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Reviews

Tomb Raider: Underworld
(2008)

An OK sequel that runs very messy
This is a continuation of the story from Tomb Raider Legend. Crystal Dynamics third Tomb Raider game and Lara's complete next gen debut. The game sadly follows Angel of Darkness's footsteps in making Lara's first game on the new generation of consoles a mess. Rife with glitches and poor framerate. The whole game has a rushed quality to it. Which Eidos is known for rushing their developers.

Graphically the game looks great. There have been tweaks and improvements to some animations and stuff that Lara does. Everything is mo-capped now, so that it gives Lara and the other characters a better sense of realism. There are a lot of subtle things here I appreciate with the animations.

There is a dark side to the animations though. Some animations are stiff. Like her swan dive for example. She looks like a 500 pound anvil dropping, because she does it so fast. Other animations are also stiff and sometimes jerky.

Next complaint is the shoddy camera. The camera was somewhat of a hassle in Anniversary, but never this bad. The camera flips, dips, and trips all around to every place except where you want it or need it to be.

The combat has it's issues as well. First off this is just a personal preference of mine, but I wished they would have included a customizable control scheme, but sadly there isn't one. The reason why I say this is, because shooting is R2. I'm used to it being R1, so I found R2 to be awkward all through the game. One addition that I'm glad returned was blood. Enemies now spray a little blood when she shoot them.

There are some lazy design choices at work as well. Every human in the game is a one hundred percent exact clone of each other. There are two areas that are exact clones of each other as well.

Through the game I encountered four glitches. I fell through a boss one time, I went through a boat wall, close to the end of the game the screen just went black and I had to cut off my PS3 and turn it back on before I could do anything else, and at one point the screen went completely gray. That was fixed by going into the menu and going back to the game.

Two other things I'm really peeved about is the fact that they took out her mansion that you could mess around in outside of story mode. Another thing is the lack of unlockable costumes. In fact there are NONE. What few that are coming are going straight to the Xbox to be exclusive there. This game is shorter than Anniversary as well, but longer than Legend by a small margin.

There are some improvements here. The voice acting it good. The story is fairly good. The cutscene animations are superb, but Crystal Dynamics really dropped the ball with the technical aspects of the game. The game could be patched to fix some of these problems, but there has been no word on any patch. Everything else coupled with 360 basically getting everything to make it a more complete game and you've got a game here for the PS3 that doesn't justify it's $60 price.

Resistance 2
(2008)

An OK game, but a very disappointing sequel
Two years ago Insomniac made Resistance: Fall of Man. Turns out it was a different kind of breed of FPS for me at least. The only FPS I've ever truly liked. It has a special kind of flair about it that other FPS games don't have in my opinion.

Fast forward 2 years and we have it's sequel. A direct continuation of the story from the first. Succeeding in some areas and a let down in most. The story is told through Nathan Hale's perspective this time instead of a Narrator character. It does give Hale more meaning as a character, but ultimately he's just a clichéd tough ass gung ho soldier type that we've seen so much before already. The story feels a bit hollow.

The shooting isn't bad, but the crosshairs on some of the weapons are not good at all. Particularly the carbine. That's a personal preference of mine, so take it for what you will. Gone is the weapon wheel. You are only allowed to carry two weapons at a time in this game. Where as you could carry all of them in the first at one time.

Some might say this adds strategy to the game. No doubt that it does, but it strips the game of it's fun factor and variety in favor of realism and strategy now. In the first one you could dispatch of the Chimera in many different ways in one battle. Now that is gone. With the lack of the weapon wheel I use the two most convenient weapons and skip all the rest. That's just my preference though. Limitations aren't good. I like to use all the weapons at my leisure. Not have the game developer hold my hand on how to play the game.

Insomniac also makes things predictable even with the first time through as always you'll find a weapon best suited for the upcoming battle. Which if you're like me you'll catch onto this pattern soon and be able to predict when you'll be facing mass amounts of enemies or one big enemy with whatever weapon you find laying at your feet as you progress. Axing the weapon wheel is my biggest disappointment with the game.

Next is the weapons themselves. Insomniac created some unique weapons in the first game. Some old weapons make returns. The new weapons are the Splicer a saw blade shooting gun, Bellock grenade launcher, A wraith mini gun, Revolver, Marksman, Pulse Cannon. Marksman being a hybrid between a assault rifle and a sniper rifle. The focus of most of these new weapons are based in realism. Except for the Splicer. There's that "realism" word again. Which is disappointing. Insomniac being a developer known for creating unique weapons dropped the ball here.

