All posts for the month September, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4

Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
ESRB Rating: M (17+)
Genre: Action Adventure > Modern
Platform: Playstation 3 (Exclusive)

Well-versed gamers will be no stranger to the world of Solid Snake. Metal Gear Solid has established itself as one of the mighty in the realm of stealth gaming. As one of the most anticipated releases for the PS3, Metal Gear Solid 4 hits its target.

Bluntly, MGS4 is a pretty game. Easily one of the best looking games on the PS3. However, while the style of the game fits perfectly into the series, the graphics are not as great as one would expect. While being a definite upgrade in graphics, the jump from MGS3 just does not seem to have the same visual impact that MGS2 and MGS3 had. Enough bashing of my perceived visual shortcomings of the game, it is a great looking game. The textures are clean, lighting falls properly (although light does not play quite a large of a role as in the Splinter Cell series) and the various locations around the world that are visited in the game are rendered beautifully. The game is set in the near future, so most of the settings will be recognizable as most know them currently. And Shadow Moses rendered on the PS3 is quite nostalgic.

The sound in MGS4 is outstanding. On a surround system, it should be discernable as to where things are coming from and even in stereo, the game is great. The score by Harry Gregson-Williams is quality all-around. The music of MGS has always been great and this one does not disappoint. The cow noises are a bit disconcerting though. You may wonder where they are coming from, trust me, it’s not a cow.

The gameplay of MGS4 is outstanding. It is basically the same system from the last two games, only refined to be friendlier. The camera in previous MGS games was top down with ability for a first-person view. This limited the range of sight in the games unless you hopped into first-person. The views needed to be combined for a proper view of the surrounding area. In MGS4, the camera is a hybrid of Splinter Cell-like (360 degrees) control and a target reticule in third-person that allows for running and gunning in a semi-controlled manner. You can hit stuff, but first-person is always more accurate. The performance of the game overall is great for the amount of detail on screen. There are times where a visible change from smooth frame rates to slightly more choppy ones can be noticed. The game does not suffer because of this though. The only real issue that most people will have is with the game’s cinematics. If you have played any previous MGS, you know what you are in for. The cinematic quality of the game is in its mixing of gameplay and cinematics. This is just as much of a movie as it is a game. The cinematics are good yes, but most of the time they are excessively long. The only saving grace is that most of the long cinematics have a save near the half way point, but it is still advisable not to play this game if you are in a rush. In a break from tradition, MGS4 allows for much more access to your average gamer. The previous MGS games were sneak heavy and limited the amount of ammunition that was available. This made for a game that pushed sneaking by trouble more than gunning it down. In MGS4, Drebin is the limit. If you are so inclined to sneak, you can. If, however, you want to lay down all your previous pent up frustrations with sneak games and go through ammo like water, you can do that too! The game allows for all comers to gun as they like. Finally, the camo system is back. Snake now sports a suit of camo that adapts to the setting around him for greater stealth. This as well can be played as hardcore as one wants as well. There is an auto setting that will allow the suit to adjust colors automatically or if one wishes, it can be done manually. Overall, MGS4 is a blending and advancement of the systems from other MGS games.

Controls in MGS4 are fluid. There may be a lot to grasp at first if you have not played a MGS game in a while or never at all. Old MGS fans should not have a problem getting back into the game’s controls though. They are mostly the same. For newcomers, the controls are intuitive, but could be overwhelming at first. A few trips around the interface and most gamers will be ready to rock. The main issue with control will probably be in the sneaking area. Wall crawling might be slightly awkward at first. Hitting the wrong button at the wrong time and other mix ups could be problematic at first. Popping out from a wall instead of pulling a weapon can end nastily. More than likely, a certain play style will develop for the player. One player might like to crawl along the wall and pop out on enemies and another player may like to stay off the walls, but stay near them for cover and not physically interact with them.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is a Metal Gear Solid game in style, substance and gameplay. It is the evolution of many MGS games into something that should be fun to play, intriguing, and beautiful to look at. The game’s story may only suffer from it being back story heavy. Players not well versed in the MGS world might have a bit of confusion at times. Mostly things are explained, but some things might require a bit of outside research. Nevertheless, it is still a fun game for the uninitiated. This is a worthy entry into the genre of sneak games. Its near future setting and themes discussed in the game make for a politically relevant story while still allowing for some science-fiction license. There are other sneak games like MGS in gameplay, but the story makes MGS4 stand out.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is a must-have for any MGS fan. The game is accessible enough that it might draw in new players that may be intrigued enough to go back and play its predecessors. Still plagued by ridiculously long cinematics, the game does feel like it offers a bit more gameplay than cinematics compared to earlier MGS games. And the game is just beautiful. Metal Gear Solid 4 is a worthy addition to the MGS family at a 9.5 rating.

