Wolfman Walt's Blog

Posted on Feb 27th 2009 at 01:00:00 PM by (Wolfman Walt)
Posted under Week Old Reviews, Street Fighter, Capcom, Fighting Games, Wolfman Walt, week old, Street Fighting Man

Unless you've had your head in the closet for the past 25 years, you've atleast heard of Street Fighter. You know, that game with men who are fighting. In the streets. And occassionally indoors when circumstances permit.  However, incase you've been locked inside a bunker with Brendan Frasier waiting the apocalypse for the last quarter century, clutching your copy of Red Dawn as if it were some sort of survival guide for the Commie infested future let me sum up the gameplay of a fighting game - you punch and kick guys who are trying to punch and kick you until someone falls over, twice. Believe it or not, this formula hasn't really changed at all since then, and with good reason. It's fun. If I could make punching people my occupation, I'd give up my life of excess over at Gamestop with gusto and spend all my money on lotto tickets and cocaine for the rest of my existance.

Continue reading Week Old Reviews: Street Fighter IV

Posted on Oct 24th 2008 at 07:57:31 AM by (Wolfman Walt)
Posted under Week Old Reviews, Dead Space, Reviews, Wolfman Walt, EA, Week Old, Survival Horror

In space no one can hear you scream, unless MJ and Janet are responsible, in which case no one wanted to hear "Scream". Of course that doesn't really help most of us that are stuck in our living rooms on a regular basis playing horror games. I'm pretty sure everyone in my family knows I scream like a little girl thanks to Silent Hill 2. Dead Space isn't really improving things.

Dead Space, designed by EA Redwood Shores, is a new intellectual property from EA, a company that used to be considered the most vile and unoriginal collection of individuals since John Romero's ego took over his soul. With their buying up every single development house known to mankind and pumping out Maddens like it was going out of style they easily qualify as atleast a stereotypical Captain Planet villian. Then they release a string of good new properties that I enjoyed such as Army of Two, no matter how criminally short it was, Crysis, and most importantly Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Then Activision came along and proved to be worse than Julian Sands as the Warlock and anything EA has mustered for upsetting me. Then EA released Dead Space a week ago.

Continue reading Week Old Reviews: Dead Space

Posted on Sep 21st 2008 at 09:00:00 AM by (Wolfman Walt)
Posted under Week Old Reviews, Reviews, Walt, Wolfman, Week old

So, here we are. I suppose this is a foreword as to the intent of these articles, which are to review a game, new and old, after about a week of play through. The idea is there for a few reasons.

First; it'd be impossible for me to complete certain types of games I'd like to review, such as roleplaying games in a reasonable amount of time. Especially, and this depends on the game, prefer to play a game and try and unlock all the goodies.

Second; I have a life and if I did try to review everything in any sort of reasonable time period, I'd never get anything done. Ever. Especially with some games boasting hours of gameplay that exceed certain movies titles starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. Meanwhile, I have a job and shit to do.

Third; I'm sure I could give other reasons, but look, mister, I don't have to justify my life choices to you!

The format of these reviews will generally be a pretty simple write up. There won't be a score given, because I find most scores to be trash in gaming magazines. They're always skewed and there's no real standard to compare it to. When you give Metal Gear Solid a 10 and Halo 3 a 10, are you saying they're exactly the same in terms of worth? Scoring is also useless because, lets face it folks, there's no such thing as a perfect game which would be that fictional 10, 100, A+, what have you that you're comparing games to and there never will be. The scores are a comparison to something that will never exist, so why make the comparison? Lastly, I think scores are generally misleading. When I read a review in a magazine nowadays, I'll see a game get all sorts of criticism but end up with a respectable score of a 8.5/85/B+ while a game that had no criticisms received a lower score. Lastly, I think they detract from reviews because the first thing people look for normally is the score and judge it from that alone instead of reading the actual review. If you want a score, go to gamerankings. If you want a review, well feel free to read my thoughts.

A bit about myself; I've been playing games as long as I can remember. My first dedicated console system was a NES I got when I was around 4, but I had been playing my Commodore 64 since I could walk. My first words were probably Load 'Miner49er,8,1. I've been playing games ever since, so I consider myself a fair bit experienced in the area. Some of my favorite games include: God Hand, King of Fighters, Star Ocean 2, Metal Gear Solid as a series, Final Fantasy 6, Fallout 1 and 2, Jagged Alliance, Rocket Knight Adventures, Resident Evil, Guilty Gear XX, the Megaman series and well...this can go on all day.

I consider myself a pretty fair gamer as well. There isn't a genre or type of game I explicitly hate. While it is well known that I'm a big fan of turn based, 2-d, and retro games, I enjoy games of all types and even genres I normally don't buy I have favorites for. A good game is good no matter what genre it is. I'll do my best to cover the major games and if this proves to be popular enough, I'll spring for a 360 so I can say I own every console currently on the market and appease the masses.