Online stuff is a mixed bag. The new addition is online co-op and is the game's saving grace. You have three classes Soldier, Special Ops, and Medic. Each can be leveled up to 30 with different armor to "buy" for each of them and each takes around 18-20 hours to completely max out with levels. It takes a little longer if you want gray tech which is the equivalent of money to buy all the armor. When everyone clicks as a team then co-op is the best thing about the game. It's addicting with 5 maps and plenty of missions. It's up to 8 players online and 2 players offline. There is no single player co-op. Offline co-op is the same as the online co-op. Just only with two people and the second players stats can't be saved. As many faults as I have with this game the co-op redeems a lot if it.

Competitive is different compared to the first game. First off weapon spawns have been taken out. Now you find weapons on the battlefield from dead players. Second there are berserks which are like Call of Duty's perks. Personally I feel that berserks break the online gameplay. Makes it unfair and doesn't belong in a Resistance game. Aside from maybe 1 exclusive berserk each race is pretty much the same now. Their uniqueness has been stripped.

Competitive only has four modes compared to the first game's six. Meltdown, Breach, Coversion, and Capture the Flag has been taken out. Capture the flag has been replaced with a different mode called Core Control. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Skirmish are the other modes with Skirmish being the other new one. The online lobby from the first game has been changed for the worse. There is no more convenient in game messaging. Now it's all done through the XMB. Not good at all.

The graphics are scale of the game are a definite step up.

It might sound like I loathe this game, but I don't. Like I've already said co-op is where it's at with this game. I've already put close to 30 hours into co-op. Being a huge fan of the first I'm just disappointed that they changed so much.

If this weren't a sequel to Resistance: Fall of Man then it would get an easy 9 out of 10 from me. Looking at it as a sequel though makes it a underwhelming let-down. I had a hard time It doesn't hold that same flair that the first one did. Marred by Insomniac's extreme want for realism. Insomniac went out of there way to copy other flavor of the year games on the market and with that they lost a lot of what made the first Resistance so great and it's identity. It plays just like every other shooter out there now. If you weren't a fan of Resistance 1 then you might like this game. If you're looking for a sequel that holds the same spirit as the first then you might be disappointed, but if you can look past the fact that this is a Resistance sequel then you'll have fun with this.

The Incredible Hulk
(2008)

The best Marvel movie yet
Although my personal bias as a Hulk fan will probably sway my opinion on that.

5 years ago I watched Ang Lee's Hulk. I really liked it and couldn't understand why everyone was hating on it. Specifically comic book fans. The more I watched it though the more I started seeing pacing problems with the movie. Three years after I watched the movie I went and got every single Hulk comic I could find. I was in for a shock. The movie wasn't faithful to the comics at all. Reading the comics turned me against the movie entirely.

Needless to say I was a bit cautious whenever this one was announced. I got more optimistic whenever it was revealed that Ed Norton was being cast as Bruce. They couldn't have gotten anyone better. Eric Bana was a terrible choice. Then more casting reveals came along. For the biggest part I was happy about most of them. Except for William Hurt as General Ross. I felt one of the only things that the 03 movie got right was Sam Elliot as General Ross.

Then the trailers came. I wasn't impressed with anything I seen in the trailers. I was still willing to give it a chance, but I was more pessimistic now than ever.

After watching the movie though I can safely say the trailers didn't do it justice. It made me do a 180. This movie is the best piece of Hulk work outside of the comics. One of my worries was that since the 03 Hulk was a bit heavy with the story. This movie was going to go the opposite route and be all action and nothing else.

While this may be somewhat the case, the action is incredible. Abomination and Hulk's blows were thunderous. There was a big chunk of character development on Bruce Banner, but certain things could have been expanded upon. Like General Ross, Dr. Samson, and Betty. Other little things could have been expanded upon as well, but Marvel was worried that this one would be too story heavy and not enough action like the 03 version. In the end the action being so great made up for the slight sacrifice in character and story development.

Liv Tyler I thought did a good job as Betty. She played the innocent love role well. I know some critics are bashing her for whatever reason. I thought she was good.

Now to touch on the negatives. Just two big ones that stuck out to me. As I mentioned earlier I loved Elliot as Ross in the 03 Hulk movie. Hurt was no Ross. I never could completely buy him as Ross through out the movie. I kept thinking on how great Elliot would have been if he were back in the role.

The second was the Abomination's design. Being a comic book geek now Abomination's design irked me more than anything whenever I very first seen the trailer. I see lots of people say that the comic book design makes no sense, but this "is" a movie based off of a "comic book". Gamma affects people in different ways in the comic. The comic design differed him from Hulk's look. Which I felt was the exact thing was wrong with him here with his design. He looked too much like a bald Hulk clone. I'm not as down on it as I was, but I still prefer the comic book version any day.

