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2 New from
The western is a sorely under-represented gaming genre, yet it is such an incredible one! Something isn't right... However, you'll see what I mean by "incredible" when playing the game!
The plot is fantastically written, with great twists, and explained in fantastically gory cut-scenes. Playing on a very familiar theme "Vengeance". It isn't exactly original, but it's very well written.
The gameplay is superb. It's very non-linear as you can choose to carry on with the story, or boost your stats with exciting side missions, such as bounty hunting, or helping out on a ranch. Aside from that it's high-adrenaline action all the way, being able to wield a multitude of weapon types, such as shotguns, rifles, pistols, bows, dynamite, fire-bombs and more!
The physics in the game are very impressive considering it's a PS2 release, and it's outrageously gory, DEFINITELY not for the faint hearted. Unless you can watch blood flying across the screen from a tomahawk slash, bullet holes streaming blood or even a man being scalped, this game isn't for you! The graphics are generally flawless, the occasional frame-rate hiccup, but in fairness, the map is so big it's forgivable to have a millisecond frame to load. The sound quality is great with some very nice voice-acting. The soundtrack is one of my favorites ever, so after completion of GUN I immediately went out and purchased the soundtrack.
All in all, GUN is incredible, they definitely got it right when they rated it an 18, but it's still fantastic to play, my only negative criticism would be that once the story is complete, there isn't a whole lot to do, aside from running around Dodge and Empire city and killing posse's. It would have been nice to see some 2-player or even multiplayer deathmatch modes, but that has been amended for the PSP. 5/5 stars any day, and if there's a GUN 2 coming out, you can be sure I would pay any price for it!
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions
1 New from
All I have to say is "Good job Square Enix". Another brilliant game, although there are just a few teensy flaws that keep this game from being 100%.
The story is well written, and very typical of the Final Fantasy series. A sort of sequel to the original Final Fantasy Tactics for PS1, the story continues after the lion war with new characters, new places, and new themes. Not uncommon to the Final Fantasy series though, such as "Revenge, Betrayal and Loyalty". Despite this, the writers of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions has done a good job keeping the story original, in its own right.
The gameplay is brilliant. The job system is back, and it's better than ever. There are plenty of classes to choose from, although only two are completely new to the series, and quite a few are missing from Tactics Advance, the version that came out for GBA. There is only one race - "Human". But there are genders, and both genders are exactly the same except for the "Bard" and "Dancer" classes which are exclusive to Males and Females respectively.
The tactics side of things really comes into play here. You move units around the battle map in a grid, and different characters have different ranges, and different Area of Effect spells, and things that mix up the gameplay, exactly the same as the previous two versions of Final Fantasy Tactics. The tactics part of this is a lot more compelling, as there is more of an incentive to keep your warriors alive. The reason for this? Once they die, they're gone forever. This is a bit of a pain, and seemed unnecessary as it's one of the very few things that hold the game back.
The graphics are satisfying. Not excellent, not bad. Just good. There is a considerable frame-rate issue when some units are doing things like, casting spells. When archers fire bows the game slows down so much it's hard to tell if it's frozen or not. Again, another thing that keeps this game from being great. The sound quality is superb, and this certainly comes into play in the very well animated cut-scenes. The cut-scenes are beyond anything from any other PSP game and were a nice addition to help reinforce the story. What surprised me were the voice-overs. I expected a translation in subtitles, but when the characters started speaking English I jumped back in my seat. I was very impressed.
Overall, this game could have been brilliant. It could have been the best game out for the PSP. Just those little few flaws I discussed held it back. It will always be the 99% game.
Story - 9Gameplay - 8Presentation - 8
Medal Of Honor: Heroes (Platinum) (Medal Of Honour)
3 New from
If you own a PSP then get this game. It's as simple as that, to be honest. Smooth controls, graphics, gameplay and online play. This game has got pretty much everything, and you would be a fool to miss it.
The story is pretty straight-forward, and is the one weak-point about this game. As it's a World War II shooter, it's pretty much the same story as every other medal of honour or call of duty game. You are an elite soldier who is very proficient at killing Nazis. Simple as that really. What there is of a story (World War II history lesson) is described at very start of missions, and then there are a few cinematics before and after every chapter. Unlike the other Medal of Honour games, there are no story events within missions, you are given your goals at the start, and you must complete primary objectives, and secondary objectives are optional.
The gameplay is, in a word, fantastic. Really easy to control with a very nice control scheme and unlike other shooters on PSP this game is genuinely fun to play. It's handled itself well in the weapons department. My one complaint concerning gameplay would be your Allies. All they do is block your shots, take your kills, and accidentally blow you up with grenades.
This is not a problem, however, when playing in skirmish mode or online. You just kill everyone in sight on the skirmish mode as there are no team-based games. Although, if you take the action online there are some very nice team-based games, like classic capture the flag, or hold the line. The online play is very fun, but very frustrating as it's a little unbalanced. 9/10 people you encounter will be wielding the shotgun because it's so overpowered.
Medal of Honour pushes the PSP to the max, yet it doesn't show it. I haven't had any frame-rate issues or laggy play at all yet, whilst enjoying the high-quality action going on, on the screen. The sound quality is fine. Not perfect, but satisfying, and the score is quite pleasant I think.
My only real concern for this game is that there's nothing new. It's all just content ripped off of the other Medal of Honour games. The interface and weapons are from European Assault, the Music and voices, straight from Allied Assault. There's more, but I think you get the gist of it.
