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More fun than George Michael could ever have in...

May 20 2013 07:48 AM | blondlizard in Reviews

Here at Punk and Lizard you won’t find any cheap toilet humour, double entendres or crass jokes in our reviews, oh no. Here we try and bring a little refinement and sophistication to the gaming table. So when the kind guys over at Ripstone sent us their new Vita release Men’s Room Mayhem, we did not want our high standards to drop. We’re not the sort to give in to such lunacy…actually I’m lying – we’re Punk and Lizard, let’s roll!

Does Men’s Room Mayhem grab you by the goolies and stream with a high scoring royal flush? Is it a soft, strong and very long game or a short, quick burst of undiluted pleasure? Would Thomas Crapper, the English toilet inventor from the 1800′s approve or turn in his grave? Let’s don our surgical gloves, get our head behind the U-bend and take a closer look.

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In Men’s Room Mayhem you must guide desperate customers around the restrooms (toilets for us Brits) and let them do their business in a hassle free environment. You then simply guide them to the hand basins and out the door. Now not all patrons are the same, some dash Usain Bolt style to the urinals while others simply amble along. If you don’t escort the little guys to the loo in time then these guys aren’t too shy about letting go in public either. Slowly the toilets start to get busy as folks flood in and here is where the fun starts. If customers knock into each other then bathroom brawls will break out, meaning missed points. Gaining “etiquette” bonus is done by spacing out your peeing public in opposite urinals. In between rounds you need to swipe your finger like lightning over the screen to clean your restroom. This is a frantic few seconds – there is blood, liquids and solids as well as sinks and toilets that need to be swiped spotlessly clean. The bone crushing rock soundtrack makes a welcome change in tempo on these mid level breaks too.

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Are the controls as infuriating as potty training? No. It’s a rather simple case of drawing a line with your finger and these guys will follow it. You could draw a line as long as Route 20 and these fellas would stick to it like glue. This really make’s Men’s Room Mayhem a joy to play. Unlocking later levels is done my meeting the set challenges, so replaying levels to move forward is required. The game really becomes a quick thinking strategy game as you dash about making sure all your customers are peeing, washing and leaving the restroom clean and happy. It really is mayhem on a grand scale.

The game’s menu is a clever custom vending machine which lets you choose between two different game modes, Normal or Blitz. Men’s Room Mayhem looks so shiny and bright and shows off different detail on each new level. Play the music festival toilet and you’re guiding around Black Veil Brides lookalikes. The endearing music is thought out and makes Men’s Room Mayhem addictive and heaps of fun. Ripstone have got everything so right. With a name like this, the game had to deliver and it certainly does. Complete with trophies and one gold :gold on offer even the elite trophy hunter’s over at ps3 Imports will be bagging this one. Also the fact that there are Leaderboard options make it an even better package.

More fun than George Michael could ever have in a toilet, Men’s Room Mayhem is a riot. Oh and it’s cheaper than a packet of Wet Wipes.

Lizard Rating 8/10

Published by: Ripstone Games
Developed by: Sawfly Studios
Released Date: 22.5.13
Genre: Action

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urban trial freestyle review

Apr 16 2013 03:08 AM | blondlizard in Reviews

Tate Interactive’s Urban Trial Freestyle is a side scrolling motorbike stunt racer. You play as a bare chested, monosyllabic, grunting, hairy hillbilly biker. He’s pretty fearless. Bouncing off double decker buses and surviving 50ft drops from roof tops never seem to fluster this biker from hell. Shifting weight over obstacles and ramps in an attempt to get from A to B, Usain Bolt style, is what this game is all about. You always travel in a straight line and with the minimal controls it may not be as easy as it seems. There have been other trial games out there, but Urban Trial Freestyle on the PS Vita is the one that I’ve had my eye on.

The intro of the game kicks off with an explosive start. Sirens, police chatter and a backstreet chase, it could easily be a two wheeled Need For Speed we are watching here.

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The game starts with 2 training levels. Here you learn the basics and how to control your bike. Utilising accelerate and brake is how you’re going to progress and win. The game is spread across 5 different urban environments. These beautifully designed backgrounds look stunning on the Vita. Skidding trucks, exploding cars and flocks of geese all make up the interesting chaotic background. Everything looks so sharp and crisp, it really has the look and feel of a full priced release.

The handling is excellent too, a little poke on the accelerator and you will wheelie onto the first ramp. Using the left stick sees you shift your weight back and forth. You are totally in control of the power house machine for every millisecond you’re riding. The over the top stunts, death defying jumps, rolling burning cars and train carriage collapses are spectacular. Put it this way, Jason Statham would feel very at home in Urban Trial Freestyle. You will fall from your bike many times either by collapsing floors giving way, exploding canisters sending you skyward or simply connecting face to concrete but don’t worry, a simple tap on the triangle face button sees you remount at the last check point. There’s not even time to have a slurp of your favourite energy drink, the restart is super quick and how it should be.

