Wednesday, August 29, 2012

KirbyPink's Editng of Return of the Jedi

Another week, another video! I'll just copy off the description because I'm too damn lazy to write anything original.


The original ending of Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi was going to be bittersweet, mute and emotional. It was originally going to involve Lando Calrissian's death on the Death Star and Han Solo's death midway through the film. The original ending would also have the final scene of Luke staring at a sun-set in a similar manner to A New Hope's famous binary sunset scene. Most of these elements were cut and changed to make a lighter, up-beat and overall "Disney" atmosphere that is the final movie.

This RE-EDIT that I have made changes the ending of Episode VI to be more of the original out-line that Gary Kurtz wrote. It's not perfect and in no-way does it do justice to the original ending of Return of the Jedi. However, it does cut-out some useless elements such as Ewoks and changes the final scene so that the film ends with Luke observing the ceremonial death of his father. Finally, Lando dies just moments before the Death Star blows up.

I know most people won't like this edit. But nobody forces you to watch this. If you don't like it, then go watch something else.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yes I fixed errors.

There were a couple of spelling and grammar errors in my last post that I just fixed. I was half-asleep when writing it, so I accidentally let some errors slip by me. Don't worry though, they're fixed and the post is back in good order and shape. I also wanted to list a couple of honorary mentions. As I said before, I've played many games in the past. So much so, that it was really hard to make that top ten list. So this post will be dedicated to five honorary mentions that are in a top twenty list. 

Mass Effect

As I said in an earlier review, Mass Effect is basically one of the best RPG's to have ever come out in recent years. In fact, I actually would call Mass Effect to be a perfect and flawless RPG to have ever come out in recent years. The combat system works great and is a lot of fun, with many clever companion tactics available to you. The exploration and adventuring in Mass Effect is amazingly well done, and gives a sense of unprecedented scale and huge scope. I also liked the story and the universe BioWare created for it, and of course the characters are some of the best written examples of NPC's for an RPG. I also like the Mako and the Uncharted planets. 

It's just too bad the sequels never lived to the standards of the first game. :(

Final Fantasy X

I've never beaten Final Fantasy X because of the immense length of the story. The characters, however, were some of the best I've seen in an RPG and while they are cliched, they are also well written. The game-play of Final Fantasy X was good for the most part, but the combat was a headache, with enemies spawning all over the place. It was repetitive and almost difficult to move across the game's many open levels, and the boss fights were ridiculously hard to defeat. However, the exploration of the game world and the puzzles are some of the best I've seen in an RPG. Plus, the story makes up for the flawed combat system.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Despite it being a Star Wars game, I really enjoyed playing KotOR II. It was a massive improvement over the original Knights of the Old Republic installment in terms of story and characters. And it's also one computer role-playing game that I still play today. It's considered by many to be Planescape: Torment II because of the sophisticated and complex writing, which is very rare for a Star Wars game. It's just a shame that a proper sequel was never made for it, leaving the ending in the air.


Tetris is addicting. One minute playing Tetris will soon turn into two hours trying to beat your previous score set. And with it being free to play on Google search, then Tetris is probably the best game to play when you're bored. I actually managed to score 109,042 points one time and that's currently my record. I'm going to beat it very, very soon though.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

It's a Deus Ex game, and I'm a Deus Ex fan. So of course this was going going to be included. :P In all seriousness though, I like Human Revolution. It's a great way to restart the series, and one of the best games to have come out in the last two years. The character of Adam Jenson feels more human and is easier to relate with than Alex D, the protagonist of Deus Ex: Invisible War. There's also some really nice nostalgic moments within Human Revolution as well, with Adam Jenson wearing a trench coat in a similar fashion to J.C Denton. The combat is also great too, with the option of using stealth or gunning everyone in your path and stealth really is improved in this latest installment from the previous game, where not even a crouch would hide you from enemy patrol.

There's just two problems with Human Revolution and those are the boss battles and the endings. The ending I'll get too in another post. But the boss fights felt out of place and the only option to defeat them is to gun them down in Quake style. The original Deus Ex gave you the option of running out of a boss fight without. Invisible War took it even further, with the option of simply not killing or stunning anybody.

