Blog Archives

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Review

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is a superhero based action game revolving around the multiple worlds of everyone’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man. Released just over a year ago, in late 2010, this Beenox developed title is a great romp through a variety of Spider-Man universes. I sunk a fair amount of time into this game, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The main gimmick of Shattered Dimensions is the way the game is structured. Over the course of 12 levels, you control 4 different incarnations of Spider-Man, the Amazing, Ultimate, Noir, and 2099 versions. All of these Spider-Men control differently and you’re forced to alter your style of gameplay for each level. 

Amazing Spider-Man is the typical Spider-Man.  Most of the levels involve using his webs to swing around, solve puzzles and beat up bad guys.  This Spider-Man is the featured as the main protagonist, with the majority of the story taking place in his dimension.  Ultimate Spider-Man is a fighter, currently being bonded with the alien symbiote (Venom).  As such, the majority of his levels feature wave after wave of enemies for you to beat back.  Noir Spider-Man is set in the 1930’s, and the Spider-Man in this dimension is a lot weaker than the others, and, as such, requires the use of stealth gameplay, sticking to the shadows and not taking enemies down in groups, rather one at a time (a la Splinter Cell).  Finally, 2099 Spider-Man is set in future Manhattan, where all the buildings have been raised to ridiculous heights, and you frequently dive off of them in order to chase a boss.  This creates some interesting free-fall combat segments, in which you must catch up to your prey and beat the living daylights out of them,while simultaneously dodging certain obstacles (eg. flying cars, random billboards, etc.). 

The story for this game is a bit weak, but works well as a way of bringing these different Spider-men together.  Mysterio (A recurring villain) attempts to steal a magical tablet: The Tablet of Order and Chaos. In his attempt to stop him, Amazing Spider-Man accidentally breaks the tablet, shattering it into 12 pieces, which end up scattering around the multiple universes. Madam Webb set’s the multiple Spider-men on a quest to find all 12 pieces before Mysterio can.  However, these pieces have all been found by Spider-Man’s many enemies, and so, Spider-Man must face off against them to get the pieces back. 

I had a few problems with the game, but not enough for it to be a major concern.  The wall crawling (which is a key part of the game) can sometimes be frustrating when turning corners or changing surfaces.  This is especially noticeable in the Noir universe, as if you don’t wall-crawl properly, you will be seen, and more than likely fail the level.  This is in part due to the camera, as once you turn a corner, it re-orients itself, occasionally causing you to turn back, around the corner you just turned.  There were also a few glitches in the game, such as when Ultimate Spider-Man would fall off the edge, instead of progressing to the in-game scene in which you save yourself, he would simply hover.  Unsurprisingly, this is not the first Spider-Man game in which this has happened to me. 

Overall, I found the game to be a very enjoyable, fun-filled romp through the many different Spider-Man dimensions.  As a non-comic, reader, I did not feel alienated from the game in the slightest, as it fully explained everything about the universes that I needed to know.  Plus, there’s always Wikipedia.  I would whole-heartedly recommend this game to any fan of Spider-Man, or of action games in general. 


Demon’s Souls Review

Goddamn it, this game is hard.  Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s a quick review of one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever played*

This hellish game is the work of Japanese game developers From Software (who made the fabulous game Enchanted Arms).  If you’ve read any other reviews about this game, you will have no doubt heard the difficulty level that this game exposes most gamers to.

In a world where gamers have been pampered with tantalizing “Easy” difficulty settings, Demon’s Souls is, without a doubt, a sharp slap to the face of any gamer looking for an easy ride.  This is the only game I have ever played in which you are expected..nay, forced to die against the first boss.  In fact, the only way to successfully complete the game (indeed, even the first level)is to make strategic use of death.  Yes, the game requires you to die countless times in order to progress.  To get past traps and to get to the first actually defeat-able boss, you have to die.  This introduces a whole new from of strategy to the game, and is an interesting change from the usual “Go forth, and don;t die” stratagem that is part of almost every other game these days.

