Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

Overall Rating: 8.5

Pros: It’s Legend of Zelda, Engaging story, Fun and interactive Controls

Cons: Hard, Long, Stupid Puzzles
The newest edition to the Legend of Zelda clan, Twilight Princess, is a must-have for Wii owners. Of course, the manual is also a must-have if you want to accomplish anything in this game (it has the ape-@*&# ridiculous logic characteristic of Zelda games). I couldn’t even figure out how to get out of the first village. You don’t have to buy a guide though. Google “Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Guide” and it will help you get through everything irrational. In the game, a teenage village-boy named Link tries to defend his world, Hyrule, from a shadow land that is taking over. The human citizens trapped in this world are part of a never-ending nightmare that they don’t understand; none of them can see the shadow monsters terrorizing them. Link, being the chosen one, can not only see them, but can attack them as well. However, when he enters the shadow world, he is transformed into a wolf. This limits his use of tools, but it is badass. Also, Link has a devious shadow-being helper, Midna, to help him along the way. Overall the game is pretty good. Some of the puzzles are annoyingly long and difficult, even with the guide. Also, it really sucks if you don’t have a computer in the same room as your Wii, because you will have to keep running from one room to the other to figure out what to do. This game isn’t for the casual gamer. Temples alone can take hours to complete and you can’t stop in the middle of a temple or you completely loose your train of thought. By the end, I had logged 70 odd hours into it, and I did it with the guide next to me. Also, when you first meet Midna, she is really condescending, and you will want to chew her face off. But she gets better, trust me; you will like her before the game is over. On the plus side, the game certainly keeps you entertained if you’re bored. It’s fun to play and its certainly challenging. Transforming into a wolf is sweet because you can bite shit and throw it around. You can also run a lot faster, saving time. Also, with the edition of the Wii-mote, shooting arrows and slashing things is more entertaining than with previous Zelda games. Also, the ending is pretty awesome. It makes the game worth beating. Seeing as how Twilight Princess is not quite as stunning as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I can’t give it 10 out of 10. However, I will give it an 8.5.

Bottom line: It is one of the better Zelda games out there. Definitely worth a play.

Bioshock Review

January 8, 2008

Bioshock Review

Overall Rating : 9.8/10

Pros: Fantastic story, Innovative combat style

Cons: Frame rate issues, Limited replay value

It goes without saying that Bioshock has developed a following since it’s release. People hail it as revolutionary, and they’re right. The game grabs hold of you from the moment you step into the bathysphere and never let’s go. The premise is interesting enough- a failed underwater utopia created by distinguished industrialist Andrew Ryan. You find yourself trapped in the city of Rapture, and must fight for your survival. I won’t delve to deeply into the story (it’s something that needs to be experienced first hand). That being said, there are plenty of “holy #$&*” moments to be found throughout, moments that will stick with you as you continue your journey.

Obviously, the story is fantastic. How does the game play hold up? The answer: amazingly. This is a shooter; and that means, at its core, it’s all about the guns. The weapons dazzle, from the simple pistol to the cobbled together grenade launcher. All of them are upgradeable, by the end of the game they look otherworldly, keeping with the game’s steam punk art style. But the game is more than guns. Throughout the course of the game, you will be able to modify your character using genetic treatments known as plasmids. These powers truly make the game stand out with a wide variety of death dealers at your disposal. Light on an enemy on fire with a snap of your fingers, cover them in ice and smash them pieces, send a swarm of bees ripping out of your arms to destroy your enemies, the choice is yours. Encounters play out differently each time based on what means you choose to decimate your foes.

Speaking of your foes, the twisted citizens of Rapture, known as splicers, look as if you can easily tear them a new one. Wrong. The splicers are no pushovers. They know when to fight and when to run like hell. The different types of splicers fight with their own unique style; some will lob grenades at you while. Others will attempt to beat you to death with a lamp. Of course those are just the basic enemies; the true stars of the game are the big daddies. These giant, hulking, monstrosities clad in diving suits offer some of the most exciting and challenging moments in the game.

