Average User Score: 5.4May 3, 2014The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has to be one of the most underrated video games of this year. It's not a perfect game, by any means, but as a Spider-Man game, it succeeds in nearly every respect.
It far surpasses its predecessor by building on its mechanics, adding more varied side missions, having a more coherent, almost "classic" Spider-Man narrative. The game ditches the concept of nearly every enemy being a robot, and clearly, this is for the best. The added Peter Parker sections, while nothing groundbreaking, do help break up the pace, and give fans what they've wanted in a Spider-Man game for a long time now; more focus on Parker himself.
The combat and stealth mechanics are nearly the same as they were in the previous game, which is serviceable and works well. However, this time around there's no button to press to simply escape everything trying to kill you, and this is a replaced with a well implemented system of Spider-Man using his (or the player's) own wits to escape and "web up" his wounds. While added animations to this mechanic would have helped immensely, it's still greatly appreciated that it's there, and that the regenerating health system has been axed.
The pace of the game and the natural progression of missions works well, all considered. Given your time in Manhattan, you're given side missions to partake in to add to your "hero" meter. If you neglect these side missions, then the meter will start to fall into the "menace" segment, and you'll be chased by officials hired by Oscorp to take out vigilantes, I.E., Spider-Man. It's not an amazing or groundbreaking mechanic by itself, yet considering it rises and falls as quickly as it does, it does make for a game that moves at a breakneck pace, regardless of doing the same 5 side missions over and over. Most side missions have just enough variation to them that it doesn't become a problem.
The idea of using different Spidey suits for different effects to the character works very well. Each suit has its own, independent level meter, which you can choose to level up by beating up thugs and the like at any time. The suits have different effects, ranging from damage increases to stickier webbing, and it's a nice addition that is bound to suit anyone's play style.
One more thing worth noting is the web swinging mechanics. They're greatly improved in this game compared to its predecessor. Gone are the days of Spidey's webs sticking to thin air. This time around, you have to attach your webs to buildings throughout the city. While it's more of a visual effect than a fully realized mechanic, as seen in Ultimate Spider-Man, the game still tries to retain the same feel, and it's successful in doing so. Web slinging and zipping around the city feels freeing and exhilarating, and I can't stress how much of an improvement it is in comparison to the last game.
The visuals, at least on PS3, fare very well. Draw distance is long, the lighting effects look great, character models (though sometimes overused) are detailed, and Spidey himself, along with the main villains and main characters, look wonderful. Overall, there's not too much to complain about on the visual side of things. However, the game is not without its bugs (pun intended, of course).
There are some clipping issues here and there, and sometimes Spidey will float in thin air in the middle of a fist fight. This doesn't break the game, by any means, but the random freezes do. They don't happen that often, but when things seem to get too hectic, the game will just lock up. So far, it's only happened to me once within hours upon hours of play, but it's something worth noting.
All in all, this is an awesome Spidey game. I truly think it's the best Spidey game to release since Ultimate Spider-Man, which, for the record, I think is a far superior game to Spider-Man 2, speaking objectively. Granted, none of these games reach the awesome factor of Maximum Carnage or Spider-Man vs. Kingpin, but I have to say, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes close.
I sincerely don't understand all the negativity toward this game. Absolutely everything from its predecessor was improved, and the game is fast paced and is extremely fun to play. What more could you ask for in a Spidey game?… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Mar 31, 2014Beyond: Two Souls is a bloated mess. Amidst technically nice graphics and well implemented voice work, there are tons of technical issues, a disjointed, seemingly randomly confabulated narrative that revolves around the main character doing seemingly random things at different points of her life, which never really add up or pay off to anything. When the "movie like" experience you're paying to "play" (and I use that term very, very loosely) doesn't even deliver on being a well crafted story, you know that someone, somewhere royally screwed up.
The story here revolves around Jodie, played by Ellen Paige who has a special ghost-like entity named Aiden attached to her since she was a child. I'll be the first to admit that this is an interesting premise, and I'd also be willing to admit that it works well inside of Beyond, if it weren't for the game's complete and utter disregard for narrative consistency, or even making contextual sense.