I thought they went a bit overboard with the TV show homages. I don't like the show. I don't mind the cameo by Lou here and there. The TV show did help Hulk reach get more mainstream, but by that same logic why isn't all the current Batman movies homaging and using elements from the Adam West Batman show? Like I said I'll give credit where credit is due and to the movies credit it does strike a nice balance trying to please both sides, but Batman Begins has shown that you can make a superhero movie with 100 percent of it's inspiration derived from the comics and still be successful and good.

The CGI was great. Way better than the 03 version. The Hulk looked great and they went through a lot of trouble creating the battles the Hulk is in. This is getting too long. Probably my longest review yet. Finally they got the Hulk right. I'm hoping there will be a sequel.

The Simpsons Movie
(2007)

It was a great ride
It met all of my expectations and was better than the past four seasons of of the show. There was only one joke in the whole movie that didn't really do it for me. Every character got a chance to shine and it was surreal seeing my favorite show growing up on the big screen. I was worried that the writers would throw in a bunch of "four letter words" just, because they could. Which would have seemed awkward, but thankfully they didn't. The movie was very quickly paced in my opinion. I was very surprised by the time it was over, because it seemed so quick. Homer was definitely the star of the show, but there was a story for the whole family except Maggie, but she had her "cute" moments. All in all I can't wait for a sequel if they make one at some point in the future.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary
(2007)

A near perfect remake
The Tomb Raider series has always been high on my list of favorite franchises. That's why I was so sad to see it go the way it was going before Crystal Dynamics stepped in and injected some life back into the series.

I had high expectations for the remake considering Crystal Dynamics was doing it. Thankfully all of those expectations have been met and then some. This game has now taken the place of the first one in my opinion. Some people may disagree, but there's no more need for the original now.

Crystal D managed to take what we all loved about Tomb Raider 1 and refine it without destroying the atmosphere of the first. Pretty much everything has been upgraded over the original. If you've played Legend you should be used to this. It uses the same engine.

The graphics are the most obvious thing. What was once a closed in cave with a black cover over it is now outside like it's supposed to be. All the environments are wonderful. Which makes navigating them that much better.

The controls are fine. The combat is a bit more in depth than in Legend. Although you'll spend more time jumping around and solving puzzles than fighting. Which is what the original Tomb Raider was about. I do have to praise the difficulty. Not many games have a well balanced realistic difficult challenge anymore. The story is better written, but keeps the same elements of the original.

My only complaints about the game is the camera, no blood, and slight framerate problems. The camera can be a bit of a hassle sometimes when trying to make jumps. Thankfully it never gets bothersome too much. I was disappointed that there wasn't any blood what so ever in the game. I didn't want geysers of blood, because the series has never been about that, but a little blood when she gets stabbed or pricked would have been nice. The original even had blood. The framerate chugged a few times, but it was hardly noticeable. The mansion is the place where it happens the most.

Overall a great game with plenty of great unlockables and I can't wait to see what Crystal Dynamics can do with the series from here.

Resistance: Fall of Man
(2006)

My first FPS and PS3 game and it wasn't a disappointment
There are hardly any games out for any system that I want right now, but I got the urge to get my first PS3 game after owning one for almost two months. I finally broke down and got Resistance.

Resistance shows just how good of a game it really is with me actually hating FPS games before this and still do. This game stands out amongst the rest though. I actually enjoy this FPS and this will probably be the only FPS game I ever own.

I don't know much about standard shooters, but the gameplay in this is great. The physics in this game are great. The glass breaks realistic. You can knock over most stuff with shots or melee hits. You can't damage buildings that much. The storyline is decent, but I've seen better, but the atmosphere and locations make up for what little the story lacks. The guns are all great. They all have great sub things they can do. Difficulty isn't cheap on any of the harder settings.

This game also brought out another first in me. I tried the online play which I don't normally do in games and I love it. There's plenty of modes and maps to play in. There is NO lag for me at least. It's awesome. Clans to join, buddies to make, and plenty of stuff to unlock. In fact this whole game is awesome and worth a buy.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
(2006)

Still GTA, but nothing outstanding
I went into this with the mindset that's a PSP port, so I wasn't expecting anything huge like San Andreas. Comparing it to Vice City is fair though in my opinion seeing as how it's almost four years old. It's a good tide over game until GTA IV.