You’ll be fighting them quite a bit. If you want to improve your character, the only way is to buy more plasmids. Plasmids can be bought using Adam, the key to genetic modification. What’s the only way to get Adam? The little sisters, the creepy little girls that are protected by, you guessed it, the big daddies. Once you finish fighting off their guardians you have a choice: harvest the girl for maximum Adam, or save the girl for half the Adam but a chance at more rewards later. The choice doesn’t have as much impact as promised, but its an interesting idea that helps further the story.

The game’s graphics are top notch; the game looks amazing and creates a beautifully twisted world you won’t want to leave. The sound inspires awe as well. This is some of the best voice acting you will ever hear in game. Splicer’s screams and big daddy moans will get you every time. The presentation is perfect, right down to the piano keys you hear at the main menu.

The game is not without flaws. It’s something of a one trick horse. There is little reason to play through a second time. There are also minor frame rate issues, though these are kept to a minimum.

Bottom line: This is a game everyone needs to experience. (Especially those who say games can’t be considered art) You’ll try, you’ll love it, and you’ll never forget it. Welcome to Rapture…

 

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Review
Overall Rating: 8.7
Pros: Great story, Awesome multi-player, Kickin’ graphics
Cons: Terrible AI, Can’t open doors???, boring linear levels, innovative idea but poorly executed
    Infinity Ward, to the joy of gamers everywhere, decided to switch up the story of their award winning title, Call of Duty. Call of Duty 4 is not only set in modern day, but it is the first of the series to get a Mature ESRB rating. CoD4 uses the familiar cinematic storyline. It follows the lives of “Soap” MacTavish from the British SAS, and Paul Jackson from the USMC. There are other instances when the story switches to other characters in order to tell the story. The racing, testosterone-packed story is backed up by intense firefights in which you kick the asses of the Arab Ultranationalists. However, there is poor execution here by the AI. They offer little support in intense firefights and constantly bark orders at you. As a result, there is little deviation and there is usually only one way to accomplish a mission. And, you are babied through it most of the time. Somehow Infinity Ward left out the ability for you to open doors by yourself. So, you must either wait by the correct door for the team to catch up with you, or try and find them. Multi player uses a weighted class system. There are five default classes with cliche abilities such as sniper, heavy gunner, and demolitions. As you gain a higher rank other classes are unlocked, and once a certain level is reached you can create your own class. A nice touch allowing you to play to your personal style of combat. XP is earned by completing objectives and killing enemies. It works like every other game. More XP, higher rank. It’s a blast to play games of Deathmatch, Free-for-all, and sabotage. Infinity Ward made up some serious points with the multi player aspect of CoD4.
Bottomline: If you are looking for a easy shooter, Call of Duty 4 is worth a rental. If you like to play online, it’s worth a buy.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review

Overall Score: 9.7

Pros: Amazing story, innovative puzzle style, exceptional combat system

Cons: Damn owl, some puzzles too hard

As far as old Nintendo 64 games go, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece. It has made numerous “Greatest Games of All Time” lists for a reason; it’s f@#$ing awesome. If you have never heard of The Legend of Zelda, I honestly don’t know why you’re reading this review site. But just in case you’re a f@#$ing cave troll, Link, the chosen one, is destined to save Hyrule and Princess Zelda from the evil Ganadorf once again. The story might sound simple and juvenile, but players find it engaging. It has a degree of complexity that keeps you hooked. The temples are challenging and entertaining, except for the water temple which made me want to pull my hair out because it is too hard. Even side games that would be tedious in some games are interesting in this one. Getting Epona is one of the most fun things you can do in this game. It’s actually hard to find something bad to say about it. Being for the N64, the graphics, compared to today’s, are lacking. Also, because of the inhuman logic, it is very hard to complete without a guide (which you can now find online). And, the worst thing about the game, the owl pissed me off constantly. He tries to trick you into listening to his pointless tips, and you can’t get away or kill him. The game would be immaculate if you could just kill the owl.