The way to move forward in the game is to collect stars which unlock later levels. You’ll also find bags of money which are littered along the way in hard to reach places, so you’ll find yourself replaying earlier levels to improve your star rating. Another sure way you’ll want to keep coming back is the added bonus of having your snap shot up on billboards if your times warrants it. This is a really welcome added extra which makes putting time into each track worthwhile.

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Later in the game there is a certain degree of puzzle solving as the tracks become more creative. Industrial Hell leaves little to the imagine. The use of brakes here is a must in order to move on because balancing your metal machine from trigger pads to safer ground can be tricky. Other tracks like Concrete Kiss…well you sort of know what to expect here.

In Urban Trial Freestyle you can also upgrade your bike. If you have the money then engines, chassis and tyres can all be upgraded. Finding those hard to access bags of cash are even more important now. Spending this hard earned cash can also be used on fashion items. Rough and ready gloves, boots and tees can make your biker look slightly less like the love child of Evil Knievel and ZZ Top.
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Challenge mode sees you needing to perform exploding jumps and other dangerous death defying stunts. Again each stunt needs to be unlocked one by one. Just like the classic Motorstorm RC leaderboard system, Urban Trial uses a similar system which makes the game rewarding to the more pro player. If shaving seconds off your best lap time is for you then head to the Playstation store right now. The game has 7 bronze, 4 silver and a gold trophy up for grabs also. The added attraction of some DLC in the near future would be a good move.

Tate Multimedia’s Urban Trial Freestyle is a fine stunt racer, offering depth and a real rewarding challenge. Stunning visuals, precise bike handling and community leaderboards make this dangerous trials racer a must. Clear that memory card, Urban Trial Freestyle has arrived.

8/10 lizard rating – laid flat out in the mud lapping this up!
www.punkandlizard.com

Release Date: 20.2.13
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Tate Interactive
Developer: Tate Interactive

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Guacamelee! Review

May 01 2013 05:01 PM | blondlizard in Reviews

Most reviews of this game will probably throw in some sort of cheap puns, but you won’t get that here at punkandlizard.com, no way Hombre. Dammit.

Drinkbox Studios brings us the Mexican themed Guacamelee! – a cross buy, 2D platforming brawler which leaps between genres. You play as Juan who sadly gets murdered, but is raised from the dead. He becomes a bad ass Luchador and fights to save El Presidente’s kidnapped daughter from an evil skeleton called Calaca.

The game lets you know from the get go that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are many in jokes and references (one joke about listening to an Adele song over and over made me laugh out loud). You will have conversations with goats. You will be able to turn yourself into a chicken. Guacamelee! is having a party in cuckoo land and you’re all invited.
As you progress through the game you’ll unlock new attack techniques such as the Frog Slam and the Rooster Uppercut. Firstly these will help you dispatch of enemies quicker than Rey Mysterio, but they’ll also help you get to new areas on the map by smashing through obstructing coloured blocks too. There are many chests to smash and side quests to find as well, all giving you coins to spend to prolong your stamina and health.

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You can also change between the land of the living and land of the dead using the right trigger button. This will enable you to get through sections that look impossible by moving walls. At times, you’ll have to flip between the two whilst jumping on to new platforms. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. If you get stuck you can hit select and view the map, which will highlight your current objective and if there is another way of getting to where you need to be. Remember when I said earlier that you can turn into a chicken? That wasn’t a typo. This actually becomes essential and will help you to exploit small cracks when your Luchador frame won’t let you. Simply tapas the touchscreen to activate. Sorry I mean tap.

The most fun in Guacamelee! though is the brawling. You’ll come up against all sorts of enemies: skeletons, dragons, flowers (no, really) and it is awesome. A few punches here and there and a triangle will show up, letting you know you can throw your enemy into a big group of attackers or into the nearest wall. At some points you’ll have so many different types of enemies trying to hurt you that you’ll have to be super quick eliminating them. If you’re successful, you’ll slowly start to realise that Guacamelee is one of the best Vita releases this year. It’s ludicrously addictive, challenging and most of all fun.

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Reviews for Guacamelee! have been universally brilliant, and rightly so. The only criticism I’ve heard is that the game is too short. Here’s why that doesn’t matter. At times Guacamelee! is brutally difficult, and certain sections will literally take you hours to get past. You’ll want to turn your PS Vita into a PS Piñata, hanging it from the ceiling while you and your blindfolded friends take swipes at it with a stick shouting “For Guac’s Sake!!!“. However, if you can get past these sections, it’s amazingly rewarding. Not forgetting all this is amidst some beautiful, Mexican culture inspired art and it’s only £9.99 for both the Vita and PS3 versions.
It may be a bold statement with heavyweights like Killzone and Tearaway arriving, but Guacamelee! is a surprise early contender for handheld game of the year.
Viva la Vita!