You follow the story of Lance and his brother Vic. Vic is a character that I never could fully like. Unlike CJ and Tommy. Vic is a nice man. Doesn't trash talk and always wants to do the right thing. There are some interesting characters in the game. Louise a redneck female that Vic gets to know adds something new to the series. That being a serious love interest for the main character. I was interested in that. Although it didn't go much of anywhere. All the rest of the characters are mostly returning characters from Vice City. The story was bland for a GTA game I do have to admit. Still passable, but bland by GTA standards.

The gameplay is pretty much the same GTA free roaming gameplay we've come to know and love. There are some limitations with it being on the PSP and being a port of the PSP. Vic can only swim for a limited amount of time at the start and he can't dive underwater. He can't climb up over walls like CJ can. The flying vehicles control terribly. I hated them The gameplay is a mixed bag if you're comparing it to Vice City. There's a lot of stuff I like that's been added like use of the golf course, but some of the vehicles don't control as well as they did in Vice City. Tires pop way too easily that's for sure.

I found the soundtrack to be weak. Vice City has my most favorite soundtrack. I didn't like many of the songs on here and cut off the radio most of the time.

The game actually looks quite a bit better than Vice City. The facial animations move a lot better and gives the characters more life. The city is not so washed out. The graphics are probably the biggest overall improvement over Vice City.

In the end it's still an enjoyable GTA game. It's got all the right essentials to make it a standard GTA game. That being said it doesn't excel above Vice City much and actually falls short in other places.

Diablo II
(2000)

Made everything from the first one even better!
There's not much bad to be said about this game. It takes all the elements from the first game and makes them better. Better graphics, story, sounds, levels, characters, weapons. I remember playing this game for the first time for about 12 hours or so. It's hard to stop once you start. It excelled on every expectation I had for it. The ending really stuck with me. It is very bad ass. The difficulty I found challenging, but not impossible.

The most addictive part about the game is the level building. There's nothing more satisfying than building your character up super strong and mowing down some demons in hell. The final thing I like about this game is it fulfilled every want I had for the series. There is no need to continue further. This game and it's expansion should be the end of the series in my opinion, but they are that damn good.

Candyman
(1992)

A slow burn
Everyone knows of the bloody mary urban legend. Well this movie takes that legend and puts a urban spin on it. Which I like. There aren't to many serious urban horrors. It's got a decent enough premise. It's slow in carrying it out though. Virgina Madsen is a good quality actress. She really makes you feel for her with all of the insanity that's going on.

Everybody knows that Candyman is Tony Todd's most recognizable role. Tony is creepy, but this movie works by the idea that less is more. The less you see Candyman the more scary he will be. Granted they didn't have to go with a "Jason" style exposure for him. It would have been nice to see more of him.

Everything feels as if it reveals and finishes everything too fast. We don't get a clue as to what's really going on until the movie is almost over. It's nicely directed. It is underrated in some circles, but after going back and watching it again after all these years. It doesn't hold up that good anymore.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
(2006)

This brought back the horror in horror
This movie is relentless in it's brutality. I was shocked at some of the kills and the gore in the movie. This movie shows all these commercial PG-13 teenage horror movie what a "horror" movie is supposed to be.

Now the movie doesn't bring anything new the genre. No one ever said it was going to. It does have some good old slasher fun that's lacking in a lot of today's horror.

The actors are excellent and are better than the remake's cast. The directing is great. The editing is great. The prequel doesn't delve to much into Leatherface's past, but that's OK. Giving away too much makes him lose his mystic.

It answers some of the questions left in the remake of course as prequels are supposed to do. All in all it's a horror movie. That's what I can safely say about it. It's a true horror movie. Which is something you don't see much of these days.

Ultimate Spider-Man
(2005)

My first venture into the Ultimate Spider-man world
I had did a little research up on Ultimate Spider-man before I went out and bought this game. I didn't care much for the story of the Ultimate storyline Spider-man series with what I had read.

Now I wasn't expecting much when I bought this game. What I got surprised me. The whole thing is done is a artsy comic book style. Think Hulk movie 2003 with the panels showing some action and stuff like that.

The story pretty much follows the Ultimate comics from my understanding. I actually found the story to be one of the most interesting parts about the game. I still like the Amazing Spiderman story better, but the Ultimate storyline isn't as bad as I once thought once I got done with this game.

The gameplay was layed out fine. Spider-man's web swinging from building to building is done perfect in my opinion. Everything flows smoothly with it. Unfortunately the camera can get in the way of the fights sometimes. The boss fights are evenly difficult. Some of the bosses can be a pain sometimes.

The game also throws out a lot of side quest for you to do. Races around the city and combat tours. They can get repetitive and boring fast in my opinion. There are tons of tokens, comic book covers, and other stuff around the city to collect.