Bottom line: This is one of the few games that everyone knows and loves; if you haven’t played it yet, you MUST go out and play it NOW.

Portal Review

December 20, 2007

Portal Review
Overall Score: 9.6
Pros: Innovative puzzle playing, short and sweet
Cons: Limited plot, moaarrrr maps please?
Portal, originally developed by Valve as a bonus game for the Orange Box, has developed into a huge pop-culture phenomenon. The gaming world is humming with talk of the Orange Box and, as a surprise to Valve, much of it deals with Portal. It has even spawned a flash game created independently from Valve. It can be found here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/404612. And while it pales in comparison to the real thing, it operates on the same premise… and well..it’s free (sorry Valve). The plot of Portal is very simple. You are a test subject in an Aperture Science laboratory; and, you must complete a series of puzzles using a specialized gun that creates portals. Each level presents a new set of challenges. You must manipulate space-time by creating portals to get you to the end of the level. The catch is only some surfaces are conducive to portals. And, you must use a “Companion Cube” to press down strategically placed buttons which trigger doors that stand in your way. This game requires a keen mind and ingenuity to navigate through out all 18 levels. GLaDoS, the head of research at the factory, helps you through your first few levels and provides some comic relief. Let me just scream this, “Watch the end credits!” Sliding in at just over 4 hours for one play through Portal is short and sweet. The game offers some “bonus maps” once you beat the game. But, you can’t help but feel ripped off. Valve just has taken the same maps and altered them slightly making them harder by adding water, fewer boxes, timers, etc.
Bottomline: Simply a must play. You can NOT afford to pass up this game. At least play the flash game. It truly is mind bending.

Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme Review

Overall Score: 9.8/10

Pros: Compatible with almost every socket used today, great performance, reasonably priced, quiet

Cons: Not made of copper

 

The Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme (TRUE) is the best heat sink available on the market. If you are into overclocking, and don’t feel comfortable with water cooling, then the TRUE will widen your overclocking range tremendously. I was able to get a Q6600 to 3.6Ghz with this heat sink and fan(HSF). The installation is incredibly simple. I chose to purchase an addition 120mm fan to attach to the side of the TRUE. This thing has so many fins when you look at it you say to yourself, “there is no way that’s gonna fit in my case.” Well, it does….barely. There’s about a half inch clearance in regular ATX mid size cases. It comes with a nickel plated base and aluminum fins. I would have liked to see the whole thing made out of copper at least the base… But, the aluminum does the job well enough.

Bottomline: The best HSF you can buy in today’s market.

 

 

World in Conflict Review

December 15, 2007

World in Conflict Review

 

 

Overall: 9.1/10

 

Pros: Great Story, Directx 10, solid controls, outstanding multi-player

 

Cons: Shady AI movement, repetitive responses from NPC’s, story seemed a little short

 

World in Conflict(WiC) throws your right in to World War III; but, don’t start judging it right away. Sure, that’s a cliche genre for a video game. However, WiC has put a new spin on the story. It’s 1989, and instead of ending the cold war the Russians have invaded Seattle and started wreaking havoc on U.S. soil. It’s your job to fight them off to save the United States from the iron fist of communism. The control are basically the same in any type of RTS. You have several different types of vehicles, infantry, and air crafts each with its own special attacks. The developers made a smart move here and didn’t make any radical changes in controls. Therefore, the learning curve for WiC is very shallow. Anyone who has ever played an RTS will feel right at home. One of my biggest gripes is that whenever you click on a new unit it identifies itself. Now, that’s not a big deal, but I wanted to throw my mouse through the screen if I heard “Need a number 2 now!?” one more time. Also, when directing units, they seem to take the longest possible route to get to the destination, and they often get crammed up on one another in front of building, trees, and mountains. There are two different way to have the units move, but toggling this seems to yield the same results. Where WiC lacks in mediocre AI, it makes up in an action packed story. Each mission has a purpose, and there are very few missions with annoying time limits.  Missions mainly consist of destroying strategic points, occupying and holding positions, and of course killing commies. The story feels a little short at about 6-8 hrs, however, there’s no limit to how many hours you can log in online multi-player. Bottomline, if you are looking for a kick-ass/take names RTS title, pick up WiC now.

