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Post author: Paisley
Post date: Dec 2 2008
Post category: Search
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One moment you're escaping a blood-red city that's folding and crumbling around you, and the next you're infiltrating the offices of a famed TV network where the earthly world and that of Limbo have collided in an explosion of vicious demons and ghastly black ooze that drips from every wall. It's easy to be cynical about a game that borrows so heavily from a well-loved franchise. And there's no question that, on the surface at least, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale bears more than a striking resemblance to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. But this is a game where appearances can be deceptive. Underneath its collection of classic (and not so classic) characters, four-player battles, and tongue-in-cheek franchise mash-ups lies a fighter that eschews button mashing and over-the-top special moves for a deeper, more technical fighting experience. Project X Zone is too strategically straightforward to stand with (or even near) the best games in the genre. There aren't different classes to consider the tactical implications of, nor is there anything akin to Disgaea's wonderfully exploitable battle system, or any other wrinkles to make you stop and carefully consider how to approach a situation. You can typically just move your units within attack range of enemy units, ideally with another friendly unit nearby that you can call on for support during the attack, and steadily wipe out your opponents. Although rage-inducing difficulty spikes exist, The Bridge generally offers a middle path that should appeal both to newcomers and to expert puzzle solvers. The game's chief appeal may lie in both its unique visuals and its calming soundtrack, but the puzzles themselves are memorable set pieces worth revisiting after the first completion. The core gameplay may be short, but The Bridge makes good use of that time by presenting a commendable variety of puzzles, and it's an easy recommendation for players seeking to span the bridge between fun and thought. But the character development isn't the only thing that falls flat. Time and Eternity's biggest hook is its unique visual style. Rather than being polygon-rendered models or sprites, every action of every character in the game is drawn in high-definition, traditional animation sequences. This approach sounds interesting on paper, but the problems with its execution begin to materialize almost right away. For starters, you immediately notice that most of the animated characters bear only a passing resemblance to the game's illustrations and concept art. Adventure mode ups the danger and frustration substantially too, since it requires you to hunt down pieces to assemble portals across five increasingly tough world maps. Die once in, and you're kicked back to Survival mode, outside a portal. Granted, when this cycle gets too irritating, you can manually tweak the frequency of most resources, monsters, and perils before starting a new run. But it's hard to find the sweet spot between painfully hard and absurdly easy, since having everything at your fingertips saps the enjoyment of foraging and crafting. The visual style contributes heavily to the feeling of a beckoning unknown. Anywhere you don't fill with prismatic foliage remains a harsh white. Your vision is also limited, such that you can never see more than a chunk in any given direction. Forging a path that goes to new areas can take time, so choosing a direction can be a much more dramatic decision than you might expect. Nothing in Starseed could be said to be particularly striking, but the aesthetic is consistent. It effectively communicates information in a game that is spartan in production. Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 also introduces mob battles in which you take on numerous easy, incapable enemies at once. They're mechanically dull, but moves that let you leap instantly from one enemy to another give these battles a visual energy, at least on the PlayStation 3. On the Xbox 360, these battles are interrupted by severe hang-ups that not only break up the flow of battle but can also result in the game failing to recognize your button inputs. The PS3 version doesn't suffer from this problem, but on both consoles, load times are frequent and long. The MOBA mode is by far the most interesting option, however. It pits opposing teams against one another to push through their opponents' base defenses and destroy their nexus. Mobs, turrets, and other players add to the chaos, as you battle alongside human comrades and drones alike. The push-pull flow of these battles makes for some hotly contested matches. They're a lot of fun when you have enough human players to fight against and alongside. It's just a shame there aren't many players online with whom to take advantage of these multiplayer features. Further dampening the pleasure of progressing past Trine 2's puzzles is the game's floaty movement. The buoyant jumps make it feel as if your characte
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