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Average User Score: 8.1Sep 19, 2013I think I've been spoiled by the recent influx of really good third person shooters and open world games. Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row, andI think I've been spoiled by the recent influx of really good third person shooters and open world games. Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row, and others have all added a good mix of fun and great ideas to the genre. And because of that, I feel rather unimpressed by GTA V.
The story is weak, which isn't really that surprising since most GTA games aren't known for their depth, but I was actually really invested in the stories of Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire, both of which are of course Rockstar titles. None of the main characters really appeal to me, they're not funny or clever, and after 30 hours of doing just story missions I find myself really let down. I get that everything is a parody, that the political cartoons on TV and the jabs at Facebook are pop culture references, but none of it is really making me laugh. The side characters like Jimmy and Tonya are just obnoxious and I keep wishing I could permanently drive them off a cliff, but I can't!
As for gameplay, the driving is really bad, and with cars being the center of the game mechanics, that's saying something. Cars don't feel very different, they don't seem to have much weight to them, the GPS is really archaic and detracts from other things. There are clipping issues with items along the road and the car physics still seem way off. Shooting from cars is horrible, I mean who the hell thought it would be a great idea to make shoot and target the same button? That kind of stuff is unforgivable in 2013, especially since other recent games have it so much better. Movement is clunky, it feels like it hasn't improved a bit since RDR, I constantly "bump" into people and annoy them even though I clearly didn't even touch them. Moving around the house or inside areas does not feel nice, it feels like I'm moving a fridge rather than a person. Why is it so hard to actually stash cars and have a garage? What happened to my customized cars? It feels like Rockstar didn't put much thought into making car management very fluent, and again, when cars are so prominent in the game, WHY is it like this? Also, the mission rating system is ridiculous when you can't even seen the requirements for different medals before or during the mission.
The side missions and activities are all over the place, they're not deep enough to be good simulations, but they're also not good enough to be arcade style mini games. Tennis in particular is terrible, so why even bother putting it in when you don't make it any fun or any good? Managing stock markets, browsing the internet, watching TV, going to strip clubs, etc, they're all kind of boring and I felt no need to do any of them ever again.
Character customization is average, it's nowhere near as fun as it is in Saints Row, and so far I haven't found anything worth buying at the clothing stores in Los Santos. The leveling system for stats is not fun, since you can't really tell you're getting better at something until the game tells you. There's no way to track progress, which makes it uninteresting. They'd have been better off just making the different characters good at certain things and bad at others, and then just keeping it that way. The fact that you need an iphone app to level your dog is especially when the app itself is unstable and keeps resetting progress. Please don't make external apps that influence in-game stats, it's a terrible idea.
Graphics wise, meh, while I think it looks a lot like L.A. the game is certainly not pushing any boundaries. The aliasing makes everything seem...I don't know, shiny but unappealing? There's something about it that doesn't feel right, it feels a bit too reflective and not real enough. I'm kinda sad that there's no performance capture stuff like they had with L.A. Noire, GTA V looks really old in comparison which is weird.
I won't bother to complain about every gaming site giving it a 10 since it's just a product of this gaming generation, but I will say I'm surprised to see that many normal people raving about it. The game doesn't bring anything new to the table and is quite honestly very boring most of the time. I would have rather had a game like Red Dead Redemption set in a different time and place, something a little more interesting than a recreation of L.A.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Sep 15, 2013I'm very happy that the PS3 has gotten a good amount of localized JRPGs over the years, and Tales of Xillia is a good fit for the system andI'm very happy that the PS3 has gotten a good amount of localized JRPGs over the years, and Tales of Xillia is a good fit for the system and its user base. It's a good game with plenty of content, but it also has some rather glaring issues.