So now that's out of the way. I'm not responsible for the length of my rants. Read at your own risk. Or don't. My sense of humor might also hurt your brain at times.

That is all.

Posted on Sep 21st 2008 at 09:00:00 AM by (Wolfman Walt)
Posted under Week Old Reviews, Week Old Reviews, Reviews, Walt, Wolfman, Week old, Star Wars, Force Unleashed, STFU

Once upon a time, in a galaxy located somewhere in the desolate universe named Cali-Forn I. A. a then, arguably, still talented George Lucas created what was originally supposed to be a Flash Gordan movie, but somehow, people felt that Lucas was too big of a hack, even then, to give him film rights to the franchise so told him to make his own setting. And create it he did. 4 years later, in 1977, came the franchise that made being a nerd more acceptable in the form of Star Wars, the sci fi space opera story of Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress except with more implied incest and Harrison Ford shooting stupid fish men who everyone but me can understand. The nerd world rejoiced and Star Wars became a hit, a classic, and a source of milk money for Lucas.

Since then we've had Star Wars products like you wouldn't believe: lunch Boxes, costumes, toys, hell, my friend's keg was an R2-D2 replica. Crank his top and you get cheap watered down beer. Good times. Continuing this trend of getting money to support his habit of ruining my childhood, the products eventually sifted into video games and here I stand with the six hundredth title in the Star Wars video game lineup: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, or as it will be herein referred as: STFU.

STFU is a game that takes place in between episodes three and four of the movies, which in actual numbers is between the last star wars movie and the first star wars movie. The game attempts to fill in some of the gap between the two films, much to the ire of many fans. You take the role of Darth Vader's secret Jedi apprentice, Galen Marek, who is only known within the game under the moniker of Starkiller; a character who continues in the Lucas tradition of trying to make bad ass out of someone who looks like they'd been pampered all their life. Marek is essentially trained by Vader to be his assassin in eliminating the remaining Jedi until Vader feels fit to overthrow the Emperor and take his parking spot, because I guess the handicap area just isn't cutting it.

The plot sees some twists, which I thought were interesting, if not predictable. However, one thing I wish to say is that plot was actually one of the strongest elements in this game. While sometimes the plot feels a bit thin and experienced sudden inexplicable jumps within the story in cut scenes, I felt that the overall plot was better than any of the newer movies. Starkiller is a fairly likeable, if somewhat under played, character with poor dress sense and the supporting characters are all interesting, if again under played. In fact, that seems to be the first half of the problem with the plot in that while there are a lot of cool characters, but none of them seem really explored too much. For instance, the love interest between Starkiller and his pilot never seems to be explained as to how it develops outside of one cut scene. The two never really seem to spend any time together, but I can see that as understandable in that we're here to play a game, not watch a movie. Out of interest, Darth Vader's character finally comes back into being a good villain instead of anything Hayden Christiansen did with him. The biggest problem with the plot, however, is that it never really feels like you're able to change anything since the canon has already been established as to what's supposed to happen via episode four. There is an exception in that you're allowed to slightly alter the ending with a decision you're able to make within the game, but the end result is ultimately the same.

The game play consists of you taking Starkiller through a variety of very linear missions that essentially amount to: "Go from point A. to point B. through environment F. and kill subject D", while you engage enemies in hack and slash saber play with a slightly stiffer control than Devil May Cry. Controlling Star Killer is easy, and I will say that he is well enough animated and has a variety of moves to unlock, however part of the problem is that you'll never use 90% of these moves unless you just want to be fancy, as a single combo is enough to last you through the game. Infact, it's disadvantageous to use anything but this combo as the electricity benefit that goes along with it stuns your opponents preventing sudden reprisals while you recover. As such, a lot of what should be the awesome fight scenes that occur during the cut scenes boil down to you pressing square square triangle triangle until whatever you're killing is killed and killed good and trust me, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be killed out there as EVERYTHING is trying to kill you, but I'll get into that later.

To aid you in you single handedly combating an army of genetically enhanced super soldiers and fish men assholes who apparently just don't like you being on a planet they happen to be on is one of the tauted features for the game's creation; the ability to use the force in new and unprecedented ways that surely belong behind a bullet point. This amounts to you getting three abilities that can be used in a number of ways: moving objects through the force via force grip and force push and shooting lightning from your fingertips and your giant polish sausage that doubles for a light saber, since I guess a weapon that might actually cut stuff is too hard core for an assassin. So, you have all these new and revolutionary powers at your disposal! Surely these break open the flood games of creativity and give you limitless strategies and improve gaming kind for forever! Not really. Everything that is done here using the force has been done before in an under rated game called PSI-Ops and pretty much anything else that decided to be derivative of it. In fact, anything found in STFU, PSI-Ops did better and more creatively and with far fewer limits to how you could use your powers. Using the force in itself is a problem, mostly due to one of the most glaring flaws in the game. The targeting.

