Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Second Look @ Jumper: Griffin's Story

*All images are from*

A simple quick cash-in title with not enough inside to believe you're actually playing a game.
Button-mashing games are few and far between. Some, like God of War (don't hate, you know it's true), are well done and offer some depth to go along with mindlessly killing things. Others, such as Jumper: Griffin's Story, leave you scratching your head, wondering if what you just played was a game at all.

Kung-Fu epic this is not.

The first thing to remember is that the game is based on a single character, Griffin, from the movie Jumper. He can be summed up as David Rice's counterpart. Where Rice is calm and unknowing, Griffin is cunning, always watching his back for the Paladin's. This doesn't translate very well for the game since you'll find yourself often being slapped by several enemies at once. The combat can be frustrating at times but the action is steady enough not to let you down (in other words B+ concept, D- execution).
The fact that Griffin is always watching his back can also be seen in the awkward running he does, at first one might question why they animated him in such a way. It's only until later when you're running through the close quarters of the pyramid that you realize he's looking around
corners for the next attack.
There are moments after you d
efeat a set of enemies where the game stops to show you a door opening or enemies coming through a doorway. It wouldn't be bad if the area was obscure, but it happens almost every time. The AI is dull, lacking in emotion and any sort of common sense. You face the same nameless, faceless thugs each level, which can be described as fodder. They're nothing more than filler in this game. Quick jumping is set to the Right Bumper, it's an easy way to get out of a tough fight and to get yourself situated. It isn't, however, a good way to travel through the level. Once you activate, you'd better be heading forward as you can't rotate the camera, only Griffin himself. Good luck getting out of a corner because of this.

"Must... break free... from... bad... game. UGH!"

The graphics are toned down on the next-gen systems, supposedly to match the capabilities of the PS2 since it was a multiplatform release. The lighting and shader effects are done enough to get the point across. Beyond that they do nothing more to create an atmosphere of urgency. The cameras are another point away from this game: frustrating, clunky, slow, and just about any other negative comment you can think of, the camera would have been better suited if it had been fixed in place.
The cutscenes are comic-book style but might remind the player of something along the lines of Twisted Metal Head On: shadows are heavy ink, parts are slide-animated, and it's hard to see the emotions. The levels are cluttered and a few of them are hard to navigate. In-area jumping can be cut short by a barrel that is a few feet away. The audio quality is fair, you are able to hear each time you jump, each punch and hit. Griffin's voice is done by Jamie Bell, the same actor from the movie. His witty banter might cause you to crack a smirk, but it doesn't give you any deep hints into the game. The character of Roland, done by Samuel L. Jackson in the movie, is played by a different man, younger sounding. The music is unnoticeable. Completely. That's all I have to say about it.

"Hey is that Samuel L. Jackson? ...No, my bad. It's just some guy."

The only saving grace of this game is not just the achievements (~500G in the first hour or so), but the certain moments of creativity, specifically the drop zone kills, that make you go "Holy crap, did you see that?" These moments are triggered by pressing button combos, from which you get from comic book covers.
The game is a good rental, a way of wasting about 2 hours in an afternoon or a weekend. As far as buying, you'd better hold on to the receipt.
I'll give the creators credit for trying, but not being thorough enough. It's a game suited for the last gen systems and any other ideas they could have poured into it (i.e. an open world environment, better combat) would have been fine.

Jamie Bell, serving a beatdown to one of the game creators.

Oooh. Get'em Jamie.
Keep Playing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Second Look @... (UPDATED)

I'm going to start doing a short blog series about looking back at games you might have not paid attention to... or games that I like and so did a lot of people. Either way it's going to happen. It won't a very long series because I don't have thousands of games in my collection, but with what I bring to you all I hope you can still enjoy it.
I'm going to start off with Lumines, mainly on the PSP, but if you own another version its pretty much the same. Just warning you ahead of time.
So here's the thing I want you all to help me with: find the game anyway you can and play it. Then you'll know where I'm coming from with my review of it. I want you all to tell me your experiences, what you liked, what you didn't like, etc. But please, nothing like "Dis game iz da suckkkkkj." If you can't show intelligence, you're not worthy of my time.

It's not going to happen this week since I don't have a decent amount of time to come up with anything right away. It takes time to really reflect on the game itself.
Also, I'm going to be transferring my Second Look's as my game reviews on Gamespot. So why would you hunt me down there when you can just come here? Exactly.

So it looks like I won't have time this week to crank out a well-written review. Rest assured however I do have the basis for it, the layout and context. Getting the right words is what's the problem with me. I don't want it to sound like a rehash of my other reviews.

Keep Playing Lumines.

Friday, June 5, 2009

E3, and a quick note about the console "war."

I'm not going to do the other E3 blogs. I don't have the time or the patience to listen to the Sony or the Nintendo guys ramble on about numbers while mindless fanboys laugh at the other console's failures in the comments.

As a matter of fact: I once read a quote on Gamespot saying (and I know I'm misquoting here): "don't try to win the console war, reap the benefits of each." The statement is true.

If you like a console with a 10-year life cycle, major graphics, etc.: Get a PS3.
Like the old-school or like having gaming parties with your friends? Get a Wii.
Like it here and now with millions of people to play with? Get a 360.

It's beyond pointless to argue the faults of each like many people do. When you talk about the successes, then it becomes understandable.

Keep Playing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

E3 - Microsoft

I know I reported only on the games that I was interested in, but that's because that was all I was seeing. I'm getting the chance now to see the conference in it's entirety. Now I get the chance to speak about a lot more.

The Beatles Rock Band has an impressive amount of songs, a nice opening video, and... a really small guitar. I'm not sure who played the brown one, but it doesn't look right. Other than that, any fan of The Beatles will love this game.

They skipped charts and rates and the crowd applauded. lol

Modern Warfare 2, impressive of course. Do I really have to say anything beyond that? It's Modern freakin Warfare 2.

Final Fantasy XIII blah blah blah. I REALLY don't care for this series. Fast Forward >>

Shadow Complex: a throwback to the old Metroid-style sidescroller.

If they've learned anything from the first game, then Crackdown 2 should be bigger, badder, and more badass than the first. Apparently now you get to fight superzombies or something.

Splinter Call Conviction, announced in 2006, will probably see a release day in 2010. I can say with the rest of the fans of this franchise (those who still follow it) "It's about time." But DAMN! You can tell they did their homework with this one.

If Forza 3 was a woman, she'd be sexy as hell. :D

Meanwhile, Alan Wake is creepy as hell!

And Project Natal is what Nintendo has been planning for years. Yet they still haven't made up their minds about HD gaming.

So Far DiRT 2 is looking very impressive. Although seeing as how the first one never garnered the respect the previous Colin MCRae games did they seem to have gone bigger, complete with licensed music, more car sponsors, and different drivers.

Left 4 Dead 2, with melee weapons. I just nergasmed. :D (NSFW, very bloody)

Yet another Halo game, possibly based on the book The Fall of Reach.

Full Xbox 360 game downloads arriving in August. Need I say more? Just read the article.

There's a ton more on Joystiq Xbox. Just head there and check it all out.

While browsing the Xbox website for a replay of the conference I came across this: "Facebook and Xbox LIVE are joining forces to connect the largest social network on the planet with the largest entertainment and gaming network on TV." My thoughts: could be useful. Unfortunately most of the people I know on Facebook don't even know what an Xbox is. And apparently Twitter also.