Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Great Playthrough: Game 47 - New Super Mario Bros Wii and Game 48 - Grand Theft Auto III

You may have noticed that I am, once again, reviewing two games in the same blog,  I am doing this primarily because I think it is absolutely hilarious that these two games turned up next to each other - mostly because you'd have a harder job picking two games that were more different!

New Super Mario Bros Wii
Released on: Nintendo Wii
Played on: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: 2009

I keep running into a problem when writing some of these blog entries. And that problem is simply that when I am reviewing a game I play regularly anyway, it becomes very hard to write about it - simply because I must enjoy it or I wouldn't be currently playing it! And as you all know, I'm a huge fan of 2D platformers...

But is Super Mario Bros Wii a step too far?

Have they finally made a Mario 2D platformer I don't enjoy?

Am I asking too many questions?

The answer is No, No and Yes.

I'm sorry to be as predictable as the outcome of a boxing match between Mike Tyson and a particularly inebriated one-armed lemming, but it's true. I love this game.

Certain critics are very unkind to this game, saying that it is very similar to every Mario game ever, that there is no variation and that Nintendo are flogging a Findus Lasagne.

(LEGAL NOTE - I had to cross that out due to a cease and desist letter from the National Equine Institute of Great Horses (or NEIGH for short) who have advised that they do not wish the good name of horse to be associated with the tasteless meat that one finds within a Findus lasagne!) 
However, I find these criticisms to be silly and unfounded. Yes, it shares a lot of similarities with many other games in the Super Mario Bros series - however, it is incredibly fun to play. And that's the point. (And yes, I am aware that I didn't really deflect any of those criticisms, I am merely ignoring them, but that is my prerogative. And if you don't like it, feel free to stop reading...

NOTE - Please don't stop reading. I like people reading my blog! 

Oi! Italicised text, don't argue with me! 

But I like being read 



Behave. Or else. 


That's better.

Anywhere, where was I?


Don't start with me....

New Super Mario Bros Wii is great. Of course I was going to say it was great, and you all knew that. The graphics are cute, the level design is spot on as always, and best of all, Yoshi is back!!

The only things I would criticise? Apart from the fact that multi-player can make any friendship turn sour (whoever made it so that you could bounce off each others heads while jumping over pits, condemming the person you landed on to fall to their doom was evil!) my only minor criticism is that I would love it if we could have a 2D mario game that doesn't have a desert world as World 2 and an ice world as World 3.

Just saying....

Rating: 9/10
How long did I play for? An hour and a bit...
Would I Play it again? Regularly

So from cutesy "childlike" gaming, to the game that was deemed "horrific" and "horrendously violent" by a lot of over-reactionary newspapers when it was released...

Grand Theft Auto III
Released on: Playstation 2, Xbox, Mac OSX, Playstation 3, iOS, Android
Played on: Playstation 2
Release date: 2001

I was really unsure how I would feel about Grand Theft Auto 3. I remember playing the original top-down game, but had never ventured into the open-world of this infamous threequel. 

I remember when it came out, was a period where I didn't play a lot of games, and I disliked the "adult" theme games appeared to be taking at that time, mostly because of the dearth of FPS's it seemed to be creating. So mentally, I had tarred GTA3 with the same brush. Which was unfair.

Because actually, when I booted it up? I had a lot of fun...

My first attempt at the opening sequence basically consisted of me getting into that first car, starting to drive, realising that the driving controls are in fact really good, and then smashing through lots of scenery, people and cars until my car exploded.

Then I started again. And this time I attempted to actually proceed with the mission as suggested, trying not to destroy everything - which led Neety to mock me, stating that I'm such a nice man I even stop at red traffic lights when playing Grand Theft Auto! 

But I got to the first location, accepted my first mission, and went to collect a prostitute. Which I successfully did. As I was driving around, however, I kept noticing wierd graphical glitches, with sections of road shimmering, disappearing, and at one point it felt like a road just looped around on itself. 

And then when I got the prostitute back to the club, the cut-scene crashed. 