Punk rating – 9/10


Release Date: April 9, 2013

Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Drinkbox
Developer: Drinkbox

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Sine Mora review

Apr 16 2013 03:13 AM | blondlizard in Reviews

“When you’re born with the ability to travel through time…”
Sine Mora isn’t your typical side-scrolling shooter, this game is all about time. Each individual mission is against the clock which makes for really interesting game play. Take a hit and you lose valuable time, while unleashing your fire power will extend time. Sine Mora is visually awesome, and definitely the finest shooter I have played in a long while.

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Before this game I was zapping away on Shienryu and GaiaSeed, both great PS1 shooters. One massive plus this game has playing on the Vita as opposed to playing on a 50 inch is the ability to track the onscreen action. The OLED screen is perfect. At times the game is extremely chaotic, and the huge quantities of coloured blobs are easy to spot on a smaller screen. Your ship feels small but handles precisely which helps in later levels when you’re travelling through twisty misty passages. The many gigantic boss fights are so stunning you’ll find yourself being blown to pieces. You’re in awe at the visual feast in front of you and forget the task at hand. Sine Mora is still your typical shoot’em up – destroying everything in your path, dodging incoming missiles, collecting power ups and huge boss fights. The left stick controls your mini ship and the handy left trigger can fast forward the cut scenes thankfully. Having the ability to slow down time is a real winner when it’s time for bigger badder battles and avoiding swarms of missiles.

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Released in Nov 2012, Sine Mora came out around the time when maybe bigger releases were hitting the Vita. Make sure you give this epic shoot’em up a blast though. Sine Mora is brilliant. It has stunning visuals and is a real challenge even for seasoned gamers.

Lizard rating 8.5/10

Release Date: November 20, 2012
Genre: Shoot’em up
Publisher: Grasshopper Manufacture
Developer: Digital Reality

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Fight for Fortune - punk's quick look and e...

Apr 12 2013 04:05 AM | blondlizard in Reviews

Uncharted: Golden Abyss was awesome. The Uncharted series is brilliant full stop. So when it was announced that Fight for Fortune was coming out, and it was a card game, my heart sank. Now I'm not knocking card games. It's just that we didn't buy a PS Vita to play card games. The good news however is that Fight For Fortune is actually really fun. It's a pretty tenuous link to Uncharted granted, but it's still fun.

The game is 2 teams going against each other, heroes and villians from past games. You have Factions, Fortune and Resources to beat your opponent. Your end goal is to reduce your opponent's health level to zero. You have a deck of cards to choose from which are split into 3 sections: hero, villian or mercinary. Some are attacking and some are defending, and to help more you get a treasure card and action card. You can use these all together or bank your fortune.

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It's complicated at first, but you'll pick it up very quickly. You will probably win your first match against Doughnut Drake and be baffled as to how you did it. My first reactions to this game was that it was rubbish. I thought it was taking advantage of Uncharted fans. But 10 minutes in and I couldn't put it down. I keep going back to it. It's so addictive and it's actually pretty cool to have the odd game on the Vita which isn't guns blazing.

One slightly jarring thing about Fight for Fortune is that if you've collected certain items in Golden Abyss your cards are worth more, making some of the fights easier. Problem for me was that I platinumed Golden Abyss, deleted the data and traded it in. I wish Bend had arranged for it to be taken from trophy data. I feel this will probably happen to a lot of people.

That being said, Fight For Fortune is £3.19 on the PSN store, which is next to nothing for the amount of time you'll get with this game. That price will creep up with the 2 expansion packs incoming, but I'm still glad to say that Fight for Fortune hasn't let the Uncharted series down.
Give it a go, it might surprise you how much you like it.

Punk

Quick trophy tips

License to Hunt - You'll receive this after playing the tutorial.
Change it Up - Customise your Faction Deck, Avatar, Card Backing & Background. The Faction Deck is not with the other three. You can find it in Card Library under Faction Builder.
Plundered! - Very easy silver trophy. Simply play your first match against Doughnut Drake five times. It's the easiest match and one by one you will unlock all the rewards for the match.

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PS Vita review - Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken

Apr 12 2013 03:45 AM | blondlizard in Reviews

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken - now that’s a game with a name. I've never played the original PC or PS3 game and I can't remember playing as a fully armed chicken that looks like a miniature Hulk Hogan. It’s interesting times ahead.

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a gorgeous cartoony side-scrolling adventure game with lots of insane frantic shooting. Little Feet lovers turn away now cos its the penguin species that is ammo fodder in this one. Solving puzzles, tracking down the correct swipe card and inflight combat company the mayhem and the cinematic delivery.

I love a great intro to a game and Rocketbirds certainly delivers. It really catches you off guard and brings a smile to your face. Science fiction space rockers New World Revolution provide the opening soundtrack and both soundtrack and intro movie work so well together. Both song and game cover the subject of oppression and fighting for freedom. A serious subject but don’t worry, with all the humour and cartoony game play you can easily forget the underlying message here. The aim of the game is to fight your way through the army of heavily armed penguins and overthrow the government. Easy? Let’s see.