You will find in this game that there are MANY times you'll try and hit something or use something only to find that you're just standing there like a goon, throwing barrels into the wall instead of the giant tin man who is firing rockets into your face like it was going out of style or using your lightning ability on some part of the environment because Starkiller apparently is angry that he was rejected as Dynamo in the Imperial run version of The Running Man. Half the time even when you do have a target that is actually killable, it isn't the one you need to kill. I realize your character is supposed to be an apprentice novice assassin when you first take control of him, but logic dictates you try and kill the asshole putting fist sized holes into you with his flak cannon over the imperial officer that falls over and dies from one hit. Hitting and acquiring specific targets is almost impossible if there's a group of targets and you're just better off diving headfirst into battle and duct taping the left analog stick in the proper direction with hopes your character doesn't decide to try and attack guys that are 10 feet behind him.

Speaking of falling over, you'll find that's something the enemies like to do. They trip over a lot of stupid stuff. You'd think for elite soldiers who don't have shoe laces, they wouldn't fall all over themselves half as much as they do. "What causes this?" you may ask. Another bullet point called Euphoria AI. As advertised, they claim it makes the enemies smart by giving them sub routines that make them wish to preserve their lives and act more realistically. In reality? This makes the Empire's most deadly soldiers blundering morons who fall all over each other a third of the time, stare at walls another third of the time, and lastly pay attention to you and ONLY you for the remainder. You will find that you'll walk into an area that is a huge battle between storm troopers and the native alien species who are duking it out until they see an iota of your existence where everyone suddenly drops what they're doing and goes apeshit crazy in an attempt to club you with their rifles until you have detached retinas.

The AI also really knows how to take advantage of the flaws within the game and exploit them on the level of any fighting game tournament player. Granted, I played the game on hard to prove I'm hardcore like that because the demo was pretty easy, but there are points in the game where the computer takes advantage of things that make it very very frustrating. The third boss in this game will haunt my nightmares of hard bosses, not because he was especially difficult in terms of developing a strategy to defeat, but because of unavoidable cheap hits that because of the difficulty take off massive amounts of your life bar. For example, when you're knocked down on the ground, it takes Starkiller a few seconds to get back up at which point you're defenseless. You might as well just have a big sign on the seat of your pants that says "Insert wide load here", as you will be raped and there is nothing you can do about it. At one point during my attempts to fight this boss, he knocked me down due to an unavoidable counter that he performed. After which he used force push to blast my almost full life bar down to about 15%. There are many times in boss fights that characters have almost entirely unavoidable, unpredictable, or plain unblockable moves that take off half your life bar and if they happen, you might as well just toss your controller down and wait for your game to reload after you die. This isn't just bosses however because there's a number of segments where you are just bombarded with enemies whose families you must have murdered in their sleep as they strive to do nothing but piss you off through cheap unblockable hits, some of which come from off camera so you never knew in the first place to dodge. This is a problem considering your main means of attack is either standing still and throwing things from a distance with your force grip or moving just slightly while you whack people with your big red club to teach them they've been naughty children.

There's also a section of the game that causes some people unforeseen amounts of frustration and it's the section where you have to bring down a star cruiser with the force. The problem here isn't that the section is difficult in itself, it's that the displayed controls are misleading. Instead of indicating that you should be pushing the left analog stick to the left, it appears that you're supposed to be pushing it to 9 O'Clock, so for the first 10 or 15 minutes of doing this segment I was faced with a mystery as to what I was doing wrong exactly which leads to another problem. If you have no clue what you're supposed to be doing, this game is very unforgiving and gives very few clues as to what you're doing wrong.

Overall, the game is mediocre and causes a number of problems for a number of crowds I found. You think that this would be a dream game for die hard star wars fans, as even with all this criticism the game is still worth a play through if you're an action fan and have some patience, however they seem to take issue with the a few issues, such as the apprentice's lightsaber being a foam replica and never really doing much damage to anything in particular or just the overall idea of the plot. On the other hand, action fans may be put off with some of the unfair and bad mechanics within the game as well as the rather shallow fighting. There also isn't very much replayability to the game, because you never can really interact with any of the characters or change the fate of the apprentice. So if you're thinking of getting STFU, give it a rent first, you can probably beat it in a single sitting as it's only about 10 missions long and decide from there as it might just be best to wait till the price has been reduced.

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