Hero Of Sparta – iPhone (Gameplay video + Mini Review)

Alright so Hero of Sparta’s pretty much a knock off of God of War from Gameloft, for mobiles. It has fantastic graphics and o.k. audio, it has a glitch of occasionally looping a sound, which ironically happens in the video. The gameplay’s pretty great, it gives you a number of weapons to upgrade (I think it’s 5 or 6,) which there’s no way you’ll have time to upgrade all in 1 play. The weapons have different abilities like making the downed enemies give out more health pick ups. The same enemies appear over and over, the bosses become enemies, till you get near the end. You also get focus kills which are great for the first couple times only let’s you use the sword to do them. There’s no weapon specific ones so they get repeated over and over. They only differ on which enemy you attack.

The controls work great, especially the analog control, you can make him walk, run and go in any direction 360° with ease. You have 2 buttons attack and defend, and the attack button has a slider, which pulls off your weapon specific special. The only thing I wish it had was a dedicated jump button, which you can jump, but only at specific areas.

So overall with the recent price drop, making it $5.99 from $9.99, I’d definitely suggest getting this.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Review

Presentation – 10
Everything in this game has a real nice polish to it, and the presentation is no different. The cinematics are front and center once again but this time they mean business with the story line as this is supposed to be the last in the MGS series. The story starts you out 5 years after the events of Sons of the Patriots in the middle east where it’s a raging battlefield. Otacon is once again supporting you and he has a little Metal Gear Mark II that he controls. You learn that you’re mission is to find an operative to give you a location to find your enemy. As the story progresses you learn that your operative was FOX-HOUND led by Meryl and that the main enemy is Liquid that you must kill. From here on out it’s a crazy chase around 5 different locations including Shadow Moses from the first PS1 game.

Kojima promised us that this will be the last Metal Gear Solid game and that all the crazy storylines will by answered by the end of this game. Well he wasn’t lying not only does this manage to tie all the loose ends but it’s a thrill ride all the way through.

To anyone who’s never liked the over the top story and outlandish characters, they will probably not change their minds about it. It’s pretty much the same as the other ones, but that’s not a bad thing at all. The cut-scenes are long, the voice-acting is superb and it’s a visual masterpiece.

The in-game HUD resembles the one in MGS3 but has the same functionality seen in the other titles. The radar is noise based and made possible with the Snake Eye. The weapons and items selector is still the clicking wheels in the lower side corners. You get a wind-direction arrow and compass in the top right corner.

The main menu looks great and features Snake in the background at a funeral. There’s 4 different difficulties to choose from when you’re first playing, Liquid Easy, Naked Normal, Solid Normal and Big Boss Hard although The Boss Extreme gets added when you complete the campaign. I chose Solid Normal on my first play through, there’s 5 acts to complete and you can expect to spend 15-20 hours finishing MGS4.

If you’ve played any of the other MGS games, it’ll be a big plus for you as a bunch of things happen that are totally fan services. You’ll already be familiar with the characters, you’ll know more about the back-story and act 4 is totally for us MGS1 fans. The 4 Beauty and the Beast bosses are throwbacks to the old cast present in the first and second titles. Let’s not forget the final boss is totally what needed to happen for MGS fans, best story ever from beginning to end!

Graphics – 10
These are the best graphics on a console game period. This is not the first time Metal Gear has accomplished this, they were always amongst the best looking games for their time periods. Saying this though we always have to points out some negatives which are minor. Some textures look lower-res in spots of the game, the frame rate does drop at some moments but they don’t occur often enough to really notice it.

The cut-scenes are all in-engine so you can expect to watch a long cinematic and not have to load up after. These cut-scenes look as good, if not better then pre-rendered ones. Lip syncing is top-notch and facial expressions are fantastic. I would pay to watch this as a movie in the theaters, it’s that nice to look at.

The actual in-game graphics also are stunning. Guns have nice muzzle flashes, the stun grenade’s effect looks great and pretty much every weapon has an outstanding graphical flare to them, not to mention the extraordinary explosions.

Snake’s animations are fluid and realistic, they tie together nicely. The facial details are extremely well done, no character looks worst then the other. The hair flows in the wind, as does clothing, making the game look even more fantastic. The snow effects look amazing, it actually gets stuck on Old Snake.