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Being a platform game it is all about triggering lift switches, shoving boxes to reach higher ledges and jumping from one platform to another. With added touches like propaganda posters littered everywhere and you playing as a Steven Seagal Chicken, Hardboiled Chicken definitely has its own individual stamp. Pistols, assault rifles, grenades, shotguns and Uzis can all be picked up along the way which can help make for a safer escape. The clever touch screen Vita controls come in handy here, making a quick change of gun type super-fast. The gun battles are never that challenging, but still enjoyable. Blast away too much with your Uzi and the unlucky enemy will be sent skyward and remain in the air levitating David Blaine style, until you release the trigger. Also the added help of medi packs and dropped ammo from unlucky blooded stiff penguins make the way forward slight easier. Unfortunately you can’t jump and shoot but you can duck and shoot.

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One great little feature your chicken has is the ability to take control of enemy soldiers. Using your brain bugs can possess the nearest enemy and then walk amongst your foes. Then you can trigger switches which could not be accessed in your own skin and take out the odd soldiers as well. A simple bullet to your head returns you back to chicken form. A break to the gun action sees you don your jackpack and become the Rocketeer for a few brief minutes. Here the battle in the sky is fun and simple with great animations.
There is a big emphasis on the puzzle-solving aspect of the game but don’t worry, you won’t find yourself stuck in a frustrated state for too long. The cut scenes and soundtrack throughout the game are so fresh and clever too. Rocketbirds has a whole heap of trophies including a platinum and the co-op adds a longer lifespan to the brilliance of the game.

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With the added humour Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken definitely offers PS Vita gamers a great title here. Everything is easy to grasp and never a real challenge. A pretty unique game and devolopers Ratloop have certainly brought something different to the PS Vita table.

7.5 / 10 Lizard rating - Dipping in the water to cool down.

Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Ratloop
Developer: Ratloop

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The Walking Dead Review

Dec 04 2012 11:45 PM | MikeKeese in Reviews

Overview:

Over the past few years, comic books have come out of obscurity into the main stream with big budget films like Batman and Spiderman. At the same time, a huge zombie craze started, for better or worse. These two pop things led to a tv adaptation of the Walking Dead which became a huge television hit. With zombies being so prevalent in gaming, it was only a matter of time before a game was released for the series. As someone who has never watched the show, I was skeptical that it would just be just another generic zombie game. Rather than going with the typical zombie game, Telltale took on the project of adapting the series. Telltale has made a number of popular franchises into games such as Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. Both of these games we hit or miss with fans but they seem to find a good balance with the Walking Dead.


Story/Game Play:

Being that this is a telltale game, the basic game play is defined by the logo. These games are slower paced and story driven which is both good and bad depending on how much you care about the plot and characters. As someone who only played Back to the Future, which was a pure point and click game, Walking Dead was a nice change of pace. The game play feels like a breath of fresh air compared to most modern games which only enhances its playability. Each episode is about 2 hours but you rarely find yourself wanting to put the controller down.

Just for a basic overview, you play as Lee, a former professor that is on his way to jail for a murder when the car hits a zombie. He meets a young girl named Clementine who he takes under his wing. They meet a number of characters along the way who join your party and change the story depending on who you choose to side with and save in certain situations.

One thing the game does incredibly well is make mundane activities feel important and enjoyable, much like in Red Dead Redemption. In most games, the conversations you have with NPCs are dull and unimportant and are often worth skipping. In the Walking Dead, you find yourself wanting to talk to each character to see what they have to say and how it will affect your opinion of those characters. Even activities such as cutting a girl's hair or finding a tool to unscrew some nails don't feel bland because you are advancing the story to see what happens next.

The game finds a perfect balance between pure cut scene, quick time events that feel completely in place, and free range game play. Although the game is fairly linear, it works well because the player is more in it for the story. You never have to think too hard to advance which is different than a number of point and click games that telltale made in the past but they have changed the game play in this game to better suit telling a story. As stated above, each episode is about 2 hours but it doesn't feel like it. The game is very engrossing and keeps the player interested throughout with plot twists, cliffhangers, and a wide variety of choices to vary the story.

As stated above, the Walking Dead provides the player with various dialogue choices that will affect how characters think of you and often what you will think of that character. A story driven game only works if the characters are likable and you can relate to them in some way. As a main character, Lee is very likable and you often feel for him throughout the game, which is something not many games can pull off. Pending on how you play, characters will learn to trust or distrust you and it feels like you have tailored the story based on your decisions. Sadly, this is also the one big flaw of the game, although big in this sense doesn't seem to really affect my opinion of this game. Although it feels like you are changing the course of the game with your decisions, the characters who are lost along the way would have been lost in one way shape or form even if different decisions were made. Although this takes some of the feeling of a choose your own adventure away, unless you replay the game or look it up online, you wouldn't be able to tell this the first time through. Finally, one of the most interesting things about the game is each chapter's 5 major decisions are tracked and you are given the stats at the end of each chapter. It shows how your decisions compared with other player's decisions. Its not groundbreaking but its a cool little feature.

Lastly, there are some graphically hiccups on occasion but usually during cut scenes for the next episode preview. I did notice a little slow down in the beginning of episode 5 but these were extremely minor complaints.