Overall this was well above average, but still has it's flaws that can't be easily ignored. Such as the annoying camera and the repetitive side missions. Great lengthy game though. Especially if you're wanting to do everything. It's worth a buy

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
(1992)

It's rare when I can say it, but this was abysmal.
I just went back and watched first two before this one. What was Doug Bradley thinking when he signed on to put Pinhead through this? There are quite a lot of things wrong with this movie.

First off Pinhead is way to "humanized" in this one. He talks a lot which makes him more human and less demon from Hell. I also didn't like how it wasn't really Pinhead doing all the killings. It was just a shell of Spencer's former evil manifested on earth. I hated that. I couldn't believe it when it pointlessly started laughing during the club scene as well. Which brings me to my next points.

The movie was way to urban to be a Hellraiser movie. I didn't like it that it took place in a club a lot and in the city. Plus Pinhead and the cenobites were exposed to way to many people. What ever happened to the only people seeing them was the people that figured out the box? That took away a lot of mystery of them.

Next is all the pointless scenes of gore. I'm a big fan of gore, but the gore meant completely nothing in the movie as compared to the last ones. The club scene where Pinhead out of no where just kills a bunch of people is a shame.

They tried so hard to make Pinhead the anti-hero villain like Jason or Freddy eventually became, but by this time nobody was asking him to be the anti-hero. This was only the third movie. I didn't feel for anybody in the movie and they tried desperately to make people care about Pinhead for some reason.

Next up is the freakin cheesy new Cenobites. I'm sorry, but a fat bartender Cenobite isn't going to replace butterball Cenobite. WTF was up with the camera Cenobite and his one liners? I also had to chuckle at the CD Cenobite.

The pay off to the Spencer/Pinhead separation was done decent, but Spencer and Pinhead being separated really wasn't needed in the first place. Oh well it's rule that classic horror series must be turned into jokes.

In the end this movie was completely abysmal. Which there's not many movies that earn that title from me. Pinhead was elevated to the central character and humanized a lot, because of all the lines he had and his actions. The desperate attempt at making Pinhead the anti-hero villain didn't work for me.

The pay off to the Spencer/Pinhead separation was done decent, but Spencer and Pinhead being separated really wasn't needed in the first place. Part 4 actually seems good in comparison.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
(2004)

Another controversial Grand Theft Auto game
It seems like these things are made for two things lately. Hardcore sandbox style gaming and controversy. Each game causes a little more controversy than the last. This time the theme of the game is the thug life from the early 90's. Which is written very great. It's all a matter of preference when it comes to the GTA games. Some people prefer the mafia 80's nostalgia factor of the Vice City. Some people prefer what this game has to offer. Fact is if you can look past the thug and gangsta themes of the game if you're not into that stuff already of course. There is a great game under those themes.

This game takes the same formula from Vice City and GTA 3 and enhances it. It really does push the PS2 to it's limit. The map and landscape is three or possibly even four times bigger than that of the past two game. There are four big areas to roam around in. Hardly any the landscape is flat like Vice City. There are rolling hills and mountains in this game.

The weapons are virtually the same with upgrades to keep with the early 90's. There have been new vehicles added. All the music is from the early 90's. Some might argue that the soundtrack isn't as memorable as Vice City. I think after one play through the game that you'll find it sounds more memorable than it looks. There is now an ability to parachute out of the planes. Which is intense the first couple of times you do it.

This game takes everything from the past two games and turns it up a few notches. It's hard to find yourself without anything to do in this game. There is more stuff to find, races, plenty of side missions, unique jumps are optional in this game, but still fun to do. It'll take you 10 minutes just to get to one of the map to the other if you're in a car. The only flaw is that you're tired of the same GTA formula this game doesn't do anything to change it. I recommend this game to any GTA fan.

Supernatural
(2005)

Good series that doesn't stand out much
The story follows two brothers that go around fighting demons, ghost, and just about anything Supernatural as the series name says. This series is a good series, but none of the episodes really stand out in my opinion. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki play brothers well. Although by looking at them you couldn't tell that they are supposed to be brothers. Each episode doesn't tie in much to each other. There's always a good amount of action. Some good writing.

The show follows one basic formula though. A girl usually gets in trouble and the two brothers have to go save her or protect her. The first season was good enough to keep me hooked with a good season finale. The show still hasn't hit it's comfortable niche, but the first season really built upon it. If it can stay on for longer than 1 season it'll probably really start to hit's prime in the second season if the writing continues to grow.

StarCraft
(1998)

The only RTS game I've ever liked
I've never been a big RTS fan. In fact Starcraft and it's expansion have been the only two RTS games I've ever played. Having said that. Starcraft is the only RTS game I need to play. I have a feeling that most other RTS games would pale in comparison.