 

 

Crucial Ballistix Review

 

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

 

Pros: Outstanding Price, Great for overclockers, Very stable

Cons: Poor rebate, poor customer service, not as high quality as Corsair or OCZ

This RAM is rock solid on my Asus P5K-E motherboard. This RAM is a steal. Grea, high performance RAM for under a hundred bucks…it’s a budget builder’s dream. There’s not much to say about this RAM other than its easy to overclock and extremely stable in the stress tests I’ve run. My only complaint is that the frequency isn’t as high, and the heat spreaders aren’t as high a quality as you would get paying for OCZ or Corsair. But, this RAM makes up for it by being extremely low priced. Crucial seems to be very picky about rebates, so, make sure to do them correctly and as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Antec 900 Review

December 7, 2007

Antec 900 Review

Overall Rating: 9/10

Pros: Outstanding cooling, roomy interior, sexy black finish with LED lights

Cons: No removable motherboard tray, fans are pretty loud at medium and max, dust magnet

Antec might have made the ultimate air cooling case.  At a glance you immediately notice the HUGE 200mm fan that dominates the top of this case.  Next, your eyes are drawn to the large perforated front bezel spaning 9 drive bays and shows off two more 120mm fans.  To round it all up the clear side shows off an additional rear 120mm fan.  Let me just say that with all these fans cranked up to max, this sucker is loud.  There are two things that make the Antec 900 stand out from other so callec “gamer cases.”  First of all, the clearside panel has a perforated aluminum cut out (you can mount another 120mm fan if you must) to allow more air to the CPU.  This is great for overclockers and gamers alike.  Who wants a BSOD in the middle of an intense shoot out in Crysis?  Second, the power supply mounts at the bottom of the case.  This unconventional approach allows for the laws of physics and thermodynamics to go to work.  If you remember from your high school physics class, heat rises.  Mounting the PSU on the bottom of the case allows all of the heat to rise and be sucked out by the massive 200mm fan.  Even if you want a water cooling set up, Antec has accounted for this and cut two holes in the back of the case for your tubing set up.  The tray on the top is very convenient for storing mp3 players, digital cameras, and other peripherals.  Once this thing is up and running, it looks fierce with a flat black finish and blue LED light bleeding from almost everyon opening.    Moving onto the inside of the case.  One of my biggest problems with this case, is that it does not have a removeable motherboard tray.  Not a huge deal, but definitely inconvenient.  All the drive bays feel very sturdy, and the extra slots for fans are sure to keep your graphics card and hard drives cool.  Overall, this case doesn’t disappoint.

EVGA 8600GT Review

December 6, 2007

EVGA 8600GT Review

Overall Rating: 5/10

 

Pros: Directx10, 2 DVI outputs, Vista Compatible

Cons: Poor benchmarks, poor FPS in 3dMark06, preformance/price ratio extremely poor.

Website: http://www.evga.com 

The 8600GT is mainly targeting system builders who wish to upgrade into the 8 series from the 7 series.  Basically, the only reason anyone would want to do this is to be able to run Windows Vista since it require Directx10.  And, that’s about all its good for.   It comes with an SLI, 256-MB DDR3, the new GPU architecture, and RAMDAC.  The 128-mbit memory interface chokes and kills the performance.  If you are interested in gaming DO NOT purchase this card.  I benchmarked Crysis on medium settings and averaged 15fps.   On low settings, the frame rate was playable at around 30-50 fps; but it was just so visually unappealing it wasn’t worth it.  In conclusion, if you are looking for a low profile card that can run directx10 get this.  But, if you want to do ANY gaming at all save up for atleast a 8600GTS or the new 8800GT’s.  You will be happy you did.