Replay Value:

Although the replay value seems high with the decision making, most of the characters will have the same fate regardless. While this does detract a little from the replay value, the story here is a very good one and seeing alternate decisions is a good reason to revisit it. One question you have to ask yourself when you finish a game is if you ever see yourself going back to it. Walking Dead may not have a lasting appeal to some but it is a game where that i could see myself revisiting several times because the story is that enjoyable. Its almost like watching your favorite tv series over again once and a while. You know the outcome but its still just as enjoyable to you. The Walking Dead offers enough story variation that the player could change their decisions a few times and still not see every cut scene or small bit of story arc in here which gives the game a high replay value.


Trophies:

There isn't much to say here. Beat the game, get the platinum. Can't get any easier than this. Luckily, this is an absolutely perfect list for this game as it allows you to just enjoy the ride and not have to worry about any missable trophies.


Closing Statement:

Although the game play may turn some people off, this is a game that everyone should play. As someone who does not like many video game stories, this one is interesting throughout and has some very good characters and top notch voice work. With high replay value, a great story, and probably the easiest trophy list ever made, this game is an absolute must play. This is easily one of this generation's finest games.


Game play/Story: 9.5/10
Replay Value: 8/10
Trophies- 1/10 (Ease) 10/10 (fun factor)

Overall: 9.5/10

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Killzone HD Review

Dec 03 2012 06:33 PM | BobbbyLight in Reviews

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When Sony started doing HD remakes of its classic PlayStation library (understanding that everyone’s definition of classic is different), it started a trend that’s gone farther than some may have guessed. God of War came out with upscaled textures, widescreen format and a much faster frame rate than when it was originally released on the PS2. This opened the floodgate for more Sony games to be remade as well was some third party games. We are now to the point games that very few people are looking for updates on, get updates anyhow. This trend is obviously making cash for someone and the only way to stop the bleeding is for us to stop buying.

Killzone is one of those titles that no one really wanted. I don’t recall a large group of internet users coming out and beating down the door for this one. When these HD updates became viable for today’s market, you knew people wanted a Ratchet & Clank or Metal Gear Solid. No one was hoping for the same with this one.

Released very late in video game’s last generation, it is amazing at how dated Killzone feels now, just 8 years after its release. While games like the previously mentioned MGS have had their gameplay hold up to the test of time, the advancements within shooters in our current generation has made Killzone feel downright geriatric. Nothing about this game stands out, not even when compared to many of the games it was released with. The only things I personally gained from playing this were an appreciation of how far first person games have come, as well as a hatred of not being able to aim down a sight.

The story is what every Killzone is about. The Helghast are the terrible, horrible people from another planet who are trying to take over and rule the galaxy with an iron fist. The ISA is a group that fights for freedom and… Oh god, I am so bored typing this that I am just going to stop.

The story doesn't matter. It’s told through horrible looking cut-scenes (which did not appear to get any HD love other than a widescreen stretch) with even worse voice acting. It is sad when a review gets to the voice acting before controls or graphics, but the voices, and sound in general, are done so poorly it takes precedent over a lot of other things within the game. The cut-scenes are probably where you will find the ‘best’ voice acting, but it is still not very good.

The in game stuff is what’s really going to ruin this game for a lot of people. If you thought Rico was annoying in any of Killzone’s sequels, you ain’t heard nothing yet. Everyone is annoying here. The Helghast will run from corners, straight at you yelling “KILL HIM!” what will be probably be hundreds of times in a playthrough. Your AI partners repeat the same lines over and over and over again. Luger’s go-to line is to tell you to make sure you aren't seen. Then she tells you to go in guns blazing. Sometimes she says these things close enough to each other that they feel like a sentence, which then leads to confusion. Make up your damn mind, women! Am I going stealth or am I going Rambo? Hakha, the rouge Helghast solider who joins the ISA side midway through the game will tell you (again, probably hundreds of times) that you are “Taking this war rather personally, aren't you?” I would reply with a bullet to his stupid, bald head, but there is no friendly fire.

The last, completely jarring, issue with sound is the fact that you are in a war with tanks, enemies and guns, yet…. It’s quiet. At times silent. It’s just bizarre to be on the battlefield with no ambient sound at all, just people yelling and the sound of a few guns blazing. We have gotten so used to decent sound production in this generation that the poor use of sound in the game was distracting. Killzone can’t get a pass on this because there were excellent sounding games released years before it was. There is no excuse for it to be as bad as it is.

Graphically, the HD remake did this no favors. Some textures do appear to have gotten higher resolutions while others still look like mud. Pop-in and slow-down are ever-present in the game, which is ridiculous given the system it is running on and the low quality of overall visuals factored in. Sometimes you will get lost in an area because the same scenery repeats over and over. At the very least, Guerrilla Games did try to make varied landscapes with the standard industrial setting being mixed up with swampland and snowy drifts. Overall, this is a bad looking game; the only thing that was done well was the weapon reload animations, which is a sad thing to say about a games graphics.