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII

Developed and Published by: Square Enix

Genre: Fantasy Action Adventure, Third Person Shooter

Platform: Playstation 2

Cost: $19.99 (now)

Released: August 15, 2006

A part of the “Compilation of Final Fantasy VII” being released by Square Enix, Dirge of Cerberus was released about five months after the movie sequel to the game Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Dirge of Cerberus follows Vincent Valentine, a mysterious character that you encountered in Final Fantasy VII and appeared again in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Dirge of Cerberus reveals much about Vincent’s past as he tries to stop a group of people known as Deepground, who are trying to bring about the end of the world.

Unlike other Final Fantasy games, which are RPGs, Dirge of Cerberus is a third person shooter. The gameplay graphics are not that fantastic, but the cutscene graphics are amazing, reminding one of graphics in the CG film Advent Children. The colors throughout the game seem pretty washed out, but the washed out colors really seem to represent the state of the world after the movie Advent Children. The graphics are realistic, especially when it comes to the world you are playing in. The in-game sounds are helpful with finding your enemies, although 3D sounds would be much better. The soundtrack is reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII, which is just nice and nostalgic for those who have played VII. Gameplay is actually pretty irritating. The camera angles are very poor and most of the time it has to be adjusted by the player. Along with the camera angles, aiming your gun is a pretty big pain, mostly because they are the same controls. Even with a training mode available, the gameplay is not very player friendly.

Of course, I have to compare this game to all other games from the Final Fantasy series. It is an incredibly different type of game compared to the other Final Fantasy games, which were just fantastic RPGs. Dirge of Cerberus has a great plot much like the other Final Fantasy games. The gameplay is nothing like Final Fantasy fans are used to, but it cements the fact that Final Fantasy games all have fantastic stories and interesting, original characters.

Overall, while it tells a great story and sheds light on a character that was once very mysterious and everyone was curious about, Dirge of Cerberus was a bit of a pain to play. It was frustrating to try to aim and keep your camera straight. The beauty of the cutscenes and the story make the painful gameplay almost worth it. I would give this game a six and a half or so out of ten and recommend it to diehard Final Fantasy fans just to help complete the story. If you’re not into Final Fantasy, I would stay away because the frustrating gameplay is just not worth it.Gameplay Screenshot

One word can describe this game, BRILLIANT! My first love is Rainbow Six Vegas 2, the C4, the guns, the shooting, and don’t forget the blood; all make for a great game. But what Rainbow Six is lacking Mercenaries 2 make up for two fold. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is a sandbox game, you can do anything.  You actually get money for blowing up billboards, 5k for each one that is destroyed. The graphic s are very smooth and very real, you can see wrinkles, scars, individual hairs. Everything is so detailed. The only thing I don’t like which is very minimal is the fact that you can only play single player or a co-op on XBOX Live only.

You start out at the main menu with hundred dollar bills fanned out. If you roll through them you can see the three main characters which you can choose one to play throughout the game.  Chris Jacob, bald, dark, large man, the only mercenary that has a moral compass and actually uses it! Mattias Nilsson; blond Mohawk, Swedish man, the craziest of them all, he just wanted to blow stuff up. The last one is Jennifer Mui; Asian/American, tall, skinny, dark hair, all she cares about is the money, though all love that feature.  After choosing a character it then takes you to the first mission which is a tutorial to help you use you PDA and also how to use weapons, air strikes, change weapons, package drops, and other things you will use for the rest of the game.  Your first mission is to rescue General Carmona for a man named Ramon. After rescuing General Carmona you take him back to Ramon and Ramon betrays you and shots you in the ass. You then go back to Ramon’s mansion and “clear” it out. Basically kill everyone and take over the house for your headquarters. You next have to make friends with companies in order to get supplies and get paying jobs. Throughout this period you need to find and hire three key people, Ewan Devlin (helicopter pilot), Eva (mechanic), and Misha Milanich (jet pilot).  You will already have your INTEL person, Fiona Taylor, she will help you a lot throughout the game. After assembling your team you are ready to start missions. I will not give anything else you will just have to play the game, and have great fun. I did!

Civilization Revolution Banner

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution


Firaxis Games


2K Games


Turn-Based Strategy


Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS

ESRB Rating




Release Date

July 8, 2008

Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution is the fifth installment of the Civilization series, and the first of the series to release exclusively for the consoles. Along with being the first of the Civilization games to release on consoles, this is also the first Civilization game since Civilization I to be programmed by Sid Meier. This installment of the series keeps the addictive gameplay that Civilization is revered for alive, as well as the deep involvement in creating your own civilization.


Civilization looks great on the 360 and PS3, partially due to the new cartoony look. The world reminds me of Super Mario Galaxy; you can see the curved horizon, and when you roam around the world with the cursor it moves a bit. The human characters have quite a bulky look, but it works due to the cartoonish world. There are plenty of vibrant colors, and all of the building models and environments look great. Everything is very easy to recognize, and there seems to be detail put into every model.

I like the stylistic choice for this game; it makes it very approachable and friendly. It also adds a bit of humor into everything, and exaggerates everything in the world. It really fits in with the style of the game, and allows for the play to feel more laid back. I also feel that when games aren’t going for realism, they can focus more on other aspects of the game. The focus here isn’t on making the game look great, it’s making the game play great. Granted, they have achieved both goals here.