I think Human Revolution is in-superior compared to the original Deus Ex games. It's a great game on its own, but fails in comparison to Deus Ex. It's still a really amazing game, and one that did an amazing job of restarting a dead series. All in all, I like Human Revolution despite the two horrendous problems with it and am looking forward to seeing a sequel to it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

KirbyPink's Top Ten Games of All Time

A top ten list are usually very subjective. It comes down to a persons preference and what they like, or what they want. There are some top ten lists out there on the internet that I mostly agree with, while some I don't agree with, but as I said before, it all comes down to a persons preference. One person may like role-playing games and base his top ten list on Final Fantasy or The Elder Scrolls. Another person may enjoy first person shooters more, and base his top ten list on games such as Call of Duty or Halo. Both lists are subjective to personal preference.

I love all kinds of games, and from different genres. When it came to picking out my top ten best games of all time, it was a really hard selection. I've been playing video games since I was a wee-lad of only three and since that time, I've played so many countless games on many consoles. From Sonic Adventures on the Dreamcast, to Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation 2. And from Splinter Cell on the Xbox to Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation 2. So it was really hard to pick out the "top" ten outstanding games from the thousands that I have played. If you don't agree with the list, that's fine. Everyone has different preferences on what they like and what they hate. 

So without anything else to say, lets begin! 

10. The Getaway

The Getaway is an action, driving shooter that's set in London. It follows the criminal exploits of Mark Hammond who is blackmailed into doing dirty jobs for a British mafia, and a man called Charlie Jolson. The man kidnapped Mark's only son, and unless he doesn't perform the requests called out by Jolson, his son dies. As the game progresses, Mark begins to make new friends and eventually rescues his son. Then when you think it's over, the game pulls a clever switch and opens up an entirely different play-through where you play as a detective constable: Frank Carter, who's mission is to find proof of Jolson's criminal activity and put him behind bars. The story is very gritty and serious. It's not like Grand Theft Auto where everyone and everything is wacky fun. No, the story in the The Getaway is an engaging roller-coaster that will immerse you in the boots of London's most wanted man: Mark Hammond. And London's disgraced constable: Frank Carter.

I got the The Getaway as a present in 2005 when I first bought my PlayStation 2. I wasn't a fan of it at first because of the immense difficulty curve and the weird driving mechanics. But eventually, as I grew older, I became more fond of the realistic game-play mechanics The Getaway had and started to appreciate the story as I re-played the game so many times over. Nowadays, I go back and replay the game from time to time when I want to go on a nostalgic trip or when I'm simply in the mood to get immersed in an engaging story. The game-play is liner mission selection, but that's okay because not every game needs to have a sandbox mode and The Getaway is definitely not ashamed of not having a sandbox mode. The missions are all varied, with levels having you to chase someone, or to tail someone missions, or stealth missions, or to simply shoot someone. This is game-play variety that got tossed over-seas when developers began to make games for the current generation of consoles. Now it's all repetitive, third person based combat shooters with no varying mission objectives. This is why The Getaway is my tenth best game ever, because it's not repetitive like today's market of modern day action shooters. 

9. Splinter Cell

I played Splinter Cell back in 2004 when I still had an original Xbox to play it on. I actually played the sequel, Pandora's Tomorrow first before ever buying the original Splinter Cell game. The sequel had a few number of improvements but it failed to outshine the original, which still is one of the best examples of stealth based gaming ever. The maps are all varying, with colorful textures and amazing detail. The NPC's were amazingly well animated for their time and the game-play is awesome. There was suspension involved. It wasn't a simple "go behind guard and choke him". You had to change strategy and tactics every second because the guard would either be patrolling a different corridor or would have his back behind a wall, forcing the players to risk detection and create a distraction.

The storyline is amazingly realistic, with news broadcasts airing in the form of a pre-rendered cut-scene before and after each mission.  Basically, the plot follows. The NSF creates a new agency called Third Echelon, which specializes in espionage and infiltration. You take on the role of Sam Fisher, who is a new recruit to Third Echelon. Meanwhile, two Third Echelon agents have gone missing in Georgia, and it's up to Sam to find where they are located. When he locates the agents, the NSF starts to suspects that the Georgian government had a hand in eliminating the two agents. As the game progresses, the storyline becomes more and more thought-provoking as the main enemies start to to use inhumane tactics against America, such as a controlled blackout. It's a typical Tom Clancy story, with favoritism towards America. But the way the game executes the plot is actually very well done. You don't play as a young, inexperienced person. Sam Fisher was designed to be an experienced Navy Seal commando, who knows what he is doing. The sequel Chaos Theory took the concept of the original game, and improved upon it in so many different ways. Than Double Agent came, and things started to crash downhill, fast. Finally, Conviction is a pile of mediocrity, that has taken the modern day trend of fast paced gaming; with tension and pacing gone to make way for cover based combat. 

Stick with the original three games. 

8. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl

This is an interesting one. When I first played Shadow of Chernobyl, I didn't like it. It wasn't because of the boring pace, or the difficult combat or anything game-play related. It was because the game was lagging every frame a second. I uninstalled it and did not touch it again until a few months later when I got my graphic card repaired. I decided to reinstall it again and played through it right until a glitch prevented me from going any further. So I uninstalled it (again) and didn't touch it for at least one year. After one year, Call of Pripyat came out. So I went back to Shadows of Chernobyl, replayed through the entire game, got to the ending and... that's it. I did play the prequel Clear Sky, which I enjoyed, but Shadow of Chernobyl is a game that really has grown on over the years. I despised it, but eventually I came to enjoy it and had fun playing it. The atmosphere of the game is amazing and can really immerse someone in the environments. Speaking of environments, the ones in Shadow of Chernobyl are so well detailed, so amazingly polished that it really does feel like a post-apocalyptic game-world. Combined with the immersive atmosphere and you have a game that will suck you in for a very long time. 

The game-play is a combination of role-playing elements, mixed with shooting which is also mixed with exploration. The setting of the game is an area called "The Zone", which is based off of the real life Zone of Alienation that's located in the Ukraine. The Zone is a radioactive mess, with garbage debris being extremely harmful to the player characters health. The setting is an alternative future, where a second nuclear blast occurs in Pripyat after the first one. This blast eventually leads to the creation of mutants and anomalies, which are glowing circles that spawns rare and prized artifacts. These artifacts later attract the attention of Stalkers, who all have escaped to The Zone to start a new life for themselves. As you explore the game-world, you can really feel a connection towards the other NPC's. It's easier to relate with them and their struggles because your struggles are almost similar to what they have to endure. There's a real sense of brotherhood bonding in this game, and the game's habit of having Stalker fire camps illustrates this point. The prequel, Clear Sky had a few great ideas but was disappointing because of the amount of glitches and bugs that hampered the experience of being a Stalker. The sequel, Call of Pripyat starts off slow but gradually builds up the pacing with the immersive atmosphere and environment until half-way through the game. It's also the most stable S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game to date because of the low amount of glitches and bugs within it.

Overall though, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series are some of the best games that are currently out there and I definitely recommend Shadow of Chernobyl to anyone.

7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Yeah, everyone probably knows what Ocarina of Time is. I used to play this as a little kid almost every day until I got rid of N64. Nostalgia caused me to recently download this game on the Wii's Virtual Console and I can safely say that Ocarina of Time has really held up today in terms of technical performance, audio and visuals. The dungeons can get a bit repetitive, but it's all in good fun because there's also a varying amount of objectives to achieve. From heart collecting to bottle collecting. Or to collect every golden skeleton out there in the land of Hyrule. Speaking of Hyrule, it's not like Oblivion where every terrain is re-used. The map of Hyrule is incredibly diverse, with forests to the south, the sea out to the east and the desert to the west. The environments are so varied, that no matter how tired you are from walking to point A to point B, you'll always want to continue just to see the varied landscapes of Hyrule. 

6. Kingdom Hearts 

I love this game. When I was a little kid, I grew up playing Kingdom Hearts. Sora really is a great and likeable character. And the combination of Square Enix characters with Disney proved to be a successful experimentation. So much so, that a handful of spin-offs were created that expands upon the Kingdom Heart universe. The plot is a classic "Heroes Journey" in which you play as Sora, a 14 year old kid living on an island with a number of other kids. His dream is to get off the island and to see what the other worlds are like. He wants to go exploring and adventuring alongside his friends Riku and Kairi. Suddenly, the island is attacked and his friend Kairi is kidnapped and Riku turns against him. Sora ends up in another world, where he teams up with Donald and Goofy in stopping a dark enemy called the Heartless who are simply goons of a much larger organization controlled by classic Disney villains.

The game-play is solid enough. It's a simple hack and slash game, where you have magic alongside your key-blade and you hack at anything that moves. The game gets really difficult in the later stages and it can take at least 20 tries before being able to beat the final boss fight. The ordinary fights themselves are repetitive somewhat. Monsters will suddenly spawn out of no where and you'll have to hack everyone of them (similar to Final Fantasy X). Afterwards, take couple of other steps and BAM! More random spawning monsters. It can get really tiring to a certain point, especially when you're trying to find your through a dungeon or a world. Thankfully though, exploring is fun. And it actually does feel rewarding when you stumble upon a treasure chest. 

Finally Kingdom Hearts, to this date, is the only game that has made me cry. No other games have done such a thing. 

5. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

I never played the original Metal Gear Solid. I've played every Metal Gear Solid game out there, with the exception of MGS4 and the original. However, Son of Liberty is the one that truly shines from the rest with its sophisticated storyline and complex themes. Not to mention that it has Raiden, who I actually like. The atmosphere is also amazing, and fits in well with the story; with dark, cloud rain pouring on a boat while you're trying to infiltrate it, or brightly colored skies over a complex research facility. 

The storyline is very complex for a video game. It is very complex, that at the time of its release, many publications called it "the first post-modernism game". You play as Solid Snake for the first half, and then play as Raiden in the second. There are twists and turns to the major plot in each characters respective play-point. The game-play is solid enough, with an emphasis on stealth, although shootouts sometimes happen. The boss fights are epic and amazingly well done, and the soundtrack just sounds great.

Metal Gear Solid 2 is one of those games where I can just came back to replay without ever getting bored. 

4. Deus Ex: Invisible War

Okay, this one will be a bit controversial. The original Deus Ex is a perfect gem. A model example of how games should be made. This is why the sequel got panned by the fan-base, because it never lived to the fan-base's expectations. Instead, the sequel got panned because of its dumb-down game-play mechanics, with the skill system removed. The removal of certain augmentations and the jaggy animations the character seem to have. Also it was shorter than expected, with only five locations to go to. 

But I don't despise Invisible War. I love this game. In fact, before ever playing the original, I played the sequel. In comparison to the original game, yes Invisible War is very flawed and highly streamlined. But on its own merits, it stands out to be an amazing blend of stealth, action, shooting, social and much more. The atmosphere is immersive enough to get someone like me to play until the first half is finished. The plot is as philosophical as it gets in a Deus Ex game, with every character and faction having their own unique ideology and beliefs. It's up to the players to decide which faction has the most agreeable ideals. 

The setting is also a great thing about Invisible War. People are living in a post-collapse world where Governments are at their weakest low point. The economy is not stable and many people are forced out onto the streets. There is a distinction between two classes, the poor who dwell underground and the rich who grew up in wealthy families and in higher class environment. It's almost like Metropolis. The original Deus Ex also had this recurring theme as well.

Overall, I like Deus Ex Invisible War. It stands on its own merits and can be an amazing game once you get into it. It's not as great as the first, but on its own, it's simply a superb game.

3. Dark Chronicle

Dark Chronicle (or Dark Cloud 2) is a stand-alone sequel to the original Dark Cloud. The game takes the original and improves upon it with better graphics, better game-play and less repetitive dungeons. The unique thing about Dark Cloud 2 is the setting. It's a mixture of steam-punk, with fantasy and a bit of a futuristic fantasy. The main protagonist is Max, a child engineer who is wanted by several parties because of a rare gem that he wears. As such, he must leave the city that he was born in and head out into the world, where he will find answers to questions. 

I'm not that far into Dark Cloud 2. The presentation of the game was fantastic and the unique art-style helps separate it from other known RPG's such as Final Fantasy. It's just that the game is extremely long and if your a completionist (like me) than it'll take you well over 30 hours to beat this game. But that's not a fault, I actually consider it to be a praise. And Max may well be the second best protagonist I've ever seen in a game, next to Sora obviously.

The game-play is solid enough. There are actually two modes of game-play. One involves exploration, in which you explore city hubs for clues to advance the plot. The other mode is dungeon mode, where your equipped with a gun, a sword and some powder. Weapons are breakable in this game and if you don't adjust your weapons properly with the right repair powder, than you're a goner. And the game reverts you back "all" the way to the start menu screen if you fail or get game-over. Thankfully you can save your game progress at anytime you want.

2. Deus Ex

Deus Ex is basically the perfect example of how a game should be made. You have so many options and choices to choose from in the context of the game-play. For example, if you want to get by a locked door by firing a rocket at it, than you are welcome to do so. If you want to lock-pick it, than you are welcome to do so. If you want to stealth around each level, hunting your preys silently, than you are welcomed to do so. Deus Ex is basically the pinnacle of gaming perfection. The storyline is amazingly well written, the characters are well rounded and feel like they actually contribute something worthwhile to the plot, and the game-play is innovative, intuitive and unique.

You play as J.C Denton. A police agent working with an organization called UNACTO. Your job is receive some shipments of vaccines for the American government to recover. This vaccine helps cure a plague that's affecting the lower class of New York City, and the Government wants to ensure that the few quantities of this vaccine is given only to high ranking Government officials. What's interesting about the plot is that right away you can relate with the enemy guards. They are not necessarily doing an evil act by stealing the vaccine because they simply want to return it back to the people who needs it the most. 

Later on, in probably one of the best twists ever, it turns out that the Government actually made the plague on purpose. When J.C finds out about this, the organization UNACTO locks him up. From this moment on, J.C Denton simply keeps on getting deeper and deeper in a rabbit hole. It's a conspiracy simulator, and a damn good one with suburb and complex writing from start to finish. It's very sophisticated and I highly recommend it. It's only a couple of dollars on Steam.

1. Dark Cloud

You were not expecting this, were you? 

Dark Cloud is a perfect gem. The game-play and the in-game world are original and varying. Just like Dark Cloud 2, the original has two basic game-play mode. One is a dungeon crawler, which is very fun and never seems to get boring. It involves slashing away at monsters in dungeons and collecting keys to unlock locked doors. The other mode, however, is a lot more unique and involves restoring broken villages back to their original self. This mode is called the Gamma mode and it's a whole lot of fun. The mechanics of this mode are Sim City inspired. You collect the parts required to build villages in dungeons and piece them together the Gamma mode.

There are also extra additions to Dark Cloud as well. These are the setting, characters and the plot. The setting, like I said before, is  unique and is a mixture of futuristic, steam-punk fantasy. The characters are all well rounded and all have some on-going struggle individually, in which Toan (the protagonist) helps out. Finally, the plot is amazingly well done and while it may not have been original, it was still fun. The quirky writing, and characters are simply one of the best NPC's you'll ever encounter in any game. Remember that Dark Cloud is an acquired taste. You may not like it, but I sure as hell did, and had a lot of great fun with it. 

So that's it. These are my top ten best games of all time. All of them gets a KirbyPink score of 10/10.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hitman: Contracts

Another time, another review. I know it's been a while, and I apologize but I've been busy taking care of a few things. Hopefully now, things will get back on schedule again. Anyhow, without further ado, here is another KirbyPink review. Hitman Contracts, the sequel to 2002's Hitman Silent Assassin (which is one of my favorite games of all time). I still consider the Hitman series to be a unique because of the emphasis on blending in with the surrounding environments by wearing disguises. It's not like Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, where you sneak around extracting information from enemy NPCS. In Hitman, you do things differently. You can either steal a uniform, allowing you to freely move about in the game's environment without having the need to knocking out enemy NPCs, or to go in with guns blazing around (the game encourages players to take the former path). Hitman: Contracts is simply an updated trend of that. 

The game takes place a number of years after Silent Assassin. It's more of an indirect sequel, with next to little connection to the former installment. 47, the protagonist of the Hitman series, is badly wounded inside of a hotel. As he struggles to get up from his badly injured state, he experiences flashbacks of his past missions. Most of these missions are basically remakes of the original game, Hitman Codename 47. Others are original, with missions like the "Meat-Kings party" and "Hunter or Hunted". 

It can be said that Contracts is simply a remake of an older game. 

The storyline, at its basic level, is weak. It consists of nothing but 47 waking up and falling back, waking up and falling back. There are no memorable characters this time around, there is no plot-twist and there's next to little amount of NPC interaction. Even the NPC's themselves feel dull and emotion-less, with them simply staring at one-another with no form of interaction or conversation. This was a problem back in Silent Assassin, but that was mostly because of the different languages the NPC's were speaking in. In Contracts, there was one original level that took place in England. And even this level barely contained any NPC interaction besides two guards speaking to one-another. 

The atmosphere is sufficiently more darker this time around. The original color-filled levels of Silent Assassin has been replaced with rain and night. There are even "dark" filters in levels such as the Meat-Kings party and Rendezvous in Rotterdam. Even the music has been replaced. The original orchestral soundtrack of Silent Assassin has been replaced with dark, ambient, electronic instruments. The game does it's hardest to make players immersed in its dark and gritty atmosphere, but it's laughable at how it does it. The animation movements of NPC's are so hilariously animated, that 47's flashbacks are hard to take seriously. Combine that with no level of interaction, and the flashbacks are incredibly hard to take serious. 

It doesn't work, sorry. 

The game-play is solid enough, if you're into stealth based games. The problem is that when you're trying to sneak around, chances are you'll be caught and cover will be blown. This is because the game encourages players to don NPC disguises and use them to move around in restricted areas. While it may seem like fun and it does work, it just doesn't seem fun. The tension is gone. NPC's will never get suspicious of you running around in your disguise. In Hitman: Silent Assassin, you had to walk. If you ever ran or got close to an enemy guard while in a disguise, you were done for. You always had to be extra-careful when in disguise. In Hitman: Contracts, it's a simple "get a disguise", go into restricted area and complete objective. 

The horrible level design didn't make any more fun either. Everything is so bland looking, that the wonderful color palette of  Silent Assassin is washed away by dark filters and rain. It's hard to appreciate artistic level design when they are being hidden by an enormous amount of rain and dark filters. We get that the game is dark, gory and whatnot, but couldn't the designers make at least one level where some shades of color were present? The original Silent Assassin had levels that looked artistic and colorful, and had loads of variety too. One mission may have had 47 having to trespass through an underground Russian tunnel, while another mission may involved him infiltrating a party. In Contracts, it's always the same with little to no variety. It will always been grey filtered looking areas. Hell, even the textures are reused a lot. 

On top of all that, the length of the game is short. Very short actually. The original Silent Assassin had over 20 missions to play, all with unique design and variety. Hitman Contracts has only 12 missions, with each of them being almost similar looking to one-another. It took me only 1 day to beat Hitman Contracts, that's how short it is. And believe me, I actually managed to get Silent Assassin rating on every mission in Contracts. 

Despite all its horrendous flaws, Contract is still a fun, decent stealth game. It's not long, and it's not great. It's not even good actually. Thankfully all the problems in Contracts were later fixed and corrected in Hitman: Blood Money, which went back to the standards set by Silent Assassin. Overall, Contracts feels like a regress in the series. It's basically the weakest installment, the one to avoid. Hitman: Silent Assassin is better, and Hitman: Blood Money is better. Contracts is simply the emo-child at the dinner table whom no-one likes. The final rating of Contracts is...


Monday, August 6, 2012

Are Your Politicians For Sale? from Political Prostitution on Vimeo.

An interesting video I found. I also found out that Demonoid, a popular torrent site, was taken down recently by the Ukrainian Government. If SOPA or other bills similar to it passes, than the above video may very well happen to you too. This can also affect my review process as well because "copyright infringement" (a highly debated term) can apply to sharing small clips of people playing video games on social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm against SOPA and other bills like it. American politicians are idiots, and it amazes me how The Senate are a council of ridiculous buffoons who probably got their political science degrees from The University of Buffoons, a highly comprehensive university designed to teach students how to lie, manipulate, steal, propagate and abuse while the Buffoons themselves try their hardest to victimize themselves when they are the instigators and the abusers.

Kirbypink is against SOPA (and bills similar to it).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Forza Motorsport 2 Review!

This won't be a "mainstream" game review like I hoped it would, but instead a retrospective viewpoint on one of my favorite racing games of all time: Forza Motorsport 2. 

As you may have guessed, Forza Motorsport 2 is obviously a racing game. What you may not know, however, is that it is a racing simulation. This means that crashing into cars and other obstacles will not grant you "bonus's" like in Need for Speed or Burnout. No, this game is about the realistic simulation of driving a car in a race track. If you crash your car, you will get penalty points. Just like how Microsoft Flight is a realistic flight simulation, Forza Motorsport 2 is a realistic racing simulation. The irony being is that they are both published by Microsoft (damn you guys for the red light issue!). 

The game-play is obvious enough. You pick a car, you pick a contest, you pick a track and you pick a difficulty setting. Once you finish a race, you obtain "credits" which are used to buy upgrades for existing vehicles in your garage and new vehicles. You can only unlock new vehicles by finishing racing tournaments.  Almost of all them have similar or identical tracks which makes the experience and fun in picking out a track and tournament ruined because it you already know how the track will appear like. Almost all terrain is the same and the textures don't differ much. This makes Forza Motorsport 2 a repetitive racing simulation because of the recycled tracks and recycled textures for each new track. 