Game play is what really matters, right? It is, and despite all the previous annoyances the game will provide, it’s not a completely horrible experience. It’s not a good one either, but if given the choice between this or Damnation, you’d be better off in Killzone. There are a lot of weapons to fire, but something rather critical is missing from the formula, the ability to look down a gun’s sights. After a while, it felt like more of a mental issue than an actual problem, but as something we have all become so used to in our games, the lack of ability to have a sight on every gun made the gunplay feel weird. Still, some of the guns were fun to shoot and that’s all this game was really made for, anyhow.

You do have an AI squad, but don’t expect them to help you. They always stay behind you and at times even shoot at you. At one point, I entered an area with some walls, sat next to the wall for some cover and my entire team knelt with the wall 2 inches from their face. Thanks for the help, guys. Enemy AI is no better. They run at you 90% of the time and when they aren't running at you, they stand still. Even on the hardest difficulty, the enemies are entirely predictable.

On top of dumb AI you get very few clues on what to do at times. There is no map and no mission checkpoints telling you where to go. Maybe we have gotten too used to games telling us what to do so we are soft, but I don’t want to have to walk around a terrible looking game longer than I have to because my mission objectives aren’t clear. Another massive issue is that you have to hold down L3 to run. Have you pushed down the L3 button to run in a game recently? No, you haven’t, because it’s terrible way to handle that gameplay mechanic. The last gameplay annoyance is the huge gaps in checkpoints. I can somewhat forgive this as maybe the attempt was for the game to be more difficult than average, but there will be a few times you are cursing the checkpoint system.

There is a local multiplayer component as well, but with the ability to take KZ2 or 3 online, there is no reason to play it. While it’s useless now, it may have been the one of the game’s better offerings at the time it was originally release, in 2004. It has enough gameplay types and settings to mess with, if you are inclined to play against some bots for a while. The max allowed players is two, with the screens being split, one on top and one on the bottom.

So what do we have here? An ugly game with a story that doesn't matter, characters that are both uninteresting and annoying, stupid emery and teammate AI and gameplay that feels extremely dated. There really are no redeeming qualities about this game, other than the large variety of weapons to use. Maybe (huge emphasis on that word) hardcore Killzone fans (all 4 of them) that care about the story of the game will get something out of this, but even that is a massive stretch. This was clearly just made as a throw in for Killzone’s collection disc, but it also retails for $15 on the PSN. Since they are expecting actual money for this game, things like frame rate and controls should be fixed. HD remakes are close to jumping the shark and Killzone might be the act of The Fonz putting on his water skis.

Story & Presentation: :secret
Story doesn't matter and the presentation is lackluster.

Graphics: :bronze
Slow down and pop-in abound. At least the locations do feel varied.

Gameplay: :bronze
Not fun but not horrible either. It just feels very dated.

Sound: :secret
The worst sounding game I have played in years. It is so bad it made what could have been an average game into a terrible one.

Trophies: :gold
This is why the vast majority of people who play this, will play this. You are able to use cheats to get around easily. The only reason this doesn't get the highest score is you have to play this horrible game almost 4 times.

Final Score: :bronze

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Testament of Sherlock Holmes Review

Dec 01 2012 08:55 PM | MikeKeese in Reviews

I just finished playing this one and decided to write a little review on it. Going into this game I had no expectations of this game.


Gameplay:


This game plays very similarly to point and click games of old with some puzzle solving and free range movement. This sort of game was lost in time really until Telltale brought back this style with popular franchises such as Back to the Future. While the game is essentially a point and click game at heart, you do have free range of motion which is in all honesty, the biggest flaw about this game.

Most of the gameplay elements feel every bit like the budget title this is, although this was the second game in this series; the first being a 360 exclusive. The biggest problem by far is the opening of doors. When a door can be interacted with, a hand icon appears over it. Often when you click the icon, Sherlock will decided to walk into the door repeatedly rather than opening it. If this happened a few times throughout it will still be annoying but this happens way too much. It often leads to having to reposition the character so he can open the door. This is where the hybrid of point and click and free walking does not meld well.

The second major problem is that often times Sherlock will get locked in place and will not walk, mostly after you open a door. He will often times not move for around 10 seconds and you have to mash buttons in order to get him to walk again. If this was an action game, this problem would render the game unplayable to a certain extent because it becomes incredibly frustrating even in a game such as this. Its sad when a game cannot get something as simple as walking right.

Although these problems are frustrating, the gameplay is not centered around being able to move quickly. The best way to describe the feel of this game is a cheap LA Noire with puzzes and without the action parts. While this type of game doesn't appeal to many, it is definitely a change of pace from many modern games.

Where the game does shine is in some very fun puzzles, which of course are cheapened by a guide but are entertaining to try. There is a very nice variety of puzzles as well such as lockpicking, math puzzles, and sorting puzzles. All of these puzzles provided a nice change of pace from the monotonous movement and investigation of crime scenes. A few highlight puzzles in the game are arranging a seating chart in a classroom by clues given on each students name card and correctly ordering animal tablets by clues on the different animals. The puzzles also feel very fair. There is enough there on each one to make you feel like it wasn't just a sloppily thrown in aspect of the game meant to change the pace up a little bit.