Here’s the Xbox 360 version, showing off the vibrant colors, curved horizon line, distinctive building models, and cartoony characters.


Civilization has great ambient noise. During battles, the sounds fit in and make sense. Tanks sound like tanks, rifles sound like rifles, and airplanes sound like airplanes. None of the sounds are out of place, and everything sounds very crisp and clean. My only complaint as far as sound goes is when the advisors or any other NPCs speak to you. Every time they pop onto the screen (which is quite often), they speak in gibberish, and usually don’t stop until you’re done reading what they say. This isn’t a horrible problem, though, because the NPCs can be muted. Other than the advisors, the sound here is great. There are fun little tunes that play when speaking to other World Leaders, as well as when important events happen such as a declaration of war, or when a World Wonder is build. So the sound here is nice, and adds to the gameplay.

Muting Braveheart
Talking privledges: DENIED. Sorry, Braveheart.


The gameplay is smooth most of the time in Civilization. However, when a character is coming to the front of the screen to talk, there can be a bit of slowdown. The camera always runs smoothly in game, but sometimes during battles the camera will do some odd things, like get too close, but battles only last about 30 seconds anyways, so it’s not a big problem. Before it’s your turn to make a move, the camera always moves you to where something is going on, whether it’s the completion of a building being built, a battle, or troops moving. That’s nice, so you always know what’s going on, but it can be a slight annoyance when you know something you need to do; in order to make a move yourself the camera has to make all of its moves first, and then you can choose to make moves. This isn’t a problem in the beginning of the game, but it can be annoying once you have more cities or are in a war, because the camera also moves and shows you when foreign troops near your territory are moving. All in all, the gameplay is great. There are some annoyances, but the game is so addicting it almost doesn’t matter anyways.


The controls are fantastic in Civilization, from the menus to the button layout on the controller. The navigation is very simple, and makes it easy for first time Civilization players to understand. Pressing the right bumper brings up the Diplomacy panel, which is easy to navigate and looks nice. Another neat addition is the Civilopedia, which can be accessed at any time by pressing the Y button. This includes information on all of the World Leaders, World Wonders, Great People, and just about anything else included in the game. This Civilopedia is also very easy to navigate, using an x/y axis with categories on the x-axis and subjects within the category on the y-axis. Basically every menu is very clean and easy to control, which encourages the exploration of what they have to offer.

This simple button layout also makes micromanaging troops and cities a breeze. Each button controls a task for the troops, and navigating is simply done with the left analog stick. For new players who may forget what the buttons do, there is always a menu on the bottom of the screen that shows what the buttons do and the troop’s stats. The city screen is also very self-explanatory, and if you’re confused the advisors are always there to spout gibberish and tips at you. Basically, this game is very user friendly for new players to the Civilization series, but familiar enough to please returning players. The controls are really one of the shining stars of this game.

Thebes producting an ArcherMicromanaging at its best; you build that Archer, Thebes!

How it Stacks Up

Civilization Revolution does a great job of breathing new life into the series. I’ve always known Civilization to be rather difficult, and this game lives up to that reputation. On the lower difficulties, winning a game can be a walk in the park, but when playing on the harder difficulties, you really have to use a lot of strategy. My one complaint is that the AI can be very aggressive. No matter what it seems you will always end up in a war with another country. The AI just does not stop demanding money, technology, and cities, or whatever else they want. If you try to say no, or offer them anything less, it’s war time. So other than the overly aggressive and greedy AI, this game is fantastic.

As far as console games go, I would say that this is one of the finest Strategy games available, and should be added to anyone’s library if they’re looking for a challenge that will keep them coming back for more. Each playthrough takes about four hours, and I warn you, you won’t want to stop until that playthrough is over.

Genghis Kahn's Great DealONLY 720 gold out of my 790 gold? Don’t trust him, Genghis is just going to declare war again after those four turns anyway, unless he asks for my remaining 70 gold for four more turns of peace.

Last Words

This game looks great, sounds good, runs solidly, controls gracefully, and leaves you begging for more. Be warned, you’ll be beat up and betrayed, and as a result you’re going to be thinking about the perfect strategy in your sleep.

Here are my overall ratings for Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution:











Re-Play Value




Napoleon commands you!

Napoleon has said it all. Be sure you join the Revolution!


Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Clover Studios
Genre: Adventure
Platform: PS2 (September 19, 2006)
Wii (April 15, 2008)
SRP: $39.99

From the first time I laid eyes on Okami, I expected great things. And Okami more than delivered, it was jaw-dropping. Okami has to be one of the most awe-inspiring games I have ever laid my hands on. When I started playing I was hooked till the end. I just love this game, the characters, the art style, the gameplay, everything about this game is so unique and so distinctive that it’s sort of sickening.