The gameplay itself is quite decent, with an easy control system.  The only concern I have (and it’s quite a small one) is that combat is primarily confined to the L and R shoulder buttons.  This is quite a change from all other combat based games that I have played, and can be an annoyance at times, especially due to the fact that the square button (normally attacking in other games) uses items, and in the heat of battle, you can occasionally use a valuable item whilst attempting to attack.

The game has provided me with several hours of trial and error annoyances, where I repeatedly got stuck at the same area, due to either an annoying enemy placement, or sometimes (albeit rarely) an annoying piece of camera work.  This game can theoretically last you for a looooong time, and will doubtlessly provide hours of nail biting and swear-filled entertainment.

*and I’ve played Hell Tetris.

God Of War: Series Review

When deciding on my next review to write, I had to consider multiple options – do I review a style of gameplay, a single game, a series? Do I review a retro game, a game that makes me nostalgia all over the walls or a new game with newfangled graphics and about as much heart as a brick?

Eventually I decided to settle for a series of games that is often regarded as having the best action games of all time. Gratuitous violence, boobs, violence, gods, more violence and more boobs are all rife in this series – the God of War series.

For anyone that isn’t up to date with the state of God of War, the first game was released in 2005. Some said it revolutionised the Playstation 2 gaming community – sadly enough I wasn’t playing it back at release.

God of War made a statement on it’s release, a big statement. You know that a game doesn’t care about social convention when in the very first level you brutally murder a famous beast of the sea by impaling it’s head on the mast of a ship, watch children cut down right in front of you and most importantly, there’s a sex minigame.

Yes, a sex minigame.

It quickly becomes evident upon playing God of War in 2011, that the game is past it’s prime. The controls are a bit imperfect, the fighting is trying hard to be smooth but not quite at it’s peak and the graphics are… in today’s standards they are appalling. However, God of War exceeds expectations even today in just one single area that most games still manage to forget – it’s criminally fun. The boss fights are – whilst still fights, they’re more of an interactive movie than anything, with pleasing masochism all throughout every fight. There’s something extremely enjoyable about ripping a hell beast limb from limb, about breaking a sirens back. It’s just plain, easy fun. That is if you play on easy however. One of the things this game does well is that easy is just easy enough that you can virtually button mash through the entire game, however, up your difficult to normal, titan or heaven forbid, even GOD, and you’ll find yourself in a game that takes itself a lot more seriously, where it’s vital to pull off insane slashing combinations, counters and dodges just to kill the first monster in a series of 30.

Speaking Of Epic.

The puzzles in this game are refreshing – they’re a stop from the blood and gore that can be somewhat tiresome in large doses. And they’re refreshing in 2011 terms in that they are absolutely brilliant. Never do you leave a puzzle room and think “that wasn’t very well thought out.” – They’re always amazingly clever. It really begins to dawn on you near the end of the game that throughout it, you aren’t just solving a whole bunch of little puzzles simply to progress, but the whole game is a massive puzzle with each room a different mechanism in a grander puzzle.

God of War’s incredible soundtrack is augmented with an iconic riff known throughout the gaming world. This soundtrack adds to the intensity and experience of playing the game and really assists in indicating the absolute odds that are stacked up against you.

The storyline and characters of this game are somewhat lacking. Granted, it has a great story, but the story really takes a backseat. I’m never one to skip cutscenes; however they scarcely entertained me in this game simply because I wanted to kill more of Hades minions. It’s worth noting, also, that this game is based on Greek mythology and uses this prewritten mythology extraordinarily well. Connecting some key ideas together in ways that make so much sense you wouldn’t believe it! The characters are merely there as a medium of the story. You do not feel anything for Kratos (your main character) in this game, given that he is a self-indulgent, arrogant douchebag that killed his own family. Every other character is irrelevant as only really Kratos and the final boss appear more than once.

Shadow of The Colossus?

In 2007 a sequel to God of War was released, and this new game quickly attracted much attention. Most expected it to fail abhorrently, based on the fact that most sequels cannot stay true to those classic nuances about the first game. Is this true for God of War? No it isn’t. God of War II is almost identical to God of War!

The controls are somewhat improved, but still pretty mediocre, oftentimes I found myself falling to my death or failing a quick time sequence merely because the controls left something to be desired.