You get to play as three species. Terran are humans, Zerg which are ferocious "Alien" inspired creatures, and Protoss which are unique no mouthed aliens. Each species has their own ups and downs in combat, but that's what makes the game so diverse. Trying to build your base and protect it while building an army for war is a fun challenge.

The storyline is great. Really sets the mood that all three species are at each other's throats in one way or another. It's set up so that the player has to play an individual campaign of each species. With each species getting their own storyline that eventually brings everything full circle. If there's one thing I have to give this game above all else. It's a really difficult game in the later levels of each campaign.

In my opinion it still holds up today 8 years after it's creation. Great game. Good graphics. Intriguing storyline. A fun challenge. This game has a little bit for everybody if you're into RTS games.

Mortal Kombat II
(1993)

The best 2D MK game to date
Mortal Kombat 2 upped the bar from the previous MK game and set a standard for the other few 2D MK games that followed after it. The characters were increased. The previous characters from the first game were given a makeover. Most of them for the better. There is a new four armed sub boss added that being Kintaro and a new boss Shao Kahn. Who is hailed as one of the best MK bosses by many. Also in my opinion both Kintaro and Kahn are some of the hardest bosses in any MK game.

The characters are also given two fatalities in this game as opposed to one fatality in the first game. The fatalities are more gruesome than that of the first games fatalities. There are also a few more stage fatalities in this game. Just like Reptile in the last game. There are hidden characters in this game. Except this time there is three. Not much else to say about it. Except that it was a great game for it's time and still holds up today to a certain extent. It raised the bar even higher for violence and stamped it's place into gaming history.

Zero: Shisei no Koe
(2005)

An intense story driven game
First let me start off by saying that I love the Fatal Frame series. It's one of the best survival horror series in my opinion. There's hardly anything bad I can think of to say about the series.

The third game follows the same basic structure of the last two games. You fight ghost with a camera. There's not been much of an upgrade from the past two games in terms of game play. Which may aggravate some veteran Fatal Frame players.

The story is of a young woman named Rei Kurosawa who lost her boyfriend some time ago and is a freelance photographer. She currently is now trying to solve the mystery of the cursed tattoo and the manor of sleep. The story is as always beautifully crafted and finishes out the trilogy on the PS2 with a bang.

You'll be going back and forth in between a "dream manor" and the waking world. Which is Rei's apartment. The transition is done very nicely and pulled off in such a way that it doesn't take away from the story.

There are two other characters in this game. Kei Amakura and Miku Hinisaka from the first game. They serve their purpose well as this game eventually ties into the past two games. You'll actually be seeing a lot of Miku.

The graphics are the best they've ever been in this game. The locations look great as does the characters. The voice acting is great, but the characters do sound like they're talking in a hole sometimes. The sound for all the ghost is great and intense.

I wouldn't say this is the scariest out of the three as anyone who has played the past two games will likely be desensitized to the whole ghost fighting formula of the series. That still doesn't take away from the game in my opinion. It holds its own.

A few words to sum up the whole game is it's a beautiful intense game. I recommend the whole series for anyone who is into survival horror and looking for a deep psychological game.

Mortal Kombat 4
(1997)

The MK series takes a slight turn for the worse
I was interested to see what Midway could do with the series with it's venture into complete 3D. I had immensely enjoyed the past 3 games. When I finally got to play Mortal Kombat 4. I felt indifferent about it at first. The full 3D aspect was different. The graphics weren't all they could be for a PS1 game in my opinion.

The new character additions were average to bad. Some old characters look alright for their first time in 3D. Some of the fatalities are redone for the full 3D world. Which is cool. There are also stage fatalities in this game. Which hasn't been seen since MK2 by this time. They are done nicely. Babalities, Animalities, Brutalities, and Frienships are all taken away in this game.

Mortal Kombat 4 also introduced weapons. I was never a big fan of weapons in Mortal Kombat 4. As they are a optional in the game. Which eventually leads to them being a throw away in my opinion. The best action is with the characters moves and hand to hand combat.

My biggest complaints about this game is the end boss Shinnok. First off he has one of the most annoying voices in the game. He's very easy to face and his fatalities are a bit plain maybe even comical. He's one of the worst bosses of the MK series.

Voice acting has never been MK's strong point, but the ending FMV's are marred by bad voice acting. Choppy and sometimes stiff looking movements. I can see why they did and eventually stuck with the still picture endings. All in all it's a decent MK game. Can't really call it bad, but it could've been a lot better.