In Okami, you play as the newly revived sun-goddess Amaterasu. Amaterasu was killed 100 years before the current day in a battle between the eight-headed serpent, Orochi. At the beginning of the game, Amaterasu’s mission is to restore the world of Nippon to its former beauty, but it is soon realized that the dreaded Orochi has reawakened and Amaterasu’s new mission is to stop the serpent once again. I know it sounds cliché, but Capcom pulls it off with flying colors.

But what is really great about the story may not be the story itself, but the characters. The characters in Okami have a life on their own. The characters dialogue is witty and sarcastic. Especially the games two main characters, Amaterasu and Issun. Issun is a bug sized artist that serves as the games guide and comedic side-kick. Amaterasu is a goddess, but she’s also in the form of a wolf so she can’t speak, but that doesn’t mean she can’t come across. She’ll literally fall asleep if something bores her. Funny thing for a goddess to do.


The design of Okami is based around the use of the celestial brush, a godly instrument that allows you to literally paint object into the world or directly affect its state. There are 13 brushstrokes in all and the powers they grant you are truly amazing. You can revive a dead tree by drawing a circle around it or slice and dice enemies with a single drawn line. I particularly liked the fact that if you didn’t like something that a villager told you, then you could set them on fire (I’m not sadistic). And don’t worry, it doesn’t kill them.

At the beginning of the game the use of the brush is fairly limited. You can do things like changing night into day by drawing a circle in the sky. But as you get more and more into the game, the celestial brush gets fairly complex. As you collect more brushstrokes you can do have more freedom. You create bombs out of thin air by drawing a circle with a fuse attached to it or create gusts of wind to blow out fires. Some enemies even have to be beaten using certain brushstrokes. An interesting part of the game is learning how to use these brushstrokes together to solve puzzles or beat enemies. For example, you can create a bomb and a simple gust a wind will send it barreling towards the baddies, truly innovative if you ask me.

Enemies are usually encountered by running into demon scrolls that are scattered throughout Nippon. You have to actually touch one to initiate a battle so theoretically you could go through the entire game without encountering a battle via a demon scroll. But if happen to stumble into one of these scrolls you shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever, the enemies you fight are generally pushovers and most won’t give you any problem.

The bosses, however, are an entirely different story. Most of them tower over Amaterasu as if she were a bug. Big or small the games main bosses are a challenge and require a little puzzle solving in order to defeat them. The only problem is that the bosses are in limited amount so you’ll encounter very few of them. But the ones they have are a spectacular addition to the game.

In addition to the main quest of the game there are literally a TON of side quests that you can embark on. From helping the townsfolk with simple tasks, digging up turnips, feeding animals, or exorcising demons. Some of these tasks get you money, but what you’re really after is the praise. Since you’re a goddess, praise helps you power up by getting more health or more inkpots for your brush. With the side missions included, the game is over 30 hours so you’re sure to get your moneys worth.


When I first set eyes on Okami, I was simply amazed. The graphics in this game are a visual feast. Visually, no other game on the market today can compete with Okami. Everything seems to be alive. Even when Amaterasu is running across a field, trails of flowers and grass follow behind her, truly a sight to behold. During the game, there were several times when I just stood there, taking in the great graphics in this game. The animation is superb too. Amaterasu looks just like a wolf should and would look if it were running, not some crappy imitation. The game is smooth and easy to control, the one and only time I witnessed any lag was when I would create too many bombs with the celestial brush, but even then, it wasn’t drastic and it passed quickly.


Think of what you would think a Japanese game would sound like only better. The game has a remarkable soundtrack. The sound blends extremely well with the world of Nippon. When someone talks and series of grunts and mumbles are what come out instead of words. I know that many people don’t like that, either voiceover or nothing, but it adds to the games charm. And this game has charm oozing out it’s ears (if it had ears that is).


Presentation: 90 (easy to learn game with informative help screens, lots of extra stuff to go around, decent story, and witty dialogue)
Graphics: 100 (one word…freaking amazing)
Sound: 95 (soundtrack=good)
Gameplay: 90 (great boss battles and plenty of side missions/puzzles, but most battles are just too easy)
Overall: 94 (Great Game!!)

If you haven’t had the privilege of playing Okami, PLAY IT!! It really is a game worth your money. I had a blast from start to finish. It’s a refreshing game that’s charming, witty, and engaging that any self-respecting PS2 or Wii owner need to pick up just because there isn’t anything else like it. Sure it does seem like Capcom might have taken a shot at trying to create a Zelda-like game, and it has so much in common with Twilight Princess that it’s kind of uncanny. But is that really a bad thing? If Okami wants to take its structure from Zelda and make a game even more unique, by adding the celestial brush perhaps? Then I say more power to ‘em. Okami is a game that you shouldn’t pass up, particularly if you like the Zelda games. It’s s stunning refreshing game that deserves your attention, as it greatly deserves it. So go pick it up.

And to all you people wondering…yes, since you’re a wolf, you can give your enemy a golden shower and yes, it is hilarious.