However everything else is drastically improved, drawing on the increased technology being brought out of the Playstation 2’s engine. The action is smooth and amazingly, even more fun. A return of the monsters from the first game, combined with new monsters – shows us that even after killing 100 Minotaurs, there’s still something sickly sweet about watching the blood spill from one’s throat as you force both of Athena’s Blades down there.

The boss scenes in this game (and I’ll continue to use the word scenes, as they are truly still an interactive movie) are even more badass, even more acrobatic and amazingly, even more violent. This game forces you to kill some people that – when knowing that God of War III is out and God of War IV is scheduled for release – you know that shit is about to go down. More mythological beasts emerge from the dark in ways that leave the player shivering with fright and Kratos laughing with joy. Kratos is greatly improved as a character also, with a bit more relatability and a hell of a lot more reason to give him a chance as a guy worth following. For those who don’t know, the game follows Kratos’ fall from grace as a god and attempt to claw his way back to the moment he was killed, his attempt to claw his way back to the temple of fates to change his fate.

God of War II’s soundtrack is again improved on the soundtrack of the first, with higher sound quality, better orchestrations and more intensity. While in the last it effectively outlined the odds Kratos is up against, in God of War II it helps to exhibit the helplessness of Kratos against the gods and the lack of hope in the slightest.

This game is and always will be a classic. It doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t, and most importantly it’s a classic (or rather it has no class) action game that never ceases to amuse with its puzzles, insane action, boobs and violence. Oh, so much violence.

God Tier

2008 came and went. 2009 soon followed with no mention of a God Of War III release. The new Playstation 3 system that had been released in the meantime boasted greatly improved graphics, capabilities and controls, yet still the cries from the God of War lovers seemed unfounded. In 2010 however, the light returned and it was announced that the final game in the trilogy was to come in epic scale. And come it did.

Right from the very start of God of War III, you are thrown right back into the action. And I’m not meaning the opening level; I’m meaning the opening credits! A silhouetted depiction of Kratos’ journey leading you straight back into the chaos of the battle between Titans and Gods. The graphics are stunning, the controls are exemplary, your blades easily carving their way through enemies with more grace than ever before, and when you reach the first boss, you can’t help but let yourself die a few times, just to enjoy the insane graphics and violence.

As the game progresses you begin to get an understanding of just how improved the Playstation 3 system is to the Playstation 2 system. The bosses are phenomenally awesome, with crazy sequences resulting in deaths in epic proportions. I won’t spoil anything, but the sheer scale of those bosses that you fight makes these fights more intense and more desperate. This is compounded by a greatly improved combat system and eventually, a multitude of new weapons and skills to play with. Those weapons are – excuse my greek – fucking awesome. They all have their own skillsets and they all have amazing feel to using them, you never get bored of any of them.

Near the start of the game you hear a haunting melody float through the air of Hades, and I’ll be honest, I stopped my playing and sat listening for nigh on 10 minutes to this 15 second melody. It’s augmented relatively quickly with a note stating “When the voice sings of anguish and pain, I can cope with it. I’ve dealt with plenty of anguish, plenty of pain. However when the voice sings of hope, that is when I feel depressed and helpless.”

About a quarter of the way through the game is where you see the first new thing – a slight glimpse that quickly turns into a shining bright light by the middle. The emergence of a story! If you are eager to look you can see little nuances hidden throughout the game, however when it really becomes obvious is when for the first time, Kratos changes his goal. Kratos shows so much evolution as a character in this game, and it’s not just him. God of War III boasts many more great characters then the first two and ALL of them have individual stories that tie in to the main story.

While the story takes a frontseat for the first time, all throughout the game are scattered those small puzzles that are so integral to a God of War game, and might I say, they haven’t lost their spark. The puzzles are still showing up those of other games, are still important and some of them are still important to the story. As ever I was astounded at the fact that each individual puzzle unlocks just one more mechanism in the big puzzle that is God of War III.

And then comes the end.

I came up with many ways of explaining the end of this game in my head, none of which could quite explain it appropriately. The closest I came to it involved “Total mindfuck” “equivalent to cancer of the brain” and “WTF².”