Scenes pass from one to the other, and it almost turns into a bad variety show. The problem is, this isn't intended to be comedy. The game takes itself so seriously, even when it's showing Ellen Paige, ghoth'd out playing the guitar, befriending the homeless, and becoming a secret agent, that it turns into absolute comedic gold. There's no inkling of anyone crafting a well developed, fully realized narrative, here. Considering Beyond is a narrative based experience, this is inexcusable.
I can accept that it's a movie like experience. I didn't play Beyond expecting fully realized gameplay mechanics. The mechanics that are here are pointless, though. You can literally set the controller down, not respond to any of the quick time events at all, and the game will still progress regardless. I did play Beyond expecting a fully realized narrative, and I was sorely disappointed.
I realize I keep pointing back to this, but the story is the basis for this entire game. Beyond isn't about solid gameplay mechanics, interesting locales or any sense of achievement. It's about taking part in its narrative. Being a somewhat controlling factor of it. Which is all well and good, but the narrative here is so weak, that I can't recommend this title to anyone. It's certainly not a game in the traditional sense, and it certainly doesn't qualify as having a decent narrative.
It's derivative, it's pretentious, it's bloated, the exposition leads to nowhere, and simply put, it's not worth your time or money. Beyond: Two Souls has zero redeeming qualities.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Mar 29, 2014LONG REVIEW
Let me start out by saying that I absolutely love the Ghostbusters films. As a kid, I owned virtually every Ghostbusters toy that was on the market. The proton pack, the ghost trap, the Ecto-1, figures of Bill Murray's portrayal as Peter Venkman, etc. Literally anything I could get my hands on. These toys were creative, inventive, functional on a level that it was a legitimate good time (as a 6 year old child) to play with.
The reason I bring this up is because I feel the video game is essentially the same thing, and achieves a lot of the same things those silly hunks of plastic did for me as a child. You get to actually take the role of a Ghostbuster. To join the "team." Now, Ghostbusters games had existed well before this one. With one notable exception being the fantastic Sega Genesis game, none of them were really quite up to snuff. The games often felt sloppy, bland, or uninspired in their design. Some were archaic. Others were boring. Most of them were, simply put, not very good. Ghostbusters: The Video Game, released for PS3, X360 and PC, is one of the other few notable exceptions.
I may be a bit biased in praising this game, considering I am a huge fan of this franchise, but Ghostbusters: The Video Game is easily the best Ghostbusters game ever made. It gets everything right. From translating the awesome technology from the films to a video game, to absolutely nailing the humor thanks to the script penned by both Aykroyd and Ramis, the men responsible for the original Ghostbusters films, this game achieves nearly everything it tries to do. It makes you feel like a Ghostbuster, and the atmosphere, gameplay mechanics, visual design; literally everything included in this game's design is here to make you feel like you're playing the nonexistent 3rd film installment to the series with astounding success.
The game is, effectively, a third-person shooter, with a slight twist. Instead of using modern military weaponry, you use Ghostbusters equipment. The most notable of these being the absolutely awesome proton pack. A large, cumbersome looking backpack made of metal and wires, that concentrates proton particles into a stream to neutralize ghosts with. In laymen's terms, it's a ray-gun you blast ghosts with. It handles wonderfully, with great visual effects. If you shoot a wall with this thing, you'll leave fiery, charred streaks across it, and it's all very believable.
Now, this believability wouldn't mean much if the game weren't fun to play. Most of it revolves precisely around blasting ghosts with said ray-gun. You shoot them long enough with it for them to get tired and dizzy, then you can actually grab onto the ghosts with your proton stream and slam them around any which way you can to make them even more tired. While they're in this confused mess of a state, that's when you want to throw your ghost trap out and wrangle these suckers straight into it. It's so. much. fun. The ghosts will try to escape your grasp as best they can, and that's where you'll have to really start wrangling them. It's quite a lot of fun, and feels exactly what you think a Ghostbusters game should feel like.
You also get different weapon upgrades for your proton pack, such as a blue streak of energy that effectively acts as a shotgun, with its secondary firing mode being a stasis stream with the ability to slow your enemies down to a crawl, sometimes freezing them. You also get a slime gun to play with, as well as being able to tether things to each other with the use of slime; think a long, nasty booger that's strong enough to move heavy objects around and you get the idea. All of these upgrades feel natural to the game's progression, and they're all implemented well.