Mortal Kombat
(1992)

So many hours spent playing this game
In 1992 I hardly had any time for any other game coming out that year. Most of my time was spent playing this game. I can count the times that I beat this game and did every fatality. You get to play as seven characters. All of which have their own special moves. Any MK fan already knows the story and how this game started the ratings systems for games.

One of this games biggest selling points is it's violence. As mentioned above it started the ratings systems for games today, because it was one of the most violent games for it's time. Thankfully the controversy surrounding it only made it more popular as it does with most controversial games.

Another thing that made this game so different from the rest of the fighting games was that the characters were real people digitized into the video game. The series would stay that way up until Mortal Kombat 3.

Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
(2004)

Keep my review short just like the game
This game does have a fun little thing going for it. It has great game play. You can get numerous powers for Nick the main character, but it is short. It can be beaten in 6 to 7 hours. I would've enjoyed this game more if there had been more to it. Aside for the shortness. The characters are generic. Most of them are just there. Main enemy is fairly bland as well. There a few mini games that you can have some fun with, but they become quickly repetitive. This game had potential and could be expanded upon if there ever is a sequel. If you're looking for a really short game with fun game play and bland characters this game is for you.

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
(2005)

Fun is the only word I can use to describe it
This is "the" Hulk game. All other Hulk games will have to bow down to this one. This game as does every other game here lately basically takes the sandbox formula of GTA and throws the Hulk into the mix. It does have a decent plot. It's not top notch, but the bulk of the game is focused on the game play.

The game play lets you roam between two areas. A desert military base and a city. You can pretty much do anything. There is a slew of mini in both areas games that gives you and the Hulk something do besides walk around aimlessly triggering the story missions and terrorizing the people and police. They are all fun. Some more so than others of course. What makes the game play even more fun is that the Hulk controls great. He isn't to clunky and all his moves serve him well in my opinion.

My only complaints is that it does feel a bit short though and the game play can get repetitive sometimes outside of mini games and story, but that's rare.

There is only one to describe this game. That's fun. Who couldn't get any fun out of taking a light pole and batting a cow a hundred feet across a wasteland?

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend
(2006)

What Angel of Darkness?
First off I'm happy as it seems most people are that this game completely ignores Angel of Darkness. The past two games before Legend didn't speak to well for the TR franchise.

Finally Eidos gave it to a new developer for a fresh look. While I started to think that anything would've been acceptable after AOD. That's not the case with this game.

This game is good and makes sure to stand out. It does bring back a lot of the good stuff that we missed from the TR games. Tombs galore for this game. That's a good thing since the game is called "Tomb" Raider. There are a few city levels, but they are done better than AOD's city levels.

The only flaws I have with the game is there is virtually only one vehicle in the game and it's plays very linear. Also the fact that there are only two main types of enemies excluding bosses. The humans are abundant. There is not a lot of variety with animal enemies in this, but at least they are in it.

There is one thing I kept feeling while playing the game though. It feels as if Crystal Dynamics made this game to draw back in the hardcore fans of Tomb Raider and show they there is hope yet for the struggling franchise. It's almost experimental in a way for something bigger to come and I can't wait.

Silent Hill
(2006)

Very respectful of the series
I've never been a huge fan of the Silent Hill series. I've played and beaten the first three games in the last four months. They are all good, but not my favorite game series. Initially it was seeing some of the stuff from the movie that got me into the games.

Going into the movie I had an open mind. While The film is loosely based on the first game. I pretty much knew it wasn't going to be a "direct port" of the first game. It was an adaptation of the games. There were elements taken from the first three games.

Usually when adapting something There is usually always going to be something changed. It just has to be done is a respectful way. There is usually always something changed in the Stephen King movies that have been adapted from books. This movie lived up the Silent Hill series in my opinion.

It had the look, feel, and authentic monsters of Silent Hill. There's even a new monster in the movie that looks like it would fit perfectly in the Silent Hill series. As an individual movie. This is one of the more "brutal" movies I've seen in quite some time. It doesn't let up with the violence. It's a breath of fresh air this day in age amongst all of the PG-13 horrors with all the off screen kills.

Yeah it didn't live up the first game completely, but it was respectful of the Silent Hill series. I feel that Gans and Avary respected the source material. That being the games. Hopefully they'll come back if there is another one.

The Suffering: Ties That Bind
(2005)

Had the potential to be good, but didn't quite make it
Whenever I played and beat the first Suffering. I thought a sequel to it would be much needed and great. As I thought about it. I realized that the first Suffering didn't really need a sequel and that it would be pointless and probably tarnish the first one.

Then the sequel news came out. I was against a sequel, but still got it since I was a huge fan of the first. I didn't expect much from the sequel, but had high hopes that it would prove me wrong.

