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By otakuman5000 On 18 May, 2011 At 08:42 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarPortal 2 has finally landed on the doorsteps of many avid fans of Aperture Science and the folks at Valve. The game is finally a standalone and not part of a collection like the previous Portal game with a much more fleshed out story and gameplay mechanics then the predecessor. Another offering that is given to players is Online and splitscreen offline co-op that extends the gameplay and provides two unique ways to play. The sound is great, not many games can top Portal 2’s wit and it does look good to boot.

The most important part of Portal 2 is the gameplay. The core mechanics involve firing two portals that are linked to each other in different locations on special surfaces to solve puzzles that are presented by either the environment or A.I. These puzzles start out fairly simple and work their way into complex, mind bending and seemingly impossible puzzles. To everyone that has played the original game, the first half of the game should be straightforward and easy to solve but it is definitely not boring. As the game progresses you enter an area that will be very unfamiliar to past Portal enthusiasts and the puzzles get more mind bending. You will come across repulsion gel which lets you bounce, attraction gel which lets you move quickly and at one point you will be able to make your own portal surfaces. Along with all these gels there are always deadly lasers, turrets, bridges made of light and light tunnels. Within all these puzzles there are many secret rooms that are a great fan service to those who played the original and have seen the rat man lairs before as well as a few new secrets to discover about GLaDOS.

The graphics in this game are not as good as some of the heavy hitters that have surfaced in the last few months but they are not horrible either. At first they seem very conservative like the first portal but a bit aged with a little mess. As the rooms open up the scale becomes apparent and the vast improvements can be seen from the first game. Apart from the scale and the enhanced lighting the environment moves sometimes as you walk into it and the attention to detail is astonishing, all the little things that happen in the background really do make the world come alive. The final scene on the other hand looks so realistic that I at first thought it was a real video until the camera was turned around.

The spotlight of Portal 2 is definitely the writing and the audio. The witty comments made by GLAdOS and the hilarious remarks by Wheatley really stand out. You will be laughing quite a bit between puzzles and most likely want to hear more and more. The sounds are all done by location, so if you move away from the source it will go quiet even though you are in a training facility. There is some music at particular scenes, especially intense chases but there are a lot of quiet moments. By far my favourite sound effect is when using the “airial faith plates” or jump pads because it is very unexpected when the room is silent. The sound design is really well done and Valve had done a great job at writing something that has many twists and great lines of dialogue that aren’t even found on some sitcoms on TV.

The multiplayer is an extension of the single player and doubles the available playtime. The puzzles are not just the same ones as the single player repackaged for two players, they are completely new and twisted. The first few puzzles may be solved alone or using two controllers but very soon the puzzles will require timing and precision that can only be achieved with two people. The available multiplayer options are splitscreen which is great if you have friends over and online friends only so people with no friends won’t be able to see these mind bending puzzles since there is no matchmaking. The fact that there is no match making is a bit of a blessing because you can do gestures to your co-op buddy that may be annoying to the other player and without proper communication Portal 2 on co-op could possibly be the most miserable multiplayer experience ever but also one of the best around if you are good at conveying what needs to be done to the other person. For all those playing online voice communication is a must, I tried without a mic and the results were less then acceptable to be playable.

Portal 2 is a great puzzle game that doesn’t feel like a puzzle game and appeals to many players. Fans of the original will definitely get lost in the world and want more but new players can get just as engrossed. With good visuals and some of the wittiest story written for a video game it is easy to see why this game shines. The polish of the game is unmatched by almost any game that has been released in the last few months, there are no bugs that I have encountered while playing and no patches have been released on the first day. When Valve makes a game they give it 110% and it shows with every product they release especially Portal 2. The only complaint anyone can find about this game is that it isn’t long enough but only because you will want to keep playing, between the single player and co-op there are many hours of gameplay to be enjoyed but will fly right by because it is so much fun. So if you like a good puzzle game or like witty comments then definitely pick this up, if you don’t like a good puzzle game and witty comments then you should still pick this up.

By OtakuDante On 2 Dec, 2010 At 03:09 AM | Categorized As Editorials, PlayStation | With 0 Comments

No GravatarMost of my PSN/PS3 friends have learned that I’m a hardcore PSN avatar junkie. I can’t help it. I just love to decorate my PlayStation Network  ID with the latest and greatest avatars that the PlayStation Network has to offer! When it comes to a great avatar selection, PlayStation doesn’t fall short. In fact you’ll find that they have a unique variety that ranges from old school avatars like C’s Mega Man 10, and Ghouls and Ghosts, to newer avatars from Super Street Fighter IV. Just in the past few months I have amassed a collection of very cool avatars that include characters from the Street Fighter series, and even the Darkstalker series.