The gameplay is very smooth, but it suffers from being far too linear. The world map is very simple, most of it is just flat stretches of land with predictable secret areas that contain chests and sacks of supplies. The dungeons have a bit more depth but not much, there's a bit of platforming and use of objects and ladders, but there are no real puzzles or anything that need to be solved. Most of the time you're running from point A to B and killing everything in your way. My biggest issue is how bland most areas feel, not in an aesthetic sense but rather in the how everything is really easy and straightforward, it lacks any complexity and it seems like really lazy design to copy and paste the same couple of boring areas over and over.
The combat however is highly energetic, it's mostly button mashing with most of the strategy coming from whom you link with and how you set the behavior of your party members. With the exception of two later boss fights, you'll mostly be jamming your first down enemies' throats and hammering away with combos without much regard for anything else. One thing about the combat that got to me was how irritating the amalgamation of sound becomes when you have a full party. As you link up and execute combos you will constantly hear stuff being shouted in battle, unfortunately the battle music is loud and obnoxious so you end up turning your volume way down so you don't go mad. Still, the combat feels polished, and when you get to the New Game+ part of the game and crank up the difficulty it's at least partially satisfying.
The main story is nothing new or exciting, and as with most JRPGs it comes down to if the characters are likable or if they rub you the wrong way. I personally wasn't amazed by any of them and the cheesy humor doesn't really work for me. One thing I have to give them props for is the excellent localization effort and choice of voice actors. It's always a toss up for JRPGs when it comes to this, and thankfully Xillia does it right.
While I won't spoil anything, I was very underwhelmed by the game's ending, especially the final battle. It was just too boring and it had very little emotional effect.
Graphically the game goes from being incredibly beautiful in cut scenes and towns to being very bland and basic everywhere else. There is so much detail and refinement when you watch the story scenes and the conversations, but then the open world, the landscapes, and the monster design are dated and unimpressive. It certainly has its moments but it can't really compared to the more visually impressive RPGs out there.
The musical score is rather a disappointment, and if you have the limited edition soundtrack you'll probably notice that it is missing all of the really good tracks as well. Like I mentioned before, the battle music is really obnoxious and while I enjoyed some of the slower musical pieces I have to give them low marks for constantly reusing the same tracks. I know that not every RPG can have a score spanning several CDs, but it feels really lazy when 70% of all outdoor areas use the same 2 minute song on repeat.
At the end of the day, Tales of Xillia is worth buying if you like JRPGs, but if you're new to the genre there are better games available. I'll be preordering Xillia 2 when it comes to the US, because despite its flaws the game was enjoyable and worth the money.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Sep 14, 2013Coming into this series as a new player. I was rather disappointed. While the game's use of Disney characters and themes is charming,Coming into this series as a new player. I was rather disappointed. While the game's use of Disney characters and themes is charming, everything else feels really dated and obsolete.
Gameplay wise you have a bad camera, awkward movement, terrible platforming sections, a completely boring travel mini-game and uninspired combat. Equipping basic items is a chore, there is no way to compare weapons when you purchase them and many in game decisions are made without any context. I find myself running away from the awful combat a lot because of all the back and forth between level sections caused by the game's inherent lack of direction or guidance. The levels themselves are very small and feel cramped; especially when you're constantly being jumped by a ton of small enemies.
Story wise, I'm sad to say that the Disney characters completely outshine the Square Enix characters. The protagonist is boring, there are plenty of plotholes, and the game's pacing seems really off. The voice acting is superb for the Disney characters but again, terrible for the Square Enix ones. The music is really jarring and repetitive, which is a shame when you consider that Disney has this huge library of musical scores from all these different franchises to fall back on.
Graphically, the game is a mix of good and bad. Most character models look really nicely done, but when the camera zooms in on faces and the blur comes into play you can really tell it's an old game. While the enemy models look really polished,a lot of the backgrounds and items in the background seem to have low resolution textures.
All in all, I think this game relies way too much on nostalgia, as is evident by the majority of reviews on metacritic. This is a mediocre game at best, and the fact that Square Enix wants $40 for what seems like a rather minor graphical update makes me feel a little bit sad.… Expand