Chris Newell

Gaming Seminar


Game Details:

Name: Age of Mythology: Gold Edition

Developer: Ensemble Studios

Publisher: Microsoft

Genre: RTS, Real Time Strategy

Platform: PC

System Requirements:

Microsoft® Windows® 98/Me/XP/2000

PC with 450 MHz equivalent or higher processor

128 MB of system RAM

1.5 GB available hard disk space

32x speed or faster CD-ROM drive

16 MB video card required

Sound card, speakers or headphones required for audio

Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

56.6 Kbps or better modem for online play

Cost: $19.99 List price

Release Date: June 30, 2004, Original Version October 30, 2002

Now, the real reason your reading this review. The juicy, extra saucy mash potato plated masterpiece of the actual game. When I first picked up this game I didn’t know what to look for in games. This was one of my first pc games. Yea I know I’m a little late to the pc world. I was looking for something to occupy my time. I also was interested in mythology, so once I saw this game it was a given.

When I first opened the box, I noticed there were two disks. I thought this was simple, compared to Baldur’s Gate with 4 or more disks (cant remember). Now I cant remember very many other games back then. Heck all of high school is pretty much a blur. So here we go!

1. Graphics

When I first started the game, you get a cinematic trailer. It captured me as soon as I saw it, I liked it so much, and I immediately quit the game and restarted it to watch it again. Then like the good little boy I was, I immediately launched the campaign. I mean for the time this game was made it has pretty good graphics. The colors in the game are still pretty good, even by today’s standards. They’re extremely bright and detailed, and there are a lot of units on screen at the same time. The units are pretty detailed, and the environments were visually interesting.

2. Sound

I found the sound in this game decent. I mean the sound in Real Time Strategy isn’t the main focus. However this game, along with most Real Time Strategy, doesn’t totally ignore sound. Each unit has it’s own unique sound byte that comes along with moving sounds and battle sounds. The background music is involved with the themes of the game. A little Greek, a pile of Norse, and a pinch of Egyptian combine into the games music. I never wanted to turn the music off, nor did I want to break my eardrums. It was peaceful and Zen like for me.

3. Game play/Control

The game play was the best part of the game for me. I like a game to have a lot of replay value. It’s been 6 years now and I’ve never stopped playing it. The game is a smooth ride, with not a detour in site. I never once experienced any lag spikes or slow processing times. Of course I had the graphics on full blast, but even then it was running very smooth.

The controls in this game were pretty easy to learn and part of the brilliance of the game play is just that fact. The learning curve is pretty good for an R.T.S.. Compared to Empire Earth where it took me considerably longer to learn the controls, in Age of Mythology I was immediately into the game.

3. Conclusion

When I first played this game 6 years ago, I was shocked at how much I liked the game. 6 years later here I am, still playing the game. Even if you hate R.T.S. id recommend that you try this game out. The game would of gotten a 100 from me if I had reviewed it when it first came out. I can proudly recommend getting the gold edition now, because it has held up to the test of time and still is a 100.

Link to the Official trailer:

screen shot

nother screenie

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Review

World in Flames

Published by: Electronic Arts

Developed by: Pandemic Studios

Released Date: August 31, 2008

Genre: Third-Person Shooter

Platform: XBOX 360

The Review

If you like blowing  shit up Mercenaries 2 is the game for you. Most of the game is just blowing crap up. The story is simple, we have herd it before, basically your pissed of because some guy shot u in the ass and you want to get revenge on him by killing him. So you must do jobs for people to earn money so u can buy new weapons and various items that will help u through the game. The game is funny and i found myself laughing at every cut scene. It has single player mode and also a fun two player mode only allowed over xbox live.


Merc 2 graphics are pretty good. There are just a few things that bothered me. For one when you are in a vehicle you can pretty much drive through anything and destroy it. This is cool in some ways but come one you cant drive right through a full grown tree. Another thing is the vehicles dont leave tread marks on the ground. I think this is a nice touch and a pretty lazy decision for not doing it. Last thing is once things/items have been touched they disappear. This is ok in some cases but not with big items when its clearly noticeable. These are just some small minor things that i am picky about. The colors are nice and everything looks pretty realistic, but for the amount of time that it took to make this game i think that it could have looked better.


The sound of the explosions where nice and loud. If you have the surround sound hooked up you can here explosions all around you which make for a nice intense experience. The sound or the AI is the worst of this game. You will here the same five lines thought the whole game.


Almost everthing in the game is destructible, and when blowing theses things up the game keeps a nice steady frame rate witch is surprising for how big the world is. The camera angles are not bad. The only place it can get kind of confusing is when operating any vehicle.

World in Flames Screenshot


The controls are fine. They are like pretty much like any other FPS. Its easy to learn. Teh only time when it gets hard to control is when in a vehicle. You have to use both joysticks at once which can get confusing for some people.

Compare/Contrast with other games

I have never played Mercenaries 1 so i cannot compare to that. The games world reminds me of GTA but not as big and not as polished. Nothing special with the layout its just like any other 3PS. Its not anything that we have not seen before.