Everything in Ties that Bind seems like it goes opposite of what the first built up and was about. The first game was about Torque a silent inmate in abbott state penitentiary. During his stay there, some horrific events are unleashed on Carnate island. Leaving Torque with his anger problem to fight through Carnate and its monsters to find answers about his possible murdered family.

Any fan of the first game knows there was three paths you could take with three different endings. This game has the same, but also has three different beginnings. Depending on what path you are going on good, neutral, or evil. That's a nice touch. Carrying over the old saved game data from the first game is also neat.

Now the story in Ties that Bind is just one of the things I have a problem with. In the first game Torque was a man who had a major problem with anger and used that to get through Carnate island. In this game Torque has another disorder which was lightly touched upon in the first game and his anger problem seems to be on the back burner. By lightly I mean so light that some people probably don't even remember it being stated in the first game.

The story revolves around Torque and Blackmore. The Blackmore character has a twist reveal at the end of the game. A twist that seems like a typical Hollywood derived idea. If the game wouldn't have been centered around that twist idea and character it would have been better. All I can say is that the Blackmore character is poorly written and its hard to believe that the same writer from the first game wrote this game and that character.

There is also another character called Jordan. She is completely forgettable and pointless. She could have been left out of the game and it still would have been fine. My only guess is that she was written in as an excuse to add another Hollywood voice to make the game sell.

The gameplay has been tweaked. Now you can only carry only two handguns and a shotgun/machine gun on your back. I don't have a problem with that much. Except that it seems every action/third person shooter game seems to be doing it now. The camera has been tweaked too. It seems to have been pulled back and not as close to Torque. Which ultimately makes Torque seem five foot two sometimes. The guns are weak. I found myself using the two sawn off shotguns and the twelve gouge pump action shotgun through the whole game or at least until they became available. The rest of the guns are unbalanced and to weak.

Torque's monster forms are back. He has three monster/rage forms. Good, Evil, and Neutral forms. Like I said earlier though. His rage problem seems to have been forgotten about and on the back burner, so his forms are null and void.

The enemies in this game are really the only thing that saves the game from being a total mess. There are some old enemies and new enemies in the game. There is two sub-enemies that take the place of Horace and Hermes. One is Copperfield a ghost/demon of a former slave driver. He is bland and there really isn't much to him. The other is The Creeper. Who is a ghost/demon of a former pimp. He is what "makes" the game for me. He is demented, crazy, and has a lot of good lines to say. The voice for him is perfect. He really fits into the Suffering world nicely.

The voice acting in this game is sub-par compared to the first game. Most of that blame is on Michael Clarke Duncan who bogs the game down a lot. First off Midway seems to be trying to sell the game off of his and Rachel Griffiths name. It even says on the back of the box "starring Rachel Griffiths and Michael Clarke Duncan." Clark Duncan is a fine movie star, but he has no range in his voice and his a terrible voice actor. He voice seems completely out of place in the Suffering world.

Now my biggest pet peeve with this whole game is that Surreal gave Torque a voice and a personality. In the first game he was this kick ass silent killer who observed and reacting in a subtle, but effective way to everything. He didn't need to talk to get his point across. He was the emotionless man of mystery. I feared that this game would give away way too much about him and take away all the things that made Torque interesting in the first game. Which they did. His appearance was also very neanderthal like in the first game. The first game never tried to distinguish what his race was: black, white, hispanic. It never told. By giving him a voice in the game it ultimately kills that neanderthal like appearance and shows strongly what his race is. Torque was given too many lines to say.

I think I've said enough about this game. It's not a terrible game. Glitchy at times, but it could have been a whole lot better and had the potential to be good. Here's hoping that a third game is out of the question.

Mortal Kombat: Deception
(2004)

Nostalgia is good
In this case nostalgia is good. Old MK characters return and stage fatalities return. Konquest in this game is an RPG like adventure with the main character named Shujinko. Konquest does have some terrible voice acting in spots, but not everyone is bad. Midway has got the right idea with Konquest. It just needs to be fleshed out more. Shujinko's controls are slightly stiff when it comes to moving.

Most of the stories are good when you beat arcade mode. There is a couple that disappoint.

There is also a new addition to the MK series. Which is Hara Kiris. Its suicide basically. Most of the Hara Kiri's range from cool to bland.

All the characters have their own voices. Which is great and adds more depth to the game in my opinion.

The fighting feels more updated and not so clunky like in Deadly Alliance. There are multi-tiered levels now. There are two fatalities instead of one like in Deadly Alliance. Overall a major improvement over Deadly Alliance.

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