suggested for people who do not like rock because that is the only songs they have available, but to all others it is fun and enjoyable and only multiplied by more players.

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    Mar 6th, 2009 at 14:06:26     -    XKCD The Game (PC)

    Session 2

    -Overview-

    Playing through a second time has brought a new insight of the game, some irritating some not. The way the game is set up with different genres for each level creates an interest that won't die so quickly. If it were just a shooter game or just a pong game, interest in it dies quick, even if each level is slightly harder or has different bad guys, it is still the same set of skills.
    This game however enables a person to play different styles, so it would be like playing a series of different games, instead of a single one. There is a downside though: the person would not have an enjoyable time if they only liked one of the genres of the entire game.

    -The Level Design-

    The second time through the game I had few problems. The learning curve of each level is pretty straight forward and obvious. Once the basic movements and 'how to win' is worked out, it is pretty easy and fast to beat the game.

    -Story Concepts and Interest-

    The story behind the game mechanics belong to the world of the online comic strip 'XKCD'. It is about the plight of the main character and his boomerang. The point of the game is the main character trying to retrieve his boomerang from the hat guy and the player is required to go through the levels, achieving each one.

    The game ties the interest of the player by the story cut scenes between each level, as well as the interesting designs of the levels themselves. It was a good idea to have cut scenes placed in the game, it captures the attention and it provides a goal to the player, as well as a possible reward after the levels are conquered.

    -Final Thoughts-

    Seeing through the entire game twice I've seen a few bugs and glitches, but the concepts are solid and the mechanics are relatively advanced. The way the creators were able to bring together different genres and create a smooth game with an interesting story deserves congratulations. I definitely found the game interesting

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    Mar 6th, 2009 at 14:03:26     -    XKCD The Game (PC)

    Session 1

    -Overview-

    XKCD the game brings a lot of different genres together smoothly. Overall it is basically an adventure game that requires you to complete many different obstacles in order to reach the conclusion. Each level of the XKCD game requires a different set of skills to complete. The first level is a shooter type game with the mouse, for example.

    Overall it is an interesting idea to mix and mesh the ideas to make a complete game, instead of relying on one theme throughout.

    -The Level Design-

    Each level of the game was different set up completely. Luckily the objectives were all simple, so that means there is very little need to 'learn' how to play the level.

    A problem I saw in the game was that some levels were too difficult and did not have a proper 'reward/punishment'. The player still continued even when the objective was not met. For example, the second and fourth level both allowed me to continue even when the enemy reached the end first or before I was able to destroy him.

    However, the levels have their redeeming factor. The thought and work put into their mechanics and the visual aspects are obviously high for a three week period and I enjoyed the challenge, even when I didn't actually have to complete the objective to continue.

    -Gameplay-

    Gameplay was relatively simple for a game that switches controls with each new level. The creators were nice enough to provide a description of what is to be done before each level, which is all that was really needed for a simple game such as this.

    The controls were relatively smooth for each level, with little difficulty. A player shouldn't lose because they were having trouble with controls in this game.

    -Technical Thoughts-

    Playing through the first time I ran into a few glitches, such as running into three spiders at once on the racing level and not being able to move at all. I was forced to exit the game and re-enter. For the most part though the levels are set up well for the three week period. A few glitches are expected.

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    Jan 19th, 2009 at 22:10:28     -    Uno (Other)

    Uno: Thursday, January 15th (Game One and Two)

    Uno is a simple card game meant to be played by a group of people. It is a card game with a deck of 108 cards designed specifically for the game. The game is played with 2 to 10 players with seven card's each. The official goal of Uno is to gather points after each round into a sum of 500 points. However, from my own experience, some people are happy with simply declaring a winner each round and beginning a fresh game.

    = The Cards =

    The specialized deck of cards have four different colors: yellow, green, red, and blue. Each color has number cards 0-9. As well as the numbered cards there are four specialty cards:
    -Skip Card: Skips the next player.
    -Reverse Card: Changes the flow of the players. Clockwise to counter-clockwise and vice versa.
    -Draw Two Card: The next player must draw two.
    -Wild Card: Allows the one who played the card to pick the color and the next player must play that color, or the previous card's value.
    -Wild Draw Four: Words the same as a wild card, however, it requires that the next player draw four cards. This card can only be played if there are no other playable cards on hand.


    = The Game-play =

    My brief game-play experience while logging my observations included two rounds with myself and another player. In these two games, I won the first battle, while losing quickly on the second.

    The game begins after a dealer is picked and the deck shuffled. Each player receives their cards and the remaining deck is placed in the center for the 'draw' pile. A card is turned over from the top of the deck, put into a new 'discard' pile, and is considered the first card in play as long as it is not a Wild draw four. The round begins with the person to the left of the dealer.

    Each player is required to put down a card on top of the discard pile that matches the color, number, or face of the previous card. If a playable card is not available the person must take cards from the draw pile until a playable card is found.

    As my first game played out. I was quick to call Uno several times. A person is required to call Uno once he or she has only one card left in their hand. If they do not and someone calls Uno on him or her, then he or she must draw four. For several times I called Uno and was unable to finish the game in the next round. It is difficult to have a matching card with only one card on hand. However, after many tries I managed to lay down my final card and I was declared the victor.

    In my second round, I was not as lucky. I was also able to get Uno and a few different occasions. However ultimately my opponent threw down a wild draw four and bested me before I was able to get rid of the new cards. Thus becoming the victor.

    = Overall =

    Uno is a card game for simple group fun. It seems to be in my experience that the more people to play the more fun it is. There can be different factions working against each other with many people. And like many social events, the more the merrier.

    Uno is overall a simple but fun game. Capable of providing lots of fun whether its only two people or ten. I have always found it enjoyable whether I am the victor or not. It is especially fun when I crush the hope of a player with Uno when I lay down a wild draw four and pick a color neither in their hand nor anywhere near the top of the draw pile. Fun for all.

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