If I find a cool avatar I’ll usually purchase it. You can’t beat the $0.49 price tag for a bit of avatar bling to spice up, and personalize your PSN ID. My PSN ID currently sports the Oboro Bishomon avatar from the Darkstalkers series. If you’re into avatars like I am, then you’ll be happy to know the current PSN avatar catalog contains avatars from : Crash Commando, Darkstalkers, Dead Rising 2, Deadliest Warrior, Echochrome, Fat Princess, Final Fight:Double Impact, Flower, Ghouls and Ghosts, Heavy Rain, Kung Fu Rider, Little Big Planet, MAG, Mega Man 10, ModNation Racers, PAIN, Playstation 15th Ann., moon, Sengoku BASARA, Soldier-X 2: Final Prototype, Sports Champions, Street Fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III, Super Street Fighter IV, Top Gun, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.

PlayStation offers discounted avatar bundle packs for certain avatar groups if you are a member of the Playstation Plus program. One such avatar bundle, which I think is the best deal, is the Super Street Fighter IV bundle. It gives you all 35 avatars for the price of $4.99! That is the price if you are a member of PlayStation Plus. Next time you’ve got some extra PSN cash left over, stop by the avatar section of the PSN store to see what I’m talking about.

By otakuman5000 On 29 Nov, 2010 At 04:22 AM | Categorized As PlayStation, Previews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarNovember is a month where people channel their inner creativity. They celebrate the time of fall; it’s bright yellow, red, and orange colors of the leaves. They celebrate the types of food that will be displayed when big families come together, and are thankful that they have each other. It’s all creatively designed to draw everyone together.

So today, being Tuesday, November 23rd, the anticipated game that is all about being creative, and channeling that inner artist, couldn’t have been released at a better time. Japan Studio’s Beat Sketcher is an interactive musical painting game. It was made for the use of the PlayStation Move and the PlayStation Eye, and was released today in the PSN store. I made sure I got my download as soon as it was available. The demo, honestly, did not showcase this amazing game in the great potential that it clearly has, after I had dabbled with it the first few minutes. The game begins with the process of explaining how far, or how close a person should be in front of the PlayStation Eye. It then explains how bright the environment the player is in should be, and the calibration process for the PlayStation Move. Once the player is set up, the process of unlocking all of the menu options, and then progressing into a tutorial to teach you the main idea of the game takes place. When the player has passed onto the tutorial, the player is taught basic lines and shapes to show how accurate the Move is, and to also show what to expect in the Challenge mode.

The tutorial shows that the idea of Beat Sketcher is to sketch to the music being played in the background. In a sense, the player is making music much like a DJ. You are started off with a beat and the tutorial will display a line for you to follow. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. The player will have to draw the line in the same speed, and be as close to accurate as you can be to the guide line that you have to trace. This determines your score. The scores are ranged from “Bad”, “Good”, “Great”, “Excellent”, and “Cool”. It sort of reminds you of Parappa The Rapper’s score tactic, doesn’t it? To know when to start and finish, the line that you have to trace starts with starting circle. This is where your PlayStation Move glowing ball is to sit. A second circle appears, closes in, and overlaps onto that first circle to indicate when you should begin drawing. Remember, you should follow the same speed, and stay as close to accurately straight as that line is to determine your score. It sounds like a lot to do, but that is what poses the challenge. Each challenge has a different beat, and each stroke that you make has a different tune. These are the basic controls, and idea of the game, in which, the tutorial finally makes clear with the last lesson. You are now ready for the real thing!

Once the tutorial has been passed and the player is declared ready to play the game, one could only imagine what to do first. I took the initiative of trying out the Challenge mode. The first challenge was for me to follow the speed, and stay close to accuracy of drawing a green clover:

This was actually a pretty good challenge, and the music in the background was very upbeat. The tutorial mentioned a life bar that you actually have when doing challenges. If the player does a “bad” stroke, the life bar goes down a notch. If you do “good” to “excellent” strokes, the life bar goes up! And based on how well the player does his or her strokes, points are counted up and totaled at the end of the challenge. Then, a medal is given to the player. Plus, the player had the option to save the picture to their image gallery. Which you can then choose to save, and share with friends, family, and fellow gamers. During these challenges, I found it to be a little hard to keep still without bobbing my head along with the music.

This has been the only challenge I have tackled as of yet, but so far my impression of this game is pleasing. The game is going for $9.99 on the PlayStation Network store. I would say that it is a game for those hard, casual, or beginner gamers, who do not mind getting artistic everyone once in a while. Also for those who just want to get away from playing tough games for a bit. I have no doubt that this game is clearly going to be a favorite for friends, and family, or for just solo leisure fun!

By otakuman5000 On 14 Oct, 2010 At 10:55 PM | Categorized As PlayStation, Reviews | With 1 Comment

No GravatarHeavy Rain is a PlayStation 3 exclusive intense interactive thriller game set in a waterlogged city with a murky past.