World in Flames Screenshot


Overall i like Merc2. It has a lot to it. Of coarse there is just the main story  but there are also side challenges, a ton of unlock able items, and bonus missions with each real mission. Its one of those games that you dont even have to play the main mission to have fun. You can drive around town, hit pedestrians, and blow shit up. You do the main story at your own pace which is nice. Its not on any level with GTA but its worth a try. There are just a few things wrong with the graphics that i thought they could have done a better job on but other then that its a pretty solid game. Witch is why i give it a pretty solid 7.5 out of 10. I would not buy this game but for you crazy people out there who cant get enough of blowing shit up it might be the game for you. When it comes down to it Merc2 is a fun game  and thats what its all about.

-Matt Burns

Name: Warhawk

Developer(s): Incognito/SCE Santa Monica

Publisher(s): SCEA/Incognito

Genre: Third-person Shooter

Platform: Playstation 3

Cost: $29.99 ($39.99/$59.99 if bundled with USB Headset/Bluetooth headset)

Release Date: August 28, 2007

Media Formats: Blu-Ray disc or download from Playstation Store


To be fair, before ever playing anything on a Playstation 3 (PS3), I considered the PS3 the devil. I enjoyed the simplicity of Xbox Live and I could find most of the games available on PS3 were available on the 360 as well.

All that changed last year when I was introduced to Warhawk. The one thing that really made it interesting to me was it was a multiplayer-only game. It allowed people in the same room to play in a match against people from around the world. In my opinion: the perfect package, albeit with some issues here and there.


Graphics/Look and Feel

The graphics in Warhawk were, at the time of it’s release, among the best the PS3 could offer; However, when compared to other games, it just doesn’t have nice realistic smooth look found in games like Gears of War, which was released almost a full year before on a technologically-inferior console.

An entirely different matter is the look and feel. Warhawk forms much of its action and fun by changing the look and feel of the game. For example, you are playing a Capture The Flag (CTF) match on the map and it’s layout is set to full map with full access for ground battle; next map, the layout “Dogfight” is set which forces each team to fight the other in just a Warhawk or Nemesis. With variety in map layouts, 8 maps can become up to 30+ different maps and force the players to change their strategy to the new layout.


Sound is one of the most important components to any shooter. Whoever worked on Warhawk‘s sound sure knew that going into production of the game. The sound is absolutely wonderful, both in terms of dimension and just the basics.

The sound makes gameplay a whole lot better, because it has a wonderful 3D sound system that just makes the matches all the better. With 3D sound, if you don’t come up quietly your target will know you are there. It also helps in air combat since you can hear the enemy’s engines behind you. In all, the sound totally lends itself to making the matches and game much better.


As the picture above illustrates, Warhawk‘s gameplay is far different than most third-person shooters. The best part of the gameplay is it allows you to have three people beside yourself playing in an online match. Weapons used in Warhawk are great as well because every weapon has a counter to it. Even Warhawks can be countered by ground weapons and the reverse is also true, making this one of the most perfect weapon balances ever seen in console video games.

However, the game can lag or stutter because it is a multiplayer-only game. If you don’t have a proper network set-up, you could get kicked from a match halfway and lose all progress you were making. If that happens, be sure to check the ports on your router or go to and follow their simple instructions (be sure to look for Playstation Network under your router).

The camera angles are almost perfect because it is always focused on you. Wherever you look, the camera always stays looking at you whether you are on the ground or in person. This also means you must be good at turning around fast if you are being chased or else you are dead.

Gameplay is really smooth and flows nicely, given how big the maps are and what people are doing at the time. Even if you are on the ground getting chased by a Warhawk, you can enter Warhawk as well and take it to your enemy without so much as a hiccup or stutter. It may take a little while to get your aim speed down, but it won’t take long so it’s hardly noticeable. It can take a match or two to find your balance. Other than that, gameplay is wonderful and just screams for you to play and play a lot.


The controls for Warhawk are both a blessing and a curse because while you will have an easy time learning ground combat, it will take a long time (roughly ten matches) before you understand the controls of a Warhawk. A common problem is that people will not learn the Pro Flight mode, which is what 80% of all players use when flying.

However, with the recent release of update 1.5, there are two tutorials that will help out greatly. The tutorials are Warhawk Training and Flight Practice. Warhawk Training will help with understanding the basics while Flight Practice will help you practice Pro Flight and various other advanced techniques that will make you a good pilot. Once you have mastered the ground and flight controls, you will be ready to unleash pain on your foes.


Warhawk is something of an enigma today. It seems to be as if Incognito took Gears of War and blended it with Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. After all, it has the tactical, team-based gameplay of Gears mixed with the fluid of flying found in Rogue Squadron. The best part is that it is so well blended. By mixing two very different gameplay styles almost perfectly, they created a whole new style that is just fantastic. That is what makes Warhawk so great: it is a representation of mixing two very different styles of combat and tuning them together so well, it is hard to notice them separately.


