Monday, 18 October 2010

[MINI REVIEW] [PS3] Just Cause 2

Having being an owner of this title's predecessor on the PS2, I was certainly drawn towards giving this one a go. Where the previous title failed, this explosive belter of a game improved.

The missions are a non-stop ride jam-packed with explosions, vehicle interaction and some physics manipulation, aided by the main character's grappling hook wristband. At several points in the game, I did wonder whether the free gameplay sequences were quite good enough to merit the appalling blandness of most of the mission-instruction videos: each of the three faction's leaders arrive, leave and act in the same fashion and tell you a person/place/vehicle to kidnap/ hijack / blow-to-pieces and throw you a crate. Every time. But then I blew up a ballistic missile mid-launch using a helicopter's rockets after hijacking said helicopter using the grapple gun after jumping off the said missile's launch tower. Oh hell yes!

The free exploration available is very, very impressive as well. Although the towns/villages/military bases you come across are on the whole very similar (a clear copy-and-paste job for many) there are hundreds of settlements to discover across a 400 square mile environment which includes mountains, harbours, airports, satellite facilities and power stations to explore and destroy to your heart's content. Imagine looking ten miles North, South, East and West from your home town and getting in a jet and soaring across it in around 4 minutes; it's a stunning experience, I can tell you!
Getting around has been accounted for and you are able to quick travel to any previously discovered location after a small video clip (which does get annoying eventually) but this still means many hours of getting first time to the extremely scattered locations around the enormous map on offer. This is actually quite an enjoyable trek in spite of how daunting it is!

Overall, the scale and scope of this game really feels high definition and has given me about 40 hours of engaging gameplay, so long as you like blowing things up. Now out second hand for £10 to £15, it would truly be money well-spent.

Total: 87%

[MINI REVIEW] [DS] Dragon Quest IX

From start to finish, a hugely-enjoyable and remarkably polished RPG that blissfully balances children's humour and the expansive and gripping character and equipment advancement.

It is obvious in every aspect of this title that the developers have not only taken the time to give each element of the title unique charm but also to give the whole affair a charming personality that makes it a pleasure to play through.

Graphics, sound and controls are all spot on and well-suited to the DS screens and the multiplayer features are a joy on their own, allowing for you to not only play side-by-side with friends but also to have people simply explore and interact with your game world totally independently of your characters.

The only drawbacks being that the abilities associated with party member roles can be a little confusing and restrictive, and that for such a vast item and equipment creation system I would have actually liked to have gotten to create/use more of them (right through the game I wanted Tracksuit Bottoms and at no point have I found how to get them).

Overall, my personal favourite RPG on the DS and one of the most impressive and entertaining experiences to ever appear on a handheld.

Total: 90%