That track will no doubt be re-used many other times throughout.

The upgrade system is a lot of fun, and is one of the main highlights of the game for me. You have over 100 customizable upgrades for each individual vehicle and it's amazing how each upgrade can sufficiently improve the handling and speed of your vehicle. Once I won my first car from my first tournament, I went into my garage and customized the crap out of it until it had enough decent handling that I can turn corners without having to crash every consistent moment. In short, the upgrade system in Forza Motorsport 2 is addicting. I can win a race and credit, and simply use those credits to choose from the hundreds of upgrades that I want. It reminds me of Hitman: Blood Money in which you can upgrade each individual weapon without ever getting tired. 

Vehicles are also another great thing about Forza Motorsport 2. There are many manufacturers and companies to buy vehicles with that it's not even funny. If you thought that wasn't enough, than you are wrong. Because on top of manufacturers, you have nations and country's that all have exclusive vehicles. In order to unlock these, however, you have to win their tournament and only then will you be able to buy your own vehicle. One thing that does irritate me though is that you always need some sort of specific vehicle in your garage in order to enter a tournament. For example, if you want to participate in a Korean based tournament, than you'll have to buy a car from Korea. It's a balanced system to help newcomers (such as me) avoid making bad decisions and getting my butt kicked in a moment notice, but it still feels irritating because you have to spend credits to buy a vehicle from a specific nation.

You'll have fun with the vehicle selection, that's for sure.

Forza Motorsport 2 is, of course, an Xbox 360 exclusive. It's Microsoft's equivalent to Sony's Grand Turismo's franchise. I've played Grand Turismo A-Spec for the PlayStation 2 and I found that game to be amazing. While Forza Motorsport 2 does not equal to A-Spec, it still has unique features of its own. And it really does feel like an immersive racing simulation once you really do get into it. Overall, Forza Motorsport 2 gets a 8/10 from me. It's a great game, with great production values and is one of the better racing games out there for the 360. The tracks are repetitive, but that problem is featured in almost all racing simulations. The price for Forza Motorsport 2 has dropped down considerably so I would recommend to buy it before the new Forza game comes out.

KirbyPink is now signing off.

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Banner

I've been experimenting with a banner for this blog and I came up with this:

 It's pretty basic, still in experimental stages right now, but I'm satisfied with what I'm seeing. After the banner, I'll have to make a background too. Hopefully soon, but everything takes time and my blog is no exception to that rule. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy this and stay tuned for another game review very soon!

No More!

After seeing my Xbox 360 with the red ring of death for the second time in my life, I've decided that I'm done with Microsoft's Xbox brand of consoles. I've found a store that will repair my Xbox 360 for 60 dollars, which is better than the two deals Microsoft offered me. One involved a order request through the Internet, which costs $123. The other deal is expensive and involves an order request through the phone, which is $150! I'm sorry Microsoft, but these deals just won't cut it for me. Even if my console is out of warranty (which it is).

When my Xbox 360 is repaired (for the second time), I will keep it and play it as I usually do. However, for as long as I live for, I will not buy an Xbox 720 or any other future generation of Microsoft consoles. The reason being is because of the rumors of the 720 being more DRM controlled. Specifically speaking, the 720 will not allow consumers to play used games without charging a price. E.A and other gaming publishers are already doing this by charging gamers a fee for an online pass if they buy one of their games used. Mass Effect 3 is a perfect example of such a game. 

Too bad you can't experience Mass Effect 3 Co-Op without paying a price. 

Ultimately, my main point stands. Microsoft cannot make a video-game console without there-being some sort of console breaking problem such as the Red Ring of Death. Plus, if they do decide to implement E.A's DRM system to rid the used-game market than I will boycott Microsoft's Xbox brand of consoles forever starting with the 720. But who cares, right? Because I've already started my boycott of Xbox. 

I love video games, I really do. I've been playing them since I was three years old. But when practices such as E.A charging gamers a fee for buying a game used start happening, then that's when I feel the joy and fun of video-games are starting to be pushed aside for corporate money laundering. I'm not one-hundred percent sure if the practice will apply to the Xbox 720, but I already won't be buying anymore Xbox consoles so it won't matter for me. Instead I'll save my money, and invest in a gaming rigged PC (and a PlayStation 4, when it comes out).