All in all, a great game. A must have if you buy the PSP as it will keep you coming back for more.
Story - 7Gameplay - 9Presentation - 8
Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30 (Platinum)
Hundreds of different weapons make this games replay value fantastic, as you can replay the level again using a German weapon, an American weapon from a comrade, or a weapon you just found lying around.
The graphical quality is brilliant; it's not "shiny" like the Medal of Honour series or the Call of Duty series. It's gritty, in the best sense of the word. You can safely assume that running through a trench covered in mud, blood and dispensed shells isn't going to look pretty, and Brother in Arms really goes the extra mile to show that, and it definitely is worth the rare frame-rate issue although it's generally unnoticeable and you'll probably only get it on an older PS2. The voice acting is fantastic. You can hear fear in the voices of the recruits, and you can hear confidence in the voices that are meant to instil confidence in the men. As for music, you won't hear a lot, but it's appropriate when it does kick in.
So the story is top-notch, the game mechanics are incredible and the presentation is beautiful, so what's left to criticise? Well, although multiplayer is available, it's exclusively 1 vs. 1 with no co-operative gameplay. However, you can take it online and it's fantastic, if you can find a game, which, most likely, you won't in this day and age. The game will be like marmite, you'll love it or hate it, but my money is on the majority of people, unlike marmite, loving it.
Story - 10Gameplay - 9Presentation - 9
Brothers In Arms: Road To Hill 30
2 New from
I was sceptical about this game at first, after I had heard about it's ultra-realism, but I thought I'd give it a go. You see, before this, really there was only Medal of Honour. With its linear gameplay, you were forced to take a certain route taking hundreds of bullets without flinching and...it was fun. Then I picked this up, and I learned what fun really was!
The story is the most striking thing about this game. Surprise surprise, it's based on an Americans journey, but you can forgive Gearbox for this, otherwise they'd only make sales in England. Based on a true story, this game tells the tale of Sergeant Matt Baker and his squad. Each of his squad has a different personality, and in the cut-scenes and briefings, you learn a little bit more about each of these soldiers. Accompany them from just after the D-Day landings through France, and learn more about them each mission. You find yourself shocked when you come across a dead comrade who has served with you for quite a few missions, and I think it's this realism which makes the story so incredible. The story really supports this game so much, and the fact that it's based on real events really helps you relate to the game and its characters.
The gameplay is very original. I mentioned earlier your ability in the Medal of Honour series to shrug off bullets like insects, but in this. That's not going to happen. Brothers in Arms have gone for the hyper-realistic one-shot, one-kill system. Basically, you don't want to go storm an MG42 or run solo into a bunker full of Nazis, as you are just going to find yourself respawning at on of the very few checkpoints, positioned throughout the levels. Although the realism is nice, it's kind of annoying to just be running through a field, when all of a sudden, your screen will flash red a few times, then Matt Baker will fall to his knees and you will be asked where to respawn. This is true also for your comrades who you, as their squad leader, have complete control over. You can order them to move somewhere, lay down fire on an enemy position, storm the enemy and more. You have to be tactical about this however, as the wrong call could mean one or more of your men dying, and although you don't have to respawn, you'll probably find yourself doing it anyway because the prospect of that shiny medal for a casualty free mission is just too much. In addition to this, they won't be able to assist you for the rest of the mission.
Age Of Mythology
4 New from
What can I say? This is genuinely the best game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Hundreds of options to play with an immersive campaign with a lot of historically correct backing.
The story in the main campaign, Fall of the Trident, is the story of Arkantos, an Atlantean general who is some-what of a retired veteran soldier. Called to fight in the siege of Troy, a deep evil lurks behind the gates, and Arkantos pursues this through the whole of Greece, Egypt and Scandinavia meeting various characters along the way with various exciting backgrounds. Though I must say, it seems like they may have been stuck for plot-turns at some points, so they just threw in something completely absurd that they can still get away with, because it's "mythological". Of course, this is just the main campaign, Microsoft have developed several other campaigns and maps that are downloadable free from their website.
The gameplay is a top-view Real-Time strategy, so you can be tactical about where you position soldiers, buildings and weaponry. It is as much about city-building as it is about fighting, at least early on in the game anyway, and the city-building is fabulous. Better than a lot of games specifically made for city-building.
Age of Mythology's true strength, however, lies in the Random map and online play. Choose from 9 different civilisations, with three very different styles of play. Battle it out on a number of maps, with a number of different gameplay variants. Then take it online! Thousands of users log into Age of Mythology online, and you can see why. Play ranked games, play friendly games, or use Age of Mythologies built in editor and make very customisable games with all sorts of special effects and even your own cinematics. Although it is not as versatile as a lot of editors, it's still very user-friendly and there is a fair amount you can do with it.
The graphics are incredible considering it's time and the specs it requires to play on high-quality, aren't very high at all, I can run it on my brothers old windows '98 computer, in high-quality. It's very pleasing to look at in terms of graphics and user-interactive menus such as soldier descriptions and desriptions concerning ancient Gods and Deitys. There are literally hundreds of sound recordings, as every soldier has something to say and there is a lot of talk and banter in the cinematics in the campaign. The music is pretty catchy too and always appropriate to the current theme.
I would have to say Age of Mythology is my favourite game of all time, because it's replay value is fantastic, the online kept me going for years and the scenario editor could never, ever bore you. I would seriously recommend getting this game, at all costs. These days, it's not exactly going to cost you an arm and a leg to pick this game off of a shelf is it?
Story - 9Gameplay - 10Presentation - 9