Saturday 19 September 2009

Video Game Reviews

GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra
(PS2, PSP, WII, DS, Xbox 360 & PS3 (Version Tested))

Review by Blake Harmer

I believe that there are certain stages of anger that people can experience. However, I will admit that when I played GI Joe: Rise of Cobra that I rose to the lofty heights of becoming so enraged as to make up my own swear words. Who did I swear at? My fiancĂ©e’s dog, who to be honest was only indulging in his favourite game of barking loudly when no one was at the door when I least expect it so I jump out of my skin. So I called him a “Chocolate Fuck Alarm”. Now, the dog doesn’t normally enrage me enough to make insults that make no sense, the special X-factor could only have come from playing this game.

The premise of the game is simple, you play as a team of two members of the GI Joe squad (you get to unlock more members but apart from the different sprite and a slightly different special ability they are all essentially the same) and you take on the forces of Cobra by just walking around and firing madly at anything that moves and dodging any thing that fires back at you. This does mean you just hold down the fire button for the entirety of the game, but that is actually not the reason this game is so bad.

So where do I begin to explain why this game angered me so? How about the fact that the game designers have been so lazy that they have obviously taken the code of the PS2 version and just chucked it on the PS3 with very little noticeable graphical enhancements? If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer and bear in mind this is the PS3 and Xbox 360’s graphics:

Another reason could be that the level design is so awful that in one section I had to snap to cover and then choose to leap over the said cover just to progress through the level, why I couldn’t just walk around the cover is beyond me. I think the thing the that annoys me most however, must be the simple ideas that just seem to be botched. For example the camera, is zoomed so far out in some parts of the game that I couldn’t see what random thing I was shooting at, and the cover system is so appalling it feels as though the awesome cover mechanic used in games such as Gears of War and Uncharted has been taken out and smashed over the head with a sledgehammer repeatedly until it stops working.

If there is anything nice to say about this game it would be two things, firstly: the supersuit powerup which makes you do more damage and are faster, so in a sense it speeds the game up which is definitely a good thing in this case. That and it plays the movies main theme soundtrack incredibly loud and it feels incredibly over the top for what is essentially about 15 seconds of blasting. Secondly: whilst I didn’t get a chance to test it, I can imagine that the game could be pretty fun in two player. Not because the game would be any better, but it would be more fun to mock the awfulness of the game like people would with a bad movie, especially as some of the in game dialogue is also pretty bad. Also, you could play the “who can make the most random insult whilst playing this tripe” game, and that would be infinitely more fun.

So to summarise, like most video game tie-ins of movies, this feels cheap and rushed and it will do nothing but leave a bad taste in your mouth. It is more Noooo Joe than Yo Joe. 3/10

Tropico: Reloaded
Review by Rob Wade

Tropico is one of those games that's easy to explain and easy to place. Falling into the real-time strategy/"God" game genre, Tropico puts you in the role of a communist dictator (and you get to choose from several!) and allows you to create your very own island paradise.

Tropico allows full customisation of the island that you play on, all factors affecting the game difficulty in some way or other, either by reducing or increasing the game difficulty. The amount of options are quite staggering in this regard, with all sorts of combinations for whatever difficulty the player wants. Choice is a big proponent of strategy games in my opinion, and Tropico doesn't disappoint in this regard.

Once you get into the game, you'll find plenty of options there as well. Part of the appeal of this type of game on PC is choice as I mentioned, and Tropico allows for absolutely tons of information to browse through at your heart's content. Another popular feature, however, is that you can easily perform in the game without assimilating ALL this information, allowing the player to get as in-depth as they like without them feeling like they're missing out in any way.

However, this is not all you get in this package either, as the game comes with Tropico 2: Pirate's Cove in the box as well.

The sequel retains many of the familiar charms of the original game, but overlays it with a fresh coat of paint and a new gameplay mechanic. Unsurprisingly from the game's title, the sequel is pirate-themed. However, you'll be pleased to know that this game is just as good as the predecessor, in a different way of course. Tropico 2 retains all the appeal of the first game, with all the same information available, but reskins it effectively with a pirate theme.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics : Simple and colourful graphics. Everything's nice and clear and easy to see, which helps. Let's be fair: it's not trying to compete with the technological powerhouse games.
Sound/Music : Some pleasant calypso music, and an advisor who speaks to you letting you know what's going on, themed with accents and vocal styles appropriately.
Gameplay : Enjoyable RTS/God game gameplay, with the suitable themes that allow you to get immersed as much as you like.
Lasting Appeal : Plenty of customisation options and this DOES contain two games and an expansion, after all.
Summary : Tropico Reloaded is an absolute steal if you enjoy your RTS/God games, with two top games in a pack along with all the expansions released with them. You really can't go wrong here if you want a fresh twist on the strategy genre, as Tropico Reloaded provides absolutely tons of gameplay for a reasonable price. 8/10

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