The sound design here doesn't fare quite as well, though. The voice acting is spectacular, since the original cast from the movies appears in full reprise. These aren't knockoff Ghostbusters by any means. They're the realest deal you could possibly get. The music, however, is often far too repetitive, and sometimes very, very unfitting for the scene that's playing out.
Ghostbuster's story really is what you would imagine the 3rd film being. So much so that it's actually considered canon. It's legitimately funny, smart, entertaining, and as mentioned above, the voice work and cast are all outstanding. It's absolutely a well written love letter to Ghostbusters fans, myself included. It's everything us proton pack wielding, ghost trap throwing, PKE meter scanning kids would want in a video game.
All in all, Ghostbusters is a great game. For fans of the franchise, it's a mandatory must have. For everyone else, it's, at the very least, worth a rental, or a buy considering its cheap price tag today. It may not be the best game I've ever played, but it's the best Ghostbusters game I've played. Simply put, it's awesome, and I'd recommend it to anyone who ever loved this series. Just don't expect it to change video games forever or anything like th… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Feb 18, 2014LONG REVIEW, SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN ONLY
The Darkness II is, simply put, a balls-out action game. A good balls-out action game, mind you, yet if not for its finely crafted narrative, it would be a mindless one. The only reason I bring this up is because this facet of the game appears in stark contrast to the deliberately slow moving, intelligent prequel.
The first game had you exploring a quasi-open world in attempt to exact revenge on those who wronged you. You could simply meander around grim feeling subway stations, converse with the interesting cast of characters, or just watch entire movies on television if you felt like it. Along with this open world came intelligently designed puzzles, that if left unsolved, would hinder your progress through the game's narrative. None of this is in The Darness II.
This is a striking change to this franchise, and one I don't particularly care for. That being said, I do believe The Darkness II, in context of itself, works perfectly fine for what it's trying to achieve. It's just not the groundbreaking, artistically sound game the original is.
As you take the role of Jackie Estacado, throughout the game you'll pass through surprisingly linear levels, shooting your enemies with weapons that handle beautifully, and using your Darkness tendrils to eviscerate your enemies. In between these linear, set-piece stages are down moments, where you spend time at Jackie's mansion, talking to the one note, often stereotypical characters. The shooting mechanics and Darkness powers are sound, but it won't be long into the game before you realize that's all the game has to offer.
That isn't to say there isn't depth, however. There is a surprisingly large skill tree that Jackie can use to level his powers up. Through gaining "Dark Essence" (the game's version of experience points), Jackie can invest perks into gun handling, Darkness execution moves, or throwing your Darkling sidekick around to pounce on enemies, which will inevitably lead to the Darkling pissing on their corpses. The small moments like this, such as impaling your enemies with parking meters, are what makes the game's combat fun and interesting. It also doesn't hurt that you can dual-wield most weapons, and the gunplay here is extremely solid, if a tad too auto-aimey and sticky. Thankfully, you can turn the aim assist off in the options menu.
Without spoiling anything, the narrative The Darkness II presents is a strong one. It's just a shame it wasn't implemented into the actual gameplay in a more efficient manner. You'll hear characters endlessly spout exposition on your post-level trips to your mansion, and while the voice acting presented is certainly top-notch, particularly Mike Patton reprising his role as the titular Darkness, most of the characters are all way too one-dimensional. They won't have much of anything to say aside from critical narrative points or stereotypical mob chatter. It's a shame, as the characters in the original were all well fleshed out, interesting, and didn't come off as parodies of themselves. Though the narrative is strong, and will ultimately be the driving force of what sees you through this action-fest, the characters can sometimes do their best to make sure you won't want to care. Luckily the story here is as enjoyable as it is, presentation gripes aside, and is absolutely worth seeing through to the end.