Let’s not beat around the bush. I’ll get this off my chest before saying anything else about this game. There is nothing wrong with interactive video games! Yes, you’ll be watching some of the time, but that isn’t always everything. They are structuring the idea that there are others ways to play a game rather than getting a few headshots. The main draw of this game is that you build a relationship with the characters and you want to see them go down the right path, but it’s easier said than done. You can’t go down such a path and not run into complications, which is exactly where this game receives its charm.

Madison

You alternate between four main characters in this game:

Scott Shelby, a retired police officer who is currently working on his own as a private investigator trying to solve the mystery of the Origami Killer.
Madison Paige, a photojournalist who has sleeping problems. She tries to solve her problem by checking into motels- that is usually the only time she can actually get sleep.
Norman Jayden, an FBI profiler who was sent to help the local police force with the Origami Killer case. He struggles with his triptocaine drug addiction that gets in his way of work.
Ethan Mars, an architect who lived with his wife and two sons before losing one in an accident. His wife left him so he now lives alone, depressed with the loss of his older son, but still sees his younger son, Shaun who he looks after once in a while.
The Origami Killer has struck again; only it’s the son of Ethan Mars. He already lost his first son and losing another would completely drive him over the edge. He has to follow the breadcrumbs of the origami killer in order to find his son before he is killed. This is no easy task for Ethan, as he must complete various tasks set up by the killer himself to get clues as to where his son may be.

I was very impressed with the way Quantic Dream created this game. Within the first 5 minutes of playing the game you’ll be drawn in and after that, there’s no escape. You’ll play more and more wanting to find out what happens next, to what character and how they
will react to it. Switching characters is done through chapters. Once you have completed a certain goal in the level you will move on to another character. The loadings screens even show different characters showing you the amount of detail they put into the game. During gameplay there are tons of ways to complete the level. When your person is faced with a decision, you can hear the characters thoughts by pressing L2, which brings you an even closer connection to the person you are playing as. After reading listening to their thoughts you can choose to make any decision you like, but choose wisely as every decision can have a pro as well as a con.

Madison looking out the window

The graphics really show what the PlayStation 3 is capable of. In the Heavy Rain demo, you can see the amount of detail they have implemented in this game. This game really shines when you and your character are outside in the pouring rain. It looks very real even when the rainwater soaks the characters. My only argument with the game was that there is so much rain in the outside environments of this game, but there was no water when a character was washing his/her hands in the sink. I found it to be weird since they’ve used so much water in other places of the game that they didn’t bother with water coming out of the faucet.

The controls of the game are actually pretty neat. I remember when the demo came out and I was a little bit hazy about using R2 to walk. Me, as well as any other gamer might find this a bit awkward at first, but once you get into the groove of the game it won’t be a problem at all. The camera angle is somewhat fixed so it’s nothing like Uncharted where you can pretty much look wherever you want. The only downside is that you would sometimes have to walk in a certain direction to see more. Turning the characters head doesn’t expand what you can see as much as I thought it would.

The left analog stick is used to look around which works so smoothly. They really managed to make good use of the DualShock Sixaxis controller. There are many examples of the game where you had to move your controller a certain way, to shaking frantically to get out of a tricky situation. This was well done and other PlayStation exclusives should do the same.

The game has also received a PlayStation Move update allowing you to use the Move wand for even more motion controls. I’ve yet to try it, but I will be picking up the PlayStation Move soon, so I can re-experience the game with movement controls.

In terms of difficulty you don’t have to worry about missing the button pressing too much. I consider myself to be somewhat of a casual gamer but my first play through was on the hardest difficulty. There are still ridiculously easy parts to play so I don’t think you will have to play easy mode. Its funny, I was playing on hard mode and they made drinking orange juice so easy. All you had to do was shake your controller (to shake the box) and push the right stick up. If you fail to do that correctly he’ll just stare at the box of juice in his hand with an expressionless look on his face

This game features 22 different endings so that tells you that depending on the choices you make in the game can alter the grand finale. If the character you’re playing dies, it’s over for that character. However, you can still continue to play the game with the other characters to reach another specific ending depending on the choices you’ve made. This gives great replay ability to gamers who want to know everything that could have happened in a situation a character is in. It’s fun to replay a level again choosing to do different tasks and see how the character will respond to it as well as see what the character starts thinking about.

I think it’s safe to say that Heavy Rain is a masterpiece for the PlayStation 3. The game will take you for a ride on an emotional roller-coaster with your own steering wheel. You make the choices and you deal with the consequences.

I highly recommend Heavy Rain to anyone who enjoys a good mystery to solve. It’s definitely worth the money because you’ll keep playing it to see if you missed anything the first, second or even third play through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKPPdgBK3r8&feature=related