So I tried again - from the beginning of the game. Completed the first mission (the tutorial one) and then.. it crashed again.

Turns out the disc is broken. So I can't play any more. Which made me sad, because I was quite enjoying the game - even though the radar is horribly tiny and hard to read, there's a distinct lack of visual differentiation between curbs you can drive up, and curbs that you cannot, and the button mapping when controlling your character on foot seem unintuitive and wierd...

Because I managed to play about 25 minutes worth, I do feel I can rate the game - although this rating might have been altered if I had played longer - both positively (if I had discovered new bits I really enjoyed) or negatively (if the open world setting had caused me to run around pointlessly too much).But for now, this rating will suffice, although if I get another copy, I shall come back to it!

Rating: 7/10
How long did I play for: About 25-30 minutes, until it broke...
Would I play it again? Yes - if my disc worked! 

So after that huge long blog post, what is next? Well... I'm just checking the list...

Awesome. Next time it is HOUSE OF THE DEAD 3!!!!

See you then....

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Great Playthrough - BONUS ROUND PART II!

Yes, it's another bonus round! Basically, I have ended up buying a couple of games recently, so rather than insert them all into the list - I decided to review two of them in one go here - they are both on the same disc, so it was exceptionally easy for me to do both at once...

Yes - I'm back to logo pictures for this blog....
I'm sure none of you miss my smiling face that much!

Sonic The Fighters

Released on: Arcade, Sony Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox
Played on: Playstation 2
Release date: 1996

I don't understand bad games.

(I know that's a strange start to a blog - but bear with me, it'll get better)

Let me clarify - I understand that games exist that I don't like, or games that have good ideas buried under some awkward design flaws, or games that could have been good but were rushed to prodution - but I don't understand the mindset that creates a BAD game.

In case you hadn't guessed - I'm not about to heap loads of praise on Sonic The Fighters - and yes, I know I am a huge Sonic apologist (and by that I mean I apologise for the hedgehog, not that I apologise using soundwaves. I mean, I do apologise using soundwaves, except when I apologise in writing, like I am here, but ....

*A crunching noise occurs and then reality folds into itself due to the circular nature of that sentence*

You get the idea. I will forgive an awful lot of "bad" Sonic games - I enjoyed Sonic Generations, I think that Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is OK, I even have a soft spot for Sonic Heroes (although, you do have to be hyped up on sugar before you play because otherwise the irritating voices and bright colours do make you want to rise up and attack the nearest person. But I digress... again) But Sonic the Fighters is just bad.
Let's approach this logically and look at the mathematical equation behind the game:

Virtua Fighter (adult, violent game) + Sonic the Hedgehog (Cute, Kidsy fare) + Rushed production (cheap and ugly polygon graphics) = Sonic the Fighters.

In other words, it wasn't worth creating! It barely even has "so bad it's good" entertainment value - Neety and I played it for 10 minutes and our attitudes can be seen below:

1 Minute in - *Smile* This is awful

3 Minutes in - It's an exercise in pointless button mashing

6 minutes in - "Frowns" This is REALLY awful

10 minutes in - *Rips disc out of machine and throws it across the room* GO AWAYYYY!!!!

I am aware that I have said very little about the game itself, rather than just moaning how awful it is, but there's not much to say. It's Virtua Fighter with worse controls, uglier polygonier (is that a word?) Graphics, and music so annoying that you end up wanting to stab yourself in your eardrums just so you NEVER have to hear the bloody music again!

Seriously, this game is awful...

Rating: 1/10
Time Played: 10 Minutes
Would I play it again? I would rather play any FIFA game for a week with only celery to eat than play this game again. 

Sonic R
Released on: Sega Saturn,  Nintendo Gamecube, Sony Playstation 2
Played on: Playstation 2
Release date: 1997

Do you know what the unique thing about Sonic R is? It's the first (and as far as I know, only) game in which Sonic races against people on foot - which makes sense, because he is a speedy hedgehog! Sounds fun, doesn't it? Could it be a diamond in the rough?