Graphically, the game opts for a cel-shaded style, and most of the time, it looks gorgeous. Framerate drops are minimal, and the textures (when they decide to pop-in after an occasional hiccup) are sharp and artistically beautiful. Light and shadows are used to great extent, which is a good thing, as a gameplay mechanic revolves around shooting lights out to make sure Jackie can regenerate health when he's actually in the shadows. The screen effects used for when Jackie is exposed to light are aptly disorienting and do their job wonderfully. All in all, it's a great looking game, but it's missing the dreary tone the first game was praised for. It's still a great looking game, it's just not atmospheric, and the linear levels and stereotypical mob guy characters really enforce this notion.
All this being said, I would still recommend The Darkness II. If you're into modern FPS games. The game does play smoothly, and The Darkness powers implemented are interesting enough as a gameplay mechanic to keep you playing. Ultimately, though, the strong story here is what will keep you invested, even if it doesn't quite reach the level of greatness as the original. It's a good game, but its shockingly short length clocking in at a measly 6 hours, and overall shortcomings when compared to the original hold it back from being great.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Feb 15, 2014LONG REVIEW
The Darkness is quite possibly the best example of immersion in video games ever seen. Once you're sucked in, it won't pull its tendrils out of you, and I wouldn't want it any other way. From exploring the beautifully rendered New York, to taking the subways, to just watching entire movies on televisions simply because that's your prerogative, The Darkness does a lot to bring you into its world with astounding success.
Outstanding immersion isn't all that's here, though. The Darkness is a video game, after all, and it's a damn good one. You take the role of Jackie Estacado; a tough guy mobster, with a sense of humor, and by the game's end, some serious issues. On the night of his 21st birthday, his mob boss uncle Paulie decides the world would be a better place without him in it, and attempts to assassinate Jackie. Things don't go according to plan, however, and that's where this game's narrative picks up. After an ancient being awakens to possess him and give him powers, of course.
Enter The titular Darkness. A being as old as time that takes hold of Jackie and refuses to let go. It's initially unknown to Jackie why this being has decided to use him as its host, but spending time through the lengthy campaign will reveal the truth to Jackie, parallel to his attempts at exacting his justifiable revenge.
The character of The Darkness is a wonderfully eerie one, and a sight to behold. I've never seen anything quite like it achieved in an FPS game, and the mechanics working around it are implemented wonderfully. With The Darkness as your possessor, you gain powers to aid you in battle and exploration, along with the interesting gun-play. Jackie moves slowly across the screen in comparison to other action games, but this was done for the sake of realism. He doesn't sprint across the screen at 200mph, ala Doom or Vice City, and for what the game is trying to achieve, it works out well, though it can sometimes make exploration feel as if it's dragging on a tad bit too long. The gun-play is also heavily aim assisted, to the point where headshots are more commonplace than anything else you'll achieve by shooting the relatively small arsenal of weapons, but Call of Duty this game is not, and it never aimed to be. The Darkness isn't about its shooting mechanics. It's about its narrative and the adventure you partake in.
The Darkness powers lend themselves well to different strategies you can implement throughout the 12 to 16 hour campaign. You can creep around as Darkness manifested tendrils from a third person view to get the element of surprise on your enemies to achieve stealth kills, or to solve intelligently designed puzzles. After any kill you achieve, it's strongly advised that you (brace yourself for this one) press a button to eat your enemy's hearts. This. Is. Awesome. It also has a couple of useful benefits, such as increasing how long you can use certain Darkness powers, or even gaining new ones.
You also have the ability to rip through space/time to summon black holes, that swallow enemies at the cost of a lot of the Darkness' power. It's a great dynamic, as it's strongly advised to always keep your Darkness tendrils out during combat, as they not only give you the ability to use these powers, but act as a shield, effectively giving you the ability to sustain much more damage than you normally would.
Along with these black holes, creeping around, and other Darkness powers come amazing visual effects for the time. From screen distortion, to an almost cel-shaded lighting effect when you're enveloped in Darkness (something that's also strongly advised, so be prepared to obsessively shoot out every last light you see in the game) the game is certainly no visual slouch. The motion captured actors and rag-doll physics certainly don't hurt either. This is one of the single best looking games that came from the mighty 2007 gaming year, and the atmosphere shines through these visuals.
The game constantly feels dark and cold. Quite appropriate, given the subject matter. Cold color tones were used to great effect, people move realistically with convincing weight distribution and animation, their faces can appear worn and worrisome. It's a dreary game, and this tone never lets up. Rather than questioning this design choice, it absolutely ended up immersing me even more into this game's world.