My lord. I can not even begin considering how to start even the first part of possibly slightly understanding the very beginning of the end of this game. Nor how they can make a sequel, but hey, I’m excited.

Kratos’ journey is a long one, And while sometimes it leaves something to be desired in God of War 1 and 2, by the end of God of War 3 the first 2 games are just that more important, as with the addition of the story you now understand more clearly the arduous journey he has undertaken. The evolution of the games is phenomenal whilst still including elements that can be called “God of War-esque.”

The soundtrack is ever epic, incorporating both one of the most intense and fiery themes I’ve ever heard, one of the most haunting and atmospheric melodies I’ve ever heard, and brilliant use of dramatic interludes to increase the absolute tension that rides through all three games. It’s interesting how the developers managed to not only keep you entertained through such an arduous and arguably repetitive journey, but they managed to make you crave more with the intricate puzzles, exhilarating gameplay and tendency towards the violent. Of course the ample opportunity to see bare boob played a part in that also.

This series is renowned for revolutionising action gaming and even gaming itself, and after playing it, it’s definitely not hard to see why. I eagerly await the fourth instalment and will certainly play it through to completion very quickly, Because I like killing things. And I like boobs.


LittleBig Planet Review

Samuel: Today we welcome a new member to the team here at The Fallout Zone, Elenvy. He is a friend of mine and I hope he decides to stay with us and keep reviewing!

When I first picked up LittleBigPlanet, I had second thoughts about buying it. I’d heard so much about how it’s a great game and really well made, how it was a turning point in gaming. When I read the back cover, I saw a childish looking game, it looked boring. I decided not to buy it.
The next day, I again found myself in the same shop, looking at the same cover. I was entranced, I HAD to try it, even if I expected a disappointing experience. I suggested to my little sister to buy it, as it looked like her kind of game. When we got home and pushed the little disc into my PS3, I wasn’t expectant.

Late that night, as I pushed to finally beat that last annoying part of “The Bunker” my opinion was much different. The game was fun. It wasn’t a game in any sense of the word. Games as a rule are made to challenge you, to make things hard and require skill and quick thinking to finish. LittleBigPlanet was none of that.

The controls are simple, blindingly simple. So simple in fact, only 4 (6) buttons are required. For such a limited control scope, this game is able to do so much. The level design is genius, often using the same piece of equipment (for instance, a house) for 3 or 4 different uses. One side acts as a wall, another a climbing frame and so on and so forth.

The storyline, however, is relatively short and frustratingly easy. Only a few of the levels provide any challenge, and this is still no big problem. After beating the main story, I plugged in the dusty old Ethernet cable and found my way online.

At first sight, online is just what it should be, players playing together on custom levels and such. But then, after finishing a level with three others, I realised something. As we were all transported back to the party leaders pod, we were interacting. Something unique to this game, this interaction. You can spend an hour straight just pulling another player around the room and adjusting facial expression, and enjoy it the whole time. This is where it hit me, LittleBigPlanet is all about the players, the community. The game aspect could be completely forgotten as you spend 20 minutes just shuffling through the 4 different smiles.

“But doesn’t that get repetitive” I hear you say. Well no, for you see, not one Sackboy or girl is the same. LittleBigPlanet has MASSIVE character customisation, unlockable outfits and such. There are at least 1000 Unlockables in the Story mode alone, let alone all the downloadable packs and community items. Today am I going to feature a lion’s mane, wedding dress and fairy wings, or maybe a top hat with a full Elizabethan outfit. It’s all up to you!

The level creation system is good. Sure it has it’s downfalls – those which I won’t explain here, but again with the customisation – you collect thousands of different materials, objects and other little bobbits to make your level the best experience you can, all the while assisted by a very funny commentator that explains things well!

Whilst the main storyline is easy, there are many things you can do to make it harder, make it more complete. For instance, 100% completion takes planning, care and interestingly – 4 players! You see, LittleBigPlanet is one of those multiplayer games. You can just sit around and have fun, laughing and jumping around through the levels. There are many challenges to do that result in trophies – not the least of which is to beat every level in the game without dying – literally a perfect game. This, I fear, is very difficult, taking many hours of dedication to achieve, but still satisfying, because you obtain ingame rewards as well.