Warhawk has everything you could want in a multiplayer game: great variety, excellent gameplay, good controls, and wonderful sound. Ever since I first played it, I have been hard-pressed to find a better console multiplayer experience. It doesn’t matter whether you are a fan of Madden, Halo, or even Lego Star Wars, this game will appeal to you if you are a fan of great video game multiplayer in general. In all, a great video game that I recommend for owner of a Playstation 3.

Graphics/Look and Feel: 95 (Graphics aren’t as good as some games the year before)

Sound: 100 (An all-around great sound set-up)

Gameplay/Performance: 94 (The port issues may cause you problems if not solved)

Control: 96 (Flight control requires time to become familiar)

Compare/Contrast: 100 (Gears of War-meets-Rogue Squadron. What could be better?)

Total Score: 97 (Some minor issues may annoy, but doesn’t take away from enjoying the game)

Title: Deus Ex: The Conspiracy

Developer: Ion Storm

Publisher: Eidos

Genre: FPS/RPG

Platform: PS2 (Also PC but this is a review of the PS2 version)

When I began playing Deus Ex, I was a little discouraged by what I first mistook as difficulty. Since the game is played from a first person perspective and you use guns to kill your enemies, I mistakenly assumed that Deus Ex was simply another FPS game. But I soon discovered that using the same strategy that I had used in other FPS games did not work in Deus Ex. And so, when I began to change my strategies, using brute force, stealth, and diplomacy in different ways, I realized that Deus Ex was not so much an incredibly difficult game, but instead, a game with a type of gameplay I had never experienced before; a type of gameplay that I ended up thoroughly enjoying and that Deus Ex has done better than any of the other games in the genre. It is the engrossing gameplay along with a masterful plot that make Deus Ex such an amazing game. However, the game is of course not perfect, as no game is, and so, before I continue swooning over the amazing storyline and gameplay, I’ll go into more depth about the game’s shortfalls.

To begin, the game is pretty ugly. Even for its time, I feel the graphics did not quite meet the standards. There were many other games that looked better, even on consoles. The game did receive some minor graphical enhancements for the PS2 port, mainly dealing with character appearance, but for the most part, it looked the same. There is also a lot of loading screens, far more than I like in a game but after getting entranced in the game’s plot, they no longer really bothered me. Also, there is fortunately little to no graphical glitches: no clipping through walls, and the like.

Deus Ex has a pretty steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with the open ended, strategical, RPG-like, first person gameplay (did I use enough adjectives?) of games like it, Bioshock, and System Shock 2. While it is possible to run and gun and still get through game, you will find that using that strategy alone is difficult. Ammo and health pick ups are not entirely nonexistant but far from abundant, encouraging the player to think of new ways to approach a situation. While some may find this restricting (Hey if I want to just run and shoot things, why can’t I?), I think in the end, it leads to a much higher replayability. To this day, after owning the game for nearly 6 years, I still find new things everytime I play it.

And so end the grievances I have with the game. Now to get to the good parts. I will start with the gameplay. While System Shock and it’s sequel came out before Deus Ex, this was my first experience with open ended FPS/RPG style gameplay, and as I said before, I really liked it. I am a big fan of RPGs and so the upgradeable skills and bio mods really appealed to me; they gave me that “leveling up” feel that I enjoy so much. They also really buff the replay value. Since you can not upgrade every skill or bio mod in the course of one game, it encourages one to start again with a new skill build and bio mod set. The skills all deal with combat, movement, and primarily physical things while the bio mods all give you special abilities, such as being able to see through walls and detonate explosives before they reach you. Coupled with the skill and bio mod system, is the ability to handle almost every event in the game in an infinite amount of ways. For instance, in any given area, you could choose to just kill everything in your way, whether it be hostile or civilian; or, you could sneak through some path and eliminate half the confrontations you would have normally face. Still, you could also bribe an npc to escort you to some area you would not normally be able to access. And those are just a few of the ways that a level can turn out.

The control system is easy to pick up and not at all different from a typical first person perspective game, although your aim with guns improve as you upgrade the skill set that ties with a particular fire arm (Rifle skill improves your skill and aim with shotguns, sniper rifles, and assault rifles. Heavy arms improves your skill and aim with rocket launchers, so on and so forth).

The sound is well done. You can hear the enemies footsteps, or the hum of a camera, and plan your strategy accordingly. The music is hit and miss. The theme song is a real winner, whereas most of the ingame soundtrack falls between pretty good and horrible.

The story, moreso I feel than the gameplay, is what really brings Deus Ex to the pinnacle of its genre. I do not want to go into too much detail, as I do not want to spoil anything for anyone, but I will give you the basics. It is a mixture of Sci-fi, consipracy drama, with cyber punk elements. It takes place in a dystopic future where America is under attack by the NSF, a terrorist group, and suffering from a new plague with no cure, called the Grey Death. You control JC Denton, a nano-augmented agent. JC works for UNATCO, a United Nations counter terrorist group (Think 24’s CTU except globalized), and his first mission is to neutralize an NSF attack on the recently bombed Statue of Liberty. The plot is far from black and white, and twists are around every corner.