The sound design isn't lacking either. You'll hear everything from a range of hardcore metal tracks to melodic, mood setting, ambient tracks. The sound effects are appropriately gruesome, and the voice acting is top-notch. In fact, the voice work in this game, at least for its time, was probably the best around, as the actors used play their parts perfectly.
The Darkness is a dreary FPS adventure, with a strong focus on narrative and atmosphere. It succeeds in most everything it tries to do, and I would recommend this title to anyone. It's a shame it's as overlooked as it is. I consider it perfect.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Jun 26, 2013LONG REVIEW
Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Deadpool is that it has some of the funniest, enjoyable and frantic writing I've seen in any video game. This is where Deadpool really shines, and this is saying a lot considering a lot of the game runs solely from joke to joke and remains enjoyable throughout. Sure, the jokes don't always hit their mark, but they definitely hit more times than they miss, and when dealing with a character such as this, there's really no fourth wall to be broken, and it's quite a feat to not only write a video game around this concept, but to do it so, so well. Deadpool will constantly make references to the game's script, the player experiencing the game, the developer, Marvel characters, and so on. The writing in this game is certainly top notch for something that doesn't have much story to speak of. I was floored by how well High Moon nailed the character.
The blemishes start to show themselves everywhere else, though. Arkham City Deadpool is not, and to its credit, it never aimed to be. The game is a straight up 3rd person run n' gun brawler, complete with a weapon upgrade system and seldom stealth sections. While none of these things work terribly, they definitely hit below par. Overall the gameplay here feels unpolished. In comparing this game to something like God of War, there's no contest; technically speaking, God of War would be the better 3rd person brawler. Deadpool is more akin to something like 2007's visual vibrant playground, Afro Samurai. Where gameplay fails, aesthetics and batsh** insanity even the score. That is, if that's your thing of course.
Controlling Deadpool feels wonky. It seems as though his footsteps don't exactly match the center of gravity in the middle of the screen, and the camera can control wildly at times while not really being able to keep up with all of the intensely violent action. The auto lock-on for guns is just barely not broken, in the sense that it works when it wants to. If enemies are too close to the camera, however, the lock-on is just nigh of useless. However, lock-on aside, the guns in this game actually control very fluidly. Aiming around the screen controls exactly like a first person shooter. Think Saints Row gunplay but with a few tweaks, such as an aim button to zoom in, to make it feel more controlled. It's quite a lot of fun.
Melee weapons in this game are absolutely a blast to play around with. Though you're limited to katanas, sais and hammers, I found myself switching between the three a lot due to their strengths and weaknesses. The hammer is slow and bad for combos, but deals massive damage. The sais are quick and great for combos, but are generally weak when it comes to damage. This is a lot of fun to play around with, mixing between the light/heavy attacks that so many games of this nature work with. All in all, combat in Deadpool could stand to be a bit tightened when it comes to general fluidity, but it certainly has some well implemented ideas, such as weapon upgrades for damage, speed, etc., and all weapons control well enough that it's not a problem to pick up and play.
The combat does however get very tedious, and this is largely due to the fact that the game is essentially sets of corridors leading to open environments that lead to wildly insane, irreverent set pieces full of the same 6 or 7 enemies, rinse and repeat. Not that these enemies aren't interesting, mind you. Most have unique enough attacks that keep them from becoming too stale, but this system of corridors leading to open environments just to flex the game's combat muscle makes up most of the game.
When the game isn't focusing on the combat all the time, it's full of amazing variety. From a turret shooting gallery that deconstructs the turret trope in video games to light puzzle solving, it's actually quite amazing that the game gets stale at all.
I think the main problem with Deadpool is that, even with a respectable enough amount of enemy variety, most enemies don't require different tactics. You'll find yourself using the same shotgun to take down the smallest of enemies to the largest, and boss fights are exactly the same, just with more difficult sets of attacks tied to them. This is the only reason Deadpool gets stale at all, and it's a shame, because underneath these problems there is a great game here.