It's worse than Sonic the Fighters.

I know what you're thinking: "But Brawny! How can it be WORSE than Sonic The Fighters? You implied (about three paragraphs ago) that Sonic the Fighters was one of the worst games ever. "

Yes, yes I did. And do you know why Sonic R is worse? Because Sonic is IMPOSSIBLE to steer in a straight line! And he takes aaaaages to get up to speed, whereas all the other characters (who are in vehicles, no less) are much quicker. The courses are horribley designed, the gameplay is duller than the water you would find in the bottom of a ditch that was running through a Coldplay concert in Swindon.

These two games, between them, have made me so angry that I can't continue writing.

Rating: 0.1/10 (Only because I refuse to give anything 0)
Time played: 8 Minutes (and that was pushing it)
Would I play it again: *Transforms into the Hulk and smashes your face with the game case for suggesting that I would ever play this rubbish again*

Next time - A better game. (Well it can't get any worse - I HOPE!)

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Great Playthrough - Game 46: Star Wars - The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Released on: Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube, PS2
Played on: Nintendo Gamecube
Release Date: 2002

Yes, it's time for a Star Wars licensed game. (I apologise, I didn't realise how many of these I owned until I compiled this list!) And it's one many of you may never have heard of - as it was released around the time that Episode II: Attack of the Clones was released in the cinema.

(I'm sure you remember that film. It's the one that feels like it might be a good Star Wars film, except for the horrendous black hole of charisma that is Hayden Christiensen, but is then redeemed in the last five minutes when Yoda pulls out a lightsabre and fights Christopher Lee. Which is awesome!)

So although this game deals with the Clone Wars, it is not linked in any way to the first Clone Wars TV series, the animated Clone Wars feature film, OR the second Clone Wars TV series (or any of that series' spin-offs). Are we clear?

"So Brawny, you've told us what this game is not about or related to - what IS it about?"

It's a vehicular action game interspersed with third-person "on-foot" sections. And you know what? It's much more fun than that description suggests. In fact, to be honest, it was much more fun than I had expected it to be!

You see, I bought this when I first got my Gamecube, and I only ever remember playing it for about ten minutes - so I was not expecting to be blown away by it. And while it's not a superb ten-out-of-ten life-changing game, it's still a lot of fun - and not too easy! (A common problem with licensed games in this day and age)

The third person sections are OK, although marred by some slightly clunky movement, but it's when you're in the vehicles (which are mostly low level floating military craft - much like tanks but with no wheels) that the fun begins properly.

The controls are just the right-side of floaty, and the aiming and combat is engaging. The voice acting is wonderfully laughable, but luckily there's not too much of it, so it doesn't impact in a negative way. And the difficulty? Well it's not an easy game, but it's also not unfair. Very rarely did I die feeling like I had been cheated - mostly I died because, just like in FPS's - I always forget that moving out of the line of fire is a GOOD IDEA!

Do you know what game it reminds me of with it's vehicluar sections? Starfox 64. (Or Lylat Wars as I technically should call it, being from the UK and all). I know that may sound strange as the vehicles were all land based (as far as I played through it anyway), but it's true. In Starfox / Lylat Wars, there are a couple of levels where you have to drive a land-based vehicle, and the controls and style of it is the closest match I can think of to equate with this game. And believe me, that's a good thing.

Most of all - in a day and age where most licensed games are a vaguely disguised rip-off of other, more popular games - Star Wars: The Clone Wars feels different enough to be it's own game. And maybe it's just that I haven't played whatever game it ripped off - but hey, for now I'm impressed with how entertaining it is.

Rating: 7/10
Time Played: 1 hour 5 minutes
Would I play it again? Yes. I think I would.

Coming up next time.... I'm not sure yet! (Sorry, the list isn't with me)

P.S. I apologise for the multiple uses of vehicle and vehicular in this blog. I have used my quota for now

P.P.S. I shall try and get these blogs on a more regular timescale from now on!