Thusly, I feel Deus Ex: The Conspiracy is definitely worth a buy. You will find endless amounts of replay value and unique storyline that will keep you engrossed time and time again. If you are really concerned with aesthetics then you may want to consider borrowing it from a friend  or renting it, if there is anywhere that it is still rentable. If you are a fan of either of the System Shocks or Bioshock, this is definitely worth your time.

In the End(A concise score card for each aspect of the game, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest)

Gameplay: 10

Story: 10

Graphics: 3

Replayability: 10

Sound: 6

Difficulty: 7

The Orange Box compilation contains three games, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress2, and Portal. It was published by Electronic Arts, developed by Valve and is available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. It was released in the United Stated in October of 2007, for consoles the game cost $60, while for the PC it cost $50.

While Portal can be classified as a puzzle game it stands unique from other titles in that it is first person, has a detailed story line, and it forces the player to think in a completely different way. In the game you play as Chell who wakes up in a testing facility to the voice of GLaDOS who is a computer which monitors and directs your actions. GLaDOS directs you through various tests which test a portal gun and your ability to solve puzzles. The portals created by the gun in the game can literally flip the world upside down or turn it on its side; it really challenges the player to view the world in a different way.

While the levels are challenging and can take some time to figure out, as they should be, the controls are extremely easy to use. Besides GLaDOS explaining everything for you, during the first few levels icons pop up to help you figure out the buttons which are very simple. Another way in which the game helps you is that before every testing room there is a wall which contains icons telling you which techniques should be utilized to finish the task.

Portal Icons

All of the avaliable icons

As some of these icons illustrate, Portal is, beside an extremely challenging game, an extremely comical one. The game keeps a lighthearted feel the entire way through, even when things turn a little violent. GLaDOS is always offering you cake or perhaps lying to you about how the next test is impossible (when you complete this test she compliments you for working under very negative conditions).

GLaDOS is talking to you throughout the entire game which makes sound in this game pretty important, but she keeps things entertaining. The only other real use of sound in this game is created by the few dangers in the game, like the glowing orbs that appear pretty early in the game. You can hear them bouncing off of walls and being shot out of the dispenser. These things kill you with one hit so without the sound they would be a little more than unfair. There are also the sentinel guns which appear in some of the later levels. The sounds help you to locate the guns since their laser sights make a slight humming noise, also when it starts shooting at you the sound helps pretty fast to find it. But again, with the humor the sentinels with also talk to you, asking you where you are and forgiving you for destroying them. The only irritating thing about the sentinels is that they can see you through glass walls and they don’t understand that the wall is there so they fire at you. And they don’t stop until one of you is dead…goodness does that get old fast when you can’t reach the little creep just yet. That constant wearing away at the glass always inspires me to go faster and kill the thing. The last enemy is another type of gun which fires rockets at you once you have been sighted. Again there is a laser sight which makes a slight noise but the gun also beeps. Once it finds you the beeping grows loud and fast so you can tell when it is about to launch a rather large rocket towards your face.

As you can see above, the game is very monotone in color palate, however, I feel that this works perfectly with the setting. You are in a scientific testing facility, everything is kept clean looking and was made to help prevent distraction, so it is all shades of boring grey. However, when you advance in the game or find the hidden rooms, more color is added to the game and everything looses its clean look. The grime can sometimes be a little pixilated, but I am willing to forgive. While the shapes and settings may be simplistic in design the graphics are fairly realistic. Again, I attribute the simplistic design to the setting of a testing facility, it is meant to be that way.


The main character Chell

The game play is pretty smooth throughout. I have personally never experienced lag or stutter, but sometimes I feel as though there is a foot of impenetrable space between me and some of the objects. This feeling is intensified by the fact that you never really see hands in the game, when you pick up and object it just kind of floats there. This however, should not make game play more challenging it is very easy to get used to and is not very cumbersome at all. Since the game is viewed in first person, there is no real problem with awkward camera angles.

I really enjoy a good challenge in a game and Portal truly delivered for me. The puzzles got me very engaged and were always completely different. The story line and the humor that takes place in this game is a real treat and will leave you wanting more. And you will definitely be wanting more; the game is only a three or four hours long if you are really good at puzzles. However, once you beat the game you unlock new versions of old levels. You can beat levels within a time limit, within a certain number of steps, with a certain number of portals used or you can play the level on a higher difficulty. These additions are a life saver once you master all the various tests; they force you to look at the puzzles in a different way.

So while it stinks that this game is really short, it is a definite must. There are two other games on the disk which make it a smart buy. And it has true replay value with its off the wall humor and it unlockable difficulties. I would easily give this game a 91/100. It loses points for being too short and for having the occasional irritating moment (like sentinels who don’t understand glass or how when you die you must move the control stick for it to register and start over).

Companion Cube

I loved this game as much as my companion cube.