Deadpool does just enough to remain interesting throughout, and more times than not I found myself shooting through the enemies just to see where the writing and Deadpool would take themselves. This isn't inherently a bad thing because like I said, the writing here and the implementation of it is what makes the game so interesting. It's just a same that it's can be a bland experience.
After all of this it may sound like I'm hating on this game, but I'm not. I loved my time playing through its short campaign, and challenge maps are there for those who enjoy them. It just misses its mark by just a few missteps.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0May 17, 2013IN DEPTH, LONG REVIEW:
In Silent Hill Downpour, you play as convict Murphy Pendleton. Though you don't know why he's in prison, you do see that he deserves to be there. After a particularly brutal scene in a shower that serves as the game's combat tutorial, Murphy is being transferred to another prison when the bus transporting him and a half dozen or so other inmates crashes and tumbles down the side of a hill. Unfortunately for Murphy, this takes him into the dreary monster infested town of Silent Hill.
It may sound like a simple start to a story, and that's because it is. The beauty of this opening is that, much like Silent Hill 1 & 2, you don't have to know the lore of Silent Hill. You don't have to know its tropes, its back story, or anything about it at all, really. All you have to know is that you're Murphy Pendleton, and strange things are afoot in the quaint titular town.
This is all the exposition needed, and it lets itself be known from the beginning. The way this story is told is absolutely excellent. Instead of having cutscene after cutscene after cutscene, you piece most of it together yourself through different newspaper articles, in-game storytelling and your own wit. It's quite simply one of the best executions of storytelling I've seen in any video game ever. Period.
Story isn't all that's here, though. While it may be one of the huge draws to the game for me, personally, the gameplay here is just as good as any Silent Hill deemed a classic. You wander through the beautifully rendered yet unnerving town with one simple objective; Escape from Silent Hill. Things aren't so simple, though. Most roads are closed off, or worse, simply missing; leaving nothing but an impossible chasm in the distance. As Murphy, you have to traverse your way through this meticulously detailed town to escape. That's your motivation, and with monsters, black hole entities wanting to swallow you, and characters that would seem "off" to any sane person, it's quite a good goal for Murphy and in turn, the player, to have.
Thankfully since this town, while not exactly huge, is extensively detailed, you'll have a blast exploring, solving puzzles, collecting items and searching for that perfect weapon to take down the, admittedly, terribly designed monsters with.
Even with poor monster design, the game is absolutely filled to the brim with frightening moments. From monsters jump scares to the eerie sounds of cries in sparsely lit apartment buildings, there are a lot of moments packed in that either made my skin crawl or jump out of my seat. This used to be a normal occurrence in the PS1 days, but the reason it's so noteworthy here is because horror games simply aren't made like this anymore. The atmosphere is downright creepy, and sometimes you really will feel unnerved. This is what survival horror is supposed to feel like, and I applaud Konami for taking this direction with the series again.
Downpour feels like, if anything, a modernized version of the first 3 Silent Hill games with a much more realistic behaving protagonist. Through playing, Murphy will say things that you, the player, are probably thinking yourself. He gets frustrated when the oddball cast of characters aren't being straight with him, curious when it comes to puzzles, or absolutely frightened when a monster jumps out at him. This is extremely effective, since I felt I haven't empathized with a character in a Silent Hill game this much, ever. I felt bad for Harry in the first game. I thought James, in the end, was a bad person in the second game. Murphy Pendleton ended up being one of my favorite Silent Hill protagonists of all time due to this reason, and VATRA games deserves to be credited for all of their amazing work on this guy.
The game, as a whole, looks great. The lighting effects are gorgeous, as are the main character models. Murphy himself moves realistically, and even the way his clothes move (particularly his prison outfit in the beginning of the game) looks absolutely wonderful. It's a very realistic look that payed off.
However, in taking that realistic design choice, parts of the game get the short end of the stick. The framerate for instance, in particular areas can literally stutter along. Texture pop in is commonplace. The former can become quite a problem, even leading to some freezes, but the latter, not so much. Much like the bad monster design, these are terrible blemishes on an otherwise near-perfect survival horror outing.
Silent Hill Downpour is a game that deserves to be played. It quickly seems to be fading into obscurity, and it seems people are willing to dismiss it based on the merit that it's a newer Silent Hill game, but even with its problems and bad reputation, Silent Hill downpour is the only new classic feeling survival horror game I've played within at least 5 or more years.
With outright amazing storytelling and a dauntingly detailed world, Downpour is going to live on as an underrated cult classic.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1May 10, 2013Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage isn't a groundbreaking game. It isn't even very good looking (sans the cutscenes which run at a very smooth 60fps), but it is a hell of a lot of fun to play. The game tells a portion of the story from the original manga series, and while there are some great looking cutscenes throughout, there's a lot of the story missing here. It only hits on the major action set pieces, and throughout playing it, you'll realize there happens to be a good bit of story missing here. However, even if Fist of the North Star is a dearly beloved manga series, I don't think anyone will be worried too much with how this game's story folds out. It does get the job done. The main reason to play this is for the gameplay, and that's where this game shines. It's a straightforward Dynasty Warriors style beat 'em up, and this is easily the best game in the genre. When playing as Kenshiro, you don't use weapons. Unless you count those ridiculously badass fists of his as weapons; and you should. The moves and brutal violence in this game are completely over the top, and this game is better for it. When you punch 4 or 5 people at the same time in the face and watch their heads f-ing EXPLODE, you'll feel accomplished. The really amazing thing about that is there's no tongue in cheek humor here regarding the violence. The game plays it straight, and it really fits in well with Fist of the North Star canon. The levels in this game are absolutely massive for the type of game this is, and some can take 45 minutes to an hour to complete. All the while facing off hordes of gang members. At the end of each level, you'll face a boss. While some people would call these bosses cheap, I call them an accomplishment. I feel like it's been a long, long time since I've faced so many bosses that were this good. Sure, they can block your attacks, once you break their defense with, say, a kick, it's hard to situate yourself to attack before they get their guard back up, but the more you play this game, the more you'll be thankful for these bosses. They help make an otherwise mediocre game great. Plus, if you learn to use the skill tree in the meridian chart correctly, you won't have much trouble. Still a challenge, but minimal trouble. Speaking of the meridian chart, that is this game's way of leveling up your character. And oh boy, this thing right here, really, really makes this game much deeper than it ever deserved to be. FOTNS:KR could have really suffered the fate of being a flat out boring game. The core gameplay here is decent enough, but once you add the leveling system with these outstanding boss battles, you're left with a great game. My first playthrough of this lasted around 20 hours or so, and that was with one character. There are more characters to unlock in the main story mode, "legend mode," to make this game much longer. Then there's dream mode, another story mode in this game with even more characters to unlock. Dream mode plays like a classic Dynasty Warriors game, with spots on the map to capture before the enemy does, and again, this makes an otherwise mediocre game so much more deep than it deserves, and it definitely benefits from this. Then there are the special moves. OH. MY. GOD. I don't even have words for these. They're amazing, and some of the most badass stuff you'll ever see in a video game. Just take my word for it. These are half the reason to play this game. All in all, Ken's rage doesn't look great, the metal music in the background can be annoying if that's not your thing, and the graphics can be somewhat drab. With all that being said, this is still one of my favorite video games ever made. It takes the beat 'em up/brawler genre and really runs with it. You'll have so much fun taking down wave after wave of enemies in so many different ways, that the rest of the game's presentation is forgivable. Just wait until you get to a rather tough boss fight and the game gets really intense. It's a wonderful experience. Ken's Rage is a game that deserves to be played. It's a callback to the great beat 'em ups of the 16-bit era, except that this is a third person 3D game. That's the only difference. Every time I play this, I feel like I'm playing a much deeper version of Final Fight or something in that vein. Pick this one up, it's a great title with some very, very brutal gameplay Great boss fights. Great special moves. Great cutscenes. Absolutely amazing game.