Sound – 10
The sound excels in MGS4. The returning cast has their voice-actors reprising their roles, David Hayter, Snake’s voice is of course still here and thank god!

Let’s talk about the voice-acting first of all, there’s a bunch of it for starters. Otacon is back giving you instructions along the way, which is fantastic, and Colonel Campbell is back as well. If you’ve ever played any of the other Metal Gears, you’ll know already that having these characters return pretty much guarantees pure gold in terms of acting.

It’s like watching a theatrical movie release although it’s a PS3 video game. Not only are the cinematics a joy to listen to, but you also have your codec that allows you to communicate in-game with Otacon, Rose and Drebin. They give you hints as to what to do, but they also have alot of funny stuff to tell you like when you call them from inside a cardboard box.

The visual flair from all the weapons are also equally represented in audio, the rifles sound spectacular, the pistols well done and explosions are epic.

The menu cues and sounds are exactly the same as the other games, which is totally nostalgic at this point and there’s nothing wrong with that, if anything it’s awesome that those are still here.

The soundtrack truly is epic, and mixes in with the emotion perfectly, sometimes the music alone will get you pumped up or calm you down.

Gameplay – 10
The gameplay was always second pony to the outlandish story line, but that is not the case for this title. As for how crazy the story actually is in this game, it’s matched by the gameplay.

Controls have been simplified since Snake Eater and not much requires you to press 2 buttons, outside from aiming and shooting and changing from first person view to over the shoulder view. So in that sense it’s much improved over the 3rd in the series.

Another major change in the game is the fact that it’s more open for you to choose how to play the game. It’s still mostly focused on stealth as it gives you bonus Drebin points (the game’s currency, used for buying guns and accessories) at every ending of acts for killing less enemies and being spotted less. But you can still run and gun in this game which the other games didn’t encourage.

The gun play in this game is very visceral and satisfying, the kickback feels intense and the Dual Shock 3 support actually helps it. There’s less emphasis on close quarters combat this time around, it’s in there but you only really need it once in the entire game, which can lead to confusion once you’re actually there.

The boss fights are exciting to say the least, while they aren’t exactly the hardest in the series, they are action packed and can last for a while. They’re all completely different from each other and some of them require puzzle element skills. The best act for gameplay and bosses has to be the fourth, so once you’re there, get ready for some action packed sequences and crazy boss battles.

Fun Factor – 10
The fun factor is superb, even if you’ve never played the others in the series, the main story-line is not totally disconnected from the other games but explains itself in a matter that doesn’t need past experience.

The controls like stated earlier have been refined and tuned to perfection. There’s some re-playability here but not much, the story and gameplay paths are pretty linear as far as branching off goes.

Another thing that adds to the fun for me is to see what classic Metal Gear references were in there, every time I saw something I either laughed, cried or jumped for joy.

The online is functional but not too exciting, you get to customize your character, weapons and stats. Saying this it’s kind of limited to what you get to do, for example you only get a set number of faces to chose from, set limit of voices and so on. It seems this was just developed by Konami to suck more money from you as it seems you’ll be able to buy new items and characters later on.

The online is there for whomever enjoys it, personally I always thought the online in MGS games was sub-par compared to the campaign although this time around it’s definitely more enjoyable.

Overall – 10
Metal Gear Solid 4 is an amazing looking game with a unmatched story, epic cinematics and superb gameplay. This game is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

GTA IV Review

Presentation – 10
The story in GTA IV is the best video game story you’ll play ever. In case you don’t know the basics already, you’re an immigrant called Niko, fresh off the boat to meet up with your rich and luxurious cousin Roman. Quickly Niko finds out this was all a lie and Roman actually just lives in a dump apartment and owns a taxi company. It spans from many different characters to culminate with one of the most epic decisions you’ll ever have to make in gaming.

The cinematic cut-scenes are produced in classic GTA fashion although the production value of IV is equal or even superior to those of big budget movies. The lip-syncing is done fantastically, it’s unbelievable that all this is done with the in-game engine.

Niko is the most like-able Grand Theft Auto character ever, for the simple fact that he seems to have more human qualities then any other protagonist in a GTA game. He gets mad, has past history to think about and overall just has more emotion then any other character in previous games.