While the movement is incredibly awkward and frustrating, the games puzzles are crafted well enough to make you want to see what is coming next. The story does just enough to make you want to keep going and see what happens next and there is a decent variety of locations as well. I only ran into one huge glitch as well which cause the towns people in one area to disappear but deleting the patch corrected this issue. The game also is very generous and allows you to save anywhere at anytime, which is a very appreciated feature.


Replay Value:

Being that this game doesn't have multiple choices and the results of the puzzles do not change, unfortunately this game has little to no replay value. The game is also fairly short so the 40 dollar price tag on this was far too high. It should have been a 15 dollar psn game or a $20 dollar budget release.


Trophies:

This is a game where the player really gets to decide how hard they want to make it. With a guide, this game is incredibly easy and on two puzzles really have to be done by the player (a jigsaw puzzle and and marble transferring puzzle). Without a guide, the player will have to use their brain to figure some puzzles out and do a lot of trial and error. The platinum can be had by the end of the story which is good because there is no chapter select option. Most of the list however is story related which works well with this style of game. There are a few missable trophies but with the ability to constantly save, there is little room for error if you keep 2 or 3 save files.


Closing Statement:

While the movement is awkward and clunky far more often than it should be, the game itself provides a nice change of pace from a lot of modern games. The story is interesting enough to entertain the player for the relatively short length of the game and the puzzles can definitely be entertaining. With little reason to replay, the game begs to be a psn release and is definitely not worth its asking price. If you like point and click or puzzle heavy games and want a nice distraction, this is one to check out.


Gameplay: 5/10 (2/10 for walking/movement, 8/10 for puzzle and investigation elements)
Replay Value: 1/10
Trophies: 2/10 difficulty, 7/10 fun factor

Overall: 6.5/10

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Resident Evil 6 Review

Nov 22 2012 10:33 AM | MikeKeese in Reviews

Just so we clear this at the beginning, this review will contain minor spoilers. If you really care about the plot of this game, avoid some sections of this review


Overview:

Since it originated in 1998, Resident Evil has been a wildly popular franchise ranging across many consoles and handhelds. In 2005, Resident Evil 4 changed the game from a survival horror franchise to a more traditional over the shoulder action game. RE4 is often regarded as one of the best games ever made, which I can't argue with. It made the franchise accessible to many more fans. In 2009, Resident Evil 5 followed with the same gameplay as 4. While this game did not garner as much critical success as the last game, it was still relatively well received for a game that basically said "if it's not broken, don't fix it" This made it apparent that this style would become the dominant style of RE game to come, at least in the main console games.



Gameplay/Story:

Resident Evil 6's big selling point was a "30 hour story" Most games of today are very short so a nice lengthy campaign is sort of a shocker in this day and age. My first time through RE4 it took me around 20 hours but with a speed run, I have run it in under 3 hours. Resident Evil 5 was about a 10 hour game the first time through and I have done a speed run in under 2 hours. Resident Evil 6 supplements the one story with 3 intersecting stories featuring 3 main protagonists and their partner. This seems like a nice touch but it almost feels like they didn't feel like developing a flushed out single story so they went with a cop out method of 3 stories, but that will be explained later. The game suffers from a few main flaws. That keep it from being on the same level as the previous 2 titles.

1. The characters simply don't play differently enough. If you are going to make a game where you have multiple character options, one very important thing to do is to make you actually want to play as another character. Often times, when a game has multiple playable characters, they all have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Resident Evil 6 has nothing of the sort. It doesn't matter if you are playing as Leon or Sherry, they both play exactly the same minus a few melee attacks. This makes the game feel stale by the time you get to the third story, which brings me to the next point...

2. The multiple story system simply does not work. The previous resident evil games worked because they were one fluid single player experience. The device used here is that the story lines intersect, which actually makes for repetitive game play. You will often find yourself playing the same part of the game you played in a different campaign from a slightly different perspective. This can work but here it seems more of a way to extend the game rather than something to make the story more interesting. Where this problem is most evident is in Ada's campaign, which is point 3.


3. In Resident Evil 4, there was a game mode entitled Separate Ways, which allowed you to use Ada and see what she was doing in the background of the story. While not necessary, this felt like a nice little throw in by the developers. Resident Evil 6 tries to do the same thing but they decided to make it a full fledged story arc with equal length to Leon, Jake, and Chris' campaigns. Rather than feeling like an extra, it felt like another way of extending a story that was already very bland as is. Ada's story suffers from two massive flaws though which makes it a worthless add in.
  • This game was designed to be played in co-op. They give you two characters for a reason in every story. The developers have said that horror games simply don't sell. That alone should make it apparent that this was solely designed as a co-op action game. Although its understandable that Ada's story doesn't have a partner, it should have been just like Separate Ways. They should have scraped the chapter style and made Ada's campaign a 1 1/2- 2 hour add on. It just feels incredibly tacked on rather than being a reward for completing the campaign
  • Being that Ada is often in the spotlight, her story is no longer a behind the scenes look. Often times in the stories of the 3 main characters, Ada will intersect and help you fight a boss. This is okay for the main stories but terrible in Ada's campaign. Rather than skipping the boss battles, you are forced to replay bosses that you have already beaten in the other campaigns. This makes her campaign feel incredibly cheap and worthless. In 4 of her 5 chapters, the bulk of the gameplay is replaying the same fights from Jake, Leon, and Chris' campaigns. It was just a copy and paste job that should have never been included. Ada plays no differently than any of the other characters so you are just playing the same game in a different character skin.
4. The boss fights are poorly designed. Resident Evil 5 was highly criticized because every boss was a pile of black goop but Resident Evil 6 is equally as uninspired. You fight a zombie shark, a dog, a t-rex, and a fly. I assume the thought process for these boss fights involved looking around the room and seeing a fly and then asking their children to name 3 other animals. None of them feel rewarding at all to defeat and there is no special way to beat any of them, just shoot and hope for the best. The bosses also take an excessive amount of ammo to kill.



The game does have some good features to it. They have introduced a skill point system allowing you to update stats with points you find for defeating enemies. The is commendable because they have fully committed to scrapping the horror elements of the game in favor of a full fledged action title. In many action games, there are upgrade systems with xp that you gain throughout the levels to improve your characters. It feels well placed here because it allows players to have some choice on what they want to upgrade.

One problem with resident evil 4 and 5 was that melee combat was clunky and thus worthless. Resident Evil 6 scraps the knife only melee attacks with melee button. This is incredibly useful against normal enemies and supplements the average shooting mechanics and allows you to conserve ammo for bigger boss fights.

Mercenaries is very fun with a good partner. I never played Mercs in RE5 and didn't like it in 4 because it was solo but with a partner it can be incredibly fun. This is the true definition of a nice little add on by the developers, unlike Ada's campaign. The best part is that you can gather skill points here for use in single player which makes it worthwhile to play this mode for that reason alone. Many hoard modes in other games do not benefit the player in other game modes but RE6 rewards players who do well in mercenaries.

Finally, despite all its flaws, the game plays well enough. Its shooting mechanics suffice with a few flaws such as no steady aim option for the sniper rifles and the melee combat is well done with several fun animations. Its essentially a carbon copy of RE4-5 gameplay though which still works here.



Replay Value:

The replay value of this game is a mixed bag. With multiple story arcs, it should be high but it simply isn't. Once you play each story once, there is little reason to ever go back. The story isn't interesting and if you play Ada's campaign, you relive it anyway so you are essentially playing a second time anyway. There wasn't any parts in the game that wowed and made you say "I wish I could play that part again" The only real reason to go back to the story would be to play through the game on a harder difficulty but the challenge is barely ramped up here because you spawn with full health if you die.

Mercenaries does add some replay value but with only 3 base maps, it does grow stale. Two of the maps are also not very fun so you are left with essentially one map to play on. There are a few dlc maps but they aren't game changing and after a few hours, mercenaries mode can be put away and revisited every once and a while.

With inevitable dlc, the game will retain some value but if it is anything like RE5 dlc, it will go the same route as mercs. Fun for a little but then can be shoved to the side for a different game.


Trophies:

One good thing about this list is that it is fairly easy. They allow you to play professional from the start which is a nice touch but it makes it easier to play on a lower difficulty first. Your ammo, skills, and grenades all carry over when you play as the same character on a higher difficulty. If you play on amateur or normal and stock up ammo, it makes pro all that much easier because you can do a lot of running. Although this makes the game even less fun, it suffices for trophy purposes.
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Besides being easy, the trophy list would have to try to be more generic. 20 trophies for beating chapters, 4 for difficulties, trophies for x numbers of kills and getting some collectibles. Nothing is hard to understand and a lot of the trophies will come naturally while playing.

The game however is incredibly grind related. By the time you are on the third story, the game is already wearing thin so for trophy purposes, it is best to play on pro as soon as you get upgraded skills. Each playthrough of the 3 main campaigns only nets about 200k skill points so some grinding in mercenaries mode is key to leveling up all skills. The length of the plat is the only thing that makes it annoying. Rather than enjoying the ride, you are just trying to hope your car doesn't run out of gas before you get to the platinum.


Ending Statement:

Resident Evil 6 is far from the worst game out there but it is also very far from the best. Its a decent action game with a nice co-op element to it.

There is some fun to find here but the game doesn't even touch RE4 or even 5. If you go in with no expectations or are obsessed with resident evil, you may find some enjoyment here but its nothing worth writing home about.


Gameplay/Story: 5/10
Replay Value- 3/10
Trophies (difficulty)- 3/10
Trophies (fun factor)- 6/10 (being that you can play co-op for most)


Overall: 5/10

Purchase Resident Evil 6 at Amazon.com

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