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.1May 10, 2013After having my eye on Afro Samurai for a long, long time, I finally took the chance and picked it up. I have to say, I'm happy with it. It's a fun hack 'n slash style brawler, full of gritty violence and style oozing out of every orifice. The game looks absolutely gorgeous for being 4 years old or so. The cel-shaded graphics really add to the game's world and the entire feel of what Afro Samurai should be, and all of the artistic choices in this game hit more times than they miss. The gameplay here has definitely been done before, but it adds just enough new twists to make it interesting to play. You play as Afro Samurai, and your weapon of choice is a Katana, which you can dismember enemy body parts with. The game has pretty amazing looking blood effects scattered throughout, and this is aided by a mechanic called focus mode. As Afro, you can slow down time around you to make precision sword slices to dismember enemies to pieces, and what a bloody show it is. What really makes this mechanic work is the fact that the game goes into a very gorgeous black and white manga effect that works on every level. Every time I enter focus mode, I either notice something new about it or figure out new ways to fiddle around with Afro's swordplay. It's a great time. The only problem I have with the swordplay is that it feels a bit floaty. Your attacks never really feel like they have much weight to them, except when you're in focus mode, and that's a shame since the combat system here is actually quite good. It includes parrying, kicking, light attacks, heavy attacks, pouncing on enemies, etc. It's a blast to play with, but the whole feel of it really could have been tightened up. Level design can be hit or miss. Most levels you play through play wonderfully, but some of the early stages can get downright boring. Some stages are full of enemies to fight, others feel barren and include some odd platforming elements. While the wall running, wall jumping, and platforming in general work most of the time, there are quite a few instances where it feels very wonky. Thankfully these sections never hold you back too much, and even if you fall into a pit, you'll be spawned where you left off. That being said, the platforming is also something that could have been tightened up a bit. The story it tells here is good, it's just not told in the best manner possible. The loading screens when you first start the game can throw you off, since I personally thought they were cutscenes at first that were flowing perfectly with the narrative. They do have relevance in the story, but they seem to be told so out of order that in the end, even though I did understand the story here, I didn't care much for the way it was told. My biggest problem with Afro Samurai is that it feels like everything needs to be just a little bit tighter for this to be one of the greats. After every complaint mentioned that I have with this game, I actually ended up having a really good time with it. The boss fights are great, the music is absolutely wonderful, and the sound design all around is good. The presentation here is great. The gameplay is fun. Hacking dudes to death with your sword, pouncing on them and lopping their heads off never seems to get old, but it all just seems floaty. In the end, I would recommend this game. It's a good time and you'll end up having a ton of fun with it if you can look past its shortcomings.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Apr 16, 2013Grand Theft Auto III is, quite simply, one of the greatest video game accomplishments in history. It single-handedly invented the sandbox genre, and it's my favorite video game of all time. It gets nearly everything it tries to do right, and in doing so, made history. The open ended gameplay is always fun, but that's what most people focus on, but who could blame them? Before GTA III, gamers had never played anything like this before. However, there is a story here revolving around structured missions that shouldn't be missed. GTA III combines action/adventure and driving games flawlessly. With its respectable amount of vehicle and weapon choices, alongside the size of the map and the progressively tougher story missions, this is an extremely varied game that will almost sate anyone's appetite for a lengthy adventure to sink their teeth into. The story itself is, admittedly, nothing special, but with the sheer size of this game (for its time), to even incorporate a flowing narrative is, without a doubt, something to marvel. That's basically how I saw this game when it was released; something I was absolutely in awe at. The controls are spot on for driving, walking around, punching random pedestrians, etc., but the targeting system for aiming weapons will leave a bad taste with some gamers. Does that make it bad? No. Once you learn how to use it (along with conserving health and armor) you can get through any mission with minimal trouble. Any reviewer who could possibly label this masterpiece as a bad game simply has no business reviewing video games. That Sleeping Dogs, Crackdown, Infamous games you've been playing? All of those owe GTA III, big time. This game is the blueprint for sandbox games, and a damn fine model to go from, at that. Even games like the Tony Hawk franchise took note of the open world design in later entries, and it's hard to say that GTA III didn't have a hand in inspiring any of the games I've mentioned above. It's simply a monumental title that must be played by anyone who's mature enough to handle its visceral, gritty violence. I'll be the first to admit that it's not perfect, but it's so, so close to it, and is easily my favorite game in the GTA series. I'd even dare say that if you give this game a bad review, you had no business playing video games in general. GTA III has so much great going for it, you'll easily overlook the bad if you simply just take the time to get used to it. Which sadly, a minority of people won't. Their loss. 10/10.… Expand