Graphics – 9.5

The graphics are the best ever seen in any sandboxopen environment game. The characters look and animate fantastic, with only minor glitches such as the feet pointing upwards in specific situations, although it happens enough that it’s noticeable. The running animation has been improved upon greatly since last generation GTAs, you also lean when you do turns while you run.

With every GTA comes clipping, pop-ins and various other graphical glitches, and GTA IV is no exception. This being said, it’s definitely the most polished in terms of the typical hitches that happen. The only real pop-ins I’ve noticed while playing was going between the islands while others seemed to occur randomly. The draw distance is really far and while flying a helicopter, you can see across all 3 islands.

The vehicle damage looks super nice, the first car I drove in the first 3 seconds of being in it, I rubbed off something and it left scratches on the paint. Hitting a pole straight in the middle of the bumper will put a huge dent right where you hit. Rolling over will also put some damage on the roof, but will not cave in completely, the windows break nicely though.

The explosions look respectable, the real problem with them is there’s not enough. Flipping over the car will no longer make your car explode, and one of the most epic explosions in the game happens within 3 hours of play time.

Sound – 10

As usual Rockstar hit the nail square on the head in the audio department. All the radio stations are unique and of course, will depend on personal taste regarding which you’ll listen to.

Lazlow is back and produced the audio for every station, he also appears on Integrity 2.0. Integrity is a station where Lazlow is on the streets of Liberty City interviewing citizens with hilarious outcomes. The sad thing is that I seemed to have heard all of it while playing through.

I listened to Liberty Rock Radio and Liberty City Hardcore for my music fix and I was still discovering new songs near the end of the game. Although the DJ and commercials were getting repetitive near the third quarter of gameplay.

The sound effects are amazing, they sound just like their real life counterparts. Peeling out with a car sounds really cool and depending on your vehicle, it’ll also differ in sound. The weapons are great, no complaints and I’m sure you all know what guns sound like, well this title pulls it off with grace.

The voice-acting is done terrifically and you’ll encounter many different characters with diverse styles and cultures. Amazingly with all the various styles of voice-acting none of them are done bad, sure some are better then others but when isn’t it. The pedestrians also have dialogue, some are just normal conversations but most have a funny twist on them.

Gameplay – 10

The gameplay is what was always the best part of GTA. I really don’t know what to say that would be unexpected about this title. You rob cars, kill people, drive and run around.

The biggest alteration that actually makes a difference is the cover system, now you can hug up against a wall and blind fire some bitches or pop out and accurately head shot some enemies. The aiming system has also changed, you can shoot from your car similar to Saints Row. Auto-aiming was added as well, the option can be turned off but is a valuable asset, but it’s sort of picky with who it aims at. Sometimes I found myself face to face with someone and it would aim at a random guy in the distance.

Everything else that made the other games great are all here, with minor adjustments like the driving physics feels more realistic, yet still cartoony.

There’s a big social aspect to GTA IV, you get to make friends, girlfriends and work buddies. There’s advantages to do man-dates and dates. The man-dates are very crucial as once you get to a certain point of friendship, they’ll offer you stuff, such as Roman’s car service will be free. The dates only get you in the sack with them and well it’s virtual sex so who cares.

Fun Factor – 9.5

The online is flawed, it might only be my personal taste but I dislike it. I thought the map was far too big to enjoy any of the modes, seeing as the maximum amount of players is 16. There’s a mode that you have to steal marked vehicles and bring them to specific locations. If you just wait it out a bit to see where the other players are going, you could just take the one that no ones’ near for an easy point. Also the pop-in appears to get worst when playing online, I found myself crashing often in cars that popped up right in front of me.

The length of the main story is around 30 hours, plus all the side missions could lead you to a game that would last forever. This is the first GTA game I completed, as I thought all the others got repetitive fast. The difference between this one and the others, is there’s always one mission that is so epic in terms of story significance, that it makes you keep playing. You also get missions that’s kind of different from the others that it somewhat keeps it fresh, but mainly you’re still driving to point A, kill some guy, drive to point B.

Overall – 9.8
GTA IV is a cinematic masterpiece and an awesome value for your money, the online is flawed and there’s a few imperfections but none of them ruin the experience.