The downloadable content is good too, oftentimes better than the actual game. The Metal Gear Solid pack is thoroughly entertaining, and also challenging, it also provides you with a gun. Win!

So altogether, my conclusion is that LittleBigPlanet is not quite the game it could be, but I wouldn’t want the community to be ANY different. In life, it’s the little things that count, however in LittleBigPlanet, there’s a lot of little things.

Overall: 8/10

(Note. This review was written a long time ago now. Don’t go onto the LittleBigPlanet community and expect the same experience anymore )

Heavy Rain.

This game is amazing.

The characters, the storyline, the emotion….it all just gets to you.

I first played this game about 2 months ago…I sat up most of the night playing it, savoring everything I could get from it.  The first two hours were the greatest gaming experience I had ever witnessed.

A Brief Overview (Courtesy Of Heavy Rain is an interactive drama video game developed by Quantic Dream exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The game is directed by Quantic Dream’s founder and CEO David Cage. Heavy Rain’s story is a dramatic thriller modeled after film noir, centred around four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims. Ethan Mars is a father who is trying to save his son from being the next victim, while investigative journalist Madison Paige, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, and private detective Scott Shelby are each trying to track down clues to the Origami Killer’s identity.

Essentially, it is an interactive movie. This may be one of the reasons it is so intriguing, as a project like this has not been undertaken before  and although the team at Quantic were taking a risk with it, I reckon it has paid off.

The game starts of in an average, run of the mill house with a man (Ethan) waking up to his son’s birthday.  He spends a few hours wandering around the house, performing his daily activities.  I believe that THIS is why the game is so enchanting.  By performing these activities with the characters you really get a feel for them.  You start to react when things happen, for instance, the (in)famous scene occurring around about the 2 hour mark, after your trip to the mall.  I was touched by this moment, and could actually feel as the characters life shattered around him.

I’ve been on a month long hiatus from this game (Blame Battlefield) and as such have begun to lose contact with the storyline.  This is a game to be played over a few days, with a lot of commitment.  Without breaks, you feel all the more drawn into these characters and there lives.

This may not be the game for everyone, but I whole-heartedly recommend at least trying it once.

Final Fantasy XIII: First Impressions.

Just picked up the collectors edition of Final Fantasy XIII for the PS3 from my local EB.

Played it for about 2 hours tonight, finished chapter 2.

Here are some of my (First) Impressions.

The Good:

Combat System: As usual in a FF game, the combat system.  Amazingly done.  I haven’t played a FF game since X and I was a little bit suprised how much I enjoyed this new system.  I’m not missing the turn based system at all, and I think the creators did a great job on the ATB.

Characters:  Not all of them, but the two who immediately stood out as interesting characters were Sazh and Hope.  I enjoyed the character of Sazh, mainly due to his role as the comic relief and the way he played off of Lightnings’ Stoic behavior in the opening scenes.   Hope may not strike players as the greatest character, but I found that, right off the bat, he was an interesting character, open to all sorts of development.

And now, the Not-So-Good.

Story: In a series so renowned for it’s story telling, I found this one a bit difficult to understand.  From the opening scene, I was mostly lost.  “How do Lightning And Sazh  know each other?  What was Lightning doing on the train? What is a L’Cie?  What is a fal’Cie?”

These were all questions I found myself asking.  I even began to wonder if I had missed an opening scene that perhaps explained many of these questions, or if the story was just foggy on purpose, to create an element of suspense.  Near the end of the chapter, I found myself wondering why I should even care that a character was turned to crystal.  I knew nothing about the character except her name, her sister and that she was engaged to Snow.  The game didn’t allow enough time for me to build up any feeling towards this character, freezing her moments after I met her.

Characters: The Rest Of The Cast.  I found Snow to be a particularly annoying persona, constantly stating that he was “the hero” and that he would “save the day.” If he had only said this once or twice, fine. But the fact was, he kept repeating himself over, and over, and over again, until i could almost quote what he was going to say before he said it. I didn’t find the character of Vanille annoying, more just her accent. I too am Australian, and have never heard an accent as over pronounced as Vanille’s.

%d bloggers like this: