Any fan that hears one of their favorite games will no longer be handled by the same studio will have doubts as to whether or not the new developers will be able effectively capture all that they love about the series, I carried such doubts about Sucker Punch entrusting Sly with Sanzara, a studio that had already earned my ire with the abysmal Secret Agent Clank; however, my reservations were almost immediately washed away upon starting Thieves in time. Yes the fourth Sly captures the charm of the series perfectly, but unfortunately it captures the general monotony of 3 as well.
- Major Once the initial astonishment of the plot and visuals dies down the gameplay begins to take a toll on your desire to play. Though there is much variety in the game and even the mini games don't really feel tacked on nothing is done especially strong, and gives the feeling that the game would have been more enjoyable if the aspects of the different sections had been combined to make a stronger experience instead of having weak but differing segments throughout e.g. playing as Sly's ancestors (who do not benefit from Sly's purchasable upgrades) instead of them just passing their skills onto Sly, or having to use progressively obtained costumes to perform certain abilities instead of having those abilities readily available and leaving the costumes for sneaking.
- Major Even though this game released about 8 years after 3 the core gameplay has been almost completely untouched, and while there is nothing strictly wrong with that much hasn't been done to keep everything fresh; maybe completing 3 other games in the series right before playing this has contributed to these feelings, but after 8 years I believe more could have been done, in each episode it was downhill for me right after collecting all the clues. Obviously maps lose some their glamour after you've seen all the sights, but they shouldn't ever lose all of it and especially in such a short time, even if I'm incredibly familiar with a location in a game I shouldn't dread the idea of traversing the map to get to an objective. Some missions/areas are great but lots of the time I'm just pushing through to get to see the next cuscene or hear some more dialogue.
- Major Beyond recapping if a sequel is announced I have zero desire to replay this game, though there are more collectibles and some can only be obtained by returning to episodes with new costumes the game simply is not fun enough to inspire me to ever want to replay especially if its only to search for masks to unlock aesthetic goodies or grind for coins to get some upgrades I don't need or want, I despise such activities in games I adore and doing it in this already tragically dull game sounds torturous.
- Moderate Boss fights suffer from the same "divide and fail" concept as the rest of the game, all the fights are split into checkpoints (3 for all I believe) and all require you to evade a certain number of varied attacks until your adversary leaves them self open for you to pound on them till they recover, and you repeat the process except each time increases the "difficulty"; this of course does not apply to the final boss fight which is nothing more then an avalanche of QTE's. I would of much preferred only one checkpoint at the start of the fight, and for the fight to actually be engaging instead of a test of my pattern recognition and patience. Thankfully these atrocities only appear once an episode.
- Moderate Another problem this game shares with 3 is that the story doesn't really revolve around heists or any other sort of thievery but instead a noble quest to save the Cooper line, and while this could work for the setting developers have yet to provide us with the same alluring atmosphere of 2, sure we still have Bentley's slide shows but that building anticipation for the big job or whatever else has been absent in the last two games.
- Major Phenomenal characters that drive the game regardless of their affiliation and are fleshed out better than even the original games.
- Major Efficiently comical throughout, not necessarily side bursting but enough to keep you smiling and even laughing out loud during cutscenes in dialogue, which even once comedy is not present is engaging partially due to every characters outstanding voice work.
- Major Gorgeous and inspired art style and graphics.
- Major While the plot is not heart stopping it is presented superbly well and even though many twists can be see a mile away the story never lets go of your interest.
- Moderate Playing as Bentley and Murray is no longer the chore it used to be, Murray's segments are better but still could use some work but Bentley's aren't too far from Sly once it comes to fun (hacking is much better now apart from ball hacks); Carmelita has bumped up to about where Bentley and Murray were in 2/3 in terms of gameplay i.e. meh.
- Moderate Initial exploration of a map is a blast and some missions really are tons of fun but typically they're spaced a good ways a part.
- Moderate Collectibles return with more treasure and the addition of masks, as previously stated clues are found to find, and others are an acceptable diversion. Some upgrades are quite useful and sometimes cool, and the unlockables I've seen are actually awesome (Ultimate Sly/Bentley) and may provide some that extra push to replay episodes.
Thieves in Time has been a terribly hard game to review, l adored the story,characters,art style, environments, etc. etc. etc. and many times I was having a great time playing it but right around the time I fought Grizz I began to loathe most of the missions, and I don't believe its because the second half of the game is any worse than the first I believe it is because the fatigue that the gameplay slowly imparted on me began to really set in; the problem is not that any part of the gameplay is bad or repetitive, the problem is almost every different sequence is just okay and they don't come together in away that makes the combined experience any greater. The game is superior in a number of ways once compared to past installments and I believe it has a done a good job at bringing Sly into the modern era, but the developer's decision to divide gameplay aspects and missions into varying lower quality segments gradually makes the game feel tedious as time rolls on. The fourth entry in the tales of Sly can only be recommended to staunch fans of the series and 3D platforming genre.
If Sanzaru or whoever is next in line to develop the Sly games compiles components of gameplay, adds new ways to play or at least provides new and interesting ways to experience already existing gameplay, and creates stronger, more compelling missions I believe the next game can be the centerpiece of this new trilogy (presumably) just as Band of Thieves was for the past one.
For many The Sly Collection is a return to one of there favorite series in an enhanced form, but for others it is there introduction to the lovable characters of the cooper gang and the dastardly misunderstood villains of various devious organizations, I fall into the second category. Being a newcomer that insists on playing games in order my first experience with the series was obviously with the Thievus Racoonus, and while I was immediately infatuated with the characters and the setting annoying features like one hit deaths, dull collect 7 keys progression system, and the absence of any replay value left me with fairly low expectations for the rest of the series. Fortunately the series really hit its stride with the second entry by introducing a better combat system, open levels, heists that make you more involved in the much improved story, the ability to play as teammates, collectibles that are actually fun to collect, purchasable upgrades, and actually making stealth important; though nostalgia will be your only real reason to comeback the initial experience more than makes up for it. For the most part the gameplay of Sly 3 is identical to 2, but the plot is less focused and episodes don't link well, new antagonists (except for Dr. M) and gang members are considerably weaker in terms of personality, clues and major loot are gone so the only way to get upgrades is to grind pick-pocketing or boat battles and any reason to explore is lost, and mini games are generally quite tedious and playing as new gang members feel tacked on.
The Sly series has an outstanding cast of characters, entertaining plot, beautiful art style, and enjoyable core gameplay and should be purchased by any big fans of the platforming genre.
One of the major selling points of Into the Nexus is how it would close the book on the Ratchet & Clank PS3 experience, but after completing the game I believe the experience to be more of sample of the series next entry. Yes, like Quest for Booty Into the Nexus presents to you the features of the future and provides with basis of what the next games plot will likely be about, but fortunately Into the Nexus is ten times the game a Quest for Booty is and provides finely more incentives to dive into it's action once more.
- Minor The length makes events move rather quickly and make it a little bit harder to be completely engrossed in the plot.
- Minor Often gives you ammo for weapons that are full despite others being near empty, while some weapons virtually have no chance of ever receiving ammo from crates; this has never happened in the series before and is a little confusing as to why it's happening now.
- Minor Not enough Captain Qwark!
- Major New gameplay elements and puzzles are incredible and greatly enhance the experience, old features are utilized and executed better than ever, especially in regards to the aiming system that now makes all weapons useful in every situation regardless if they have an auto aim feature or not. Everything is done so well and blended so perfectly that the entire game feels more fluid and action packed, and even grinding experience/bolts or re-exploring previously visited planets never gets dull.
- Major By far the most beautiful game of the series and possibly the best looking game I have personally ever seen on the PS3, the graphics are nothing short of amazing and the art style is utterly mind blowing.
- Major The very best in voice, tremendous musical score, and crisp sound effects.
- Major Story and world has every bit of char and humor you've come to expect from the series, but the game also carries over the seriousness presented in A Crack in Time and expands upon it to give you a genuine emotionally connected experience along with the series inherit lightheartedness.
- Major While most of the weapons really only tweak the function of past archetypes, they all are done so excellently that you will be too busy reveling in every shot to ever dwell on the similarities. In fact Into the Nexus as by far my favorite weapon selection of any game prior; each and every one is not only a massive joy to use but each is effective throughout the entire game, in past Ratchet & Clanks your first blaster would eventually become obsolete but this time if you choose to you will use them from start to finish.
- Major Though space exploration is not present this time around there is still an abundance of things to do outside the main quest. You'll be delightfully surprised to find an arena in this small adventure and assuming your a fan of the series you know that the arena's of the series alone can mesmerize you for untold amounts of time, but the distractions continue in the vast swamps of a particular planet where you may become lost for hours in search of Gargathon teeth and performing objectives for old friends. Other side missions are present as are the old addictive activities like gold bolt and holoplan seeking and farming experience for your weapons and nanotech level, and the raritariurm upgrades of Tools of Destruction return to give you even more things to max out. Challenge mode also surprisingly makes an appearance further raising your incentive to give the game another go.
- Minor The museum in the last level is a nice walk down memory lane.
- Minor The RYNO VII Extreme manages to be even more bad ass and useful than the RYNO V.
Due to its price I am grading this game on the curve, but not by much. Into the Nexus is impeccably presented and the gameplay may be my favorite (and possibly the best) of the entire series, and I've got significantly more value out of it than many games I've dropped $60 for in the past. If ranked on the same scale as a full game it would still receive a 9 from me because its only perceivable flaw is its length. In recent years announcements and game releases from Insomniac has been troubling, but with the release of this game I am filled with nothing but hope for their future endeavors and have every confidence they have not forgotten about Ratchet & Clank; the future for the series is blindingly bright and I personally can not wait for their splash on the PS4.
(Single Player, Hard, Challenge Mode)
Sometimes you come across a game so great that you can hardly describe exactly is so great about it, you know that the entire time you played you were elevated to a whole new plane of ecstasy and once you are finally allowed to come down articulating just what in particular pleased you so thoroughly is a difficult task. A Crack in Time is such a game and needs to be played by any fan of the series or any unprejudiced person who won't immediately write it of as a child's game.
- Major Leaves you fiending for more intergalactic adventures.
- Major Manages to expand on one of the most unique and exceptional settings in the history of video games by adding an assortment of lovable new characters, races, planets, and general lore that drags you completely through the wormhole that leads to Ratchet & Clank dimension.
- Major Charming is a word eternally associated with the series and this game continues that tradition not just by adding some new jokes, but continuing the perfect embodiment of each character, effortlessly weaving humor into dialogue without a hint of strain, and subtly keeping up the lightheartedness in every aspect of the games world.
- Major Brings a level of maturity and genuine emotion to the plot without compromising the playfulness of the game, and making you that much more invested into the plot and the well being of characters. Story never really has any "OH MY GOD" moments, but it is so magnificently told that it does not need stupefying twists to keep the player captivated.
- Major I don't recall ever seeing an art style so inspired and breathtaking, even without its top notch graphics A Crack in Time is an artistic milestone that is a delight to gaze upon.
- Major Every sound is perfectly done, the voice acting is just as good if not better than any other piece of media ever, the musical score doesn't stand out because it blends so well with the game and if it were to vanish it would not feel like the same game, and every sound effect makes every action you perform seem that much cooler.
- Major Some of the most satisfying weapons I've ever had the pleasure to use, each is so strong that once you experiment with each the game feels like a whole new experience. New Constructo weapons are a blast to experiment with. and despite its failings at a range the RYNO V has cemented it's position as my favorite weapon of all time.
- Major The combat continues it's addictive and outrageously fun formula, and the platforming and puzzle solving takes a new twist due to the the separation of Ratchet & Clank. Ratchet keeps the tether from Quest for Booty and also receives the charges boots while Clank has new powers available to him because of his new position as Temporal Caretaker allowing him to manipulate time to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles and fix time rifts on planets; these additions make level traversal even more enjoyable and exciting than what you've already come to expect from a R&C game.
- Major Space exploration is simply astonishing and finally makes it feel like you are steering the wheel of Ratchet & Clan's adventures. Side objectives and moons across the sectors add a level of freedom never before seen never seen before in the series and makes you feel more immersed in the universe than ever before in the series, and on top of that radio, news updates, and more further make you feel as though you are a denizen of the galaxy. Space combat is another fun distraction and the the arena may be better then the annihilation nation of old.
- Major Amassing gobs of experience, bolts, and collectibles is just as addicting as ever while the return of holo plans and new additions of Zoni and Constructo mods add a more practical incentive to explore every nook and cranny. Challenge mode keeps you coming back for more, but the chance to face off against Lord Vorselon compels you to hold off and find those last few Zoni.
If you own a PS3 and can get over the preconceptions the E rating brings buy A Crack in Time, if you don't have the money or are still skeptical at least rent or borrow it this game is a gift to the world that every person should be able to enjoy.
3 ends the Resistance series high in terms of gameplay but disappointing in terms of setting illustration and plot execution. The strategy of Fall of Man and the intensity of 2 are combined to give players the most entertaining and exhilarating combat of the series, but the mystery of the Chimera is never solved, or at least significantly illuminated, and the game's presentation is not on par with past entries, especially in regards to story. Despite its failings, Resistance 3's incredibly fun battles and guns alone make it worthy investment of FPS and Insomniac fan's time.
- Major The plot is jumpy, characters and events awkwardly pop in and out and make inefficient use of their brief appearances. From Dr. Malikov's arrival and all the way to New York City your entire roadtrip's events seem to be just arbitrarily thrown into the mix, and sure unforeseen obstacles that are for the most part unrelated to your primary goal happen on adventures like these, but lots of the time they feel more like filler on your journey to NYC. The dialogue and cutscenes aren't bad, they are just not given the proper amount of time to allow the player to build a connection with the story and characters.
- Major Plot does little to sufficiently explain virtually every single thing of importance in the game, the setting is strong and as such produces numerous questions but if any of them are answered they are usually done half ass in intel; motives, background, and lore is presented but is hardly utilized after. Really the indifferent "closing of the book" on the Chimera makes me wonder if all the questions about their origins and purpose raised in Fall of Man was inadvertently done and never meant to be expanded on.
- Major Lack of variation in the action doesn't make the game stale thanks to the stupendous gunplay, but it certainly makes it less enjoyable than it could be. Though the game has a marvelous shooting formula shooting is just about all that you do and unfortunately maps and enemies don't do much to surprise you so the experience generally feels the same throughout. Even though new enemy classes and strains have been added all of the Chimera lack the tenacity and tactical prowess they once had so even though different classes make you make adjustments you will quickly become accustomed to this, and only the thrill of annihilating them keeps it from feeling repetitive.
- Major Insomniac was still in charge of development so of course Resistance 3's weapons are some of the best that you will use in any game you have ever played, and they are by far the best selection in all the Resistance games. I wouldn't go so far as to say the weapons make the game, but I will definitely say they are the foundation and their use is the cornerstone of all all your entertainment, and once more you are able to hold all of these destructive devices at once allowing you to switch up your playstyle on the fly whether for practically or to toy with each legendarily crafted tool of destruction.
- Moderate Plot premise is interesting and voice acting is good, and while some of the missions on the way to NYC feel tacked on each provides a genuinely interesting environment, populace, and backstory.
- Moderate All characteristics of the game contribute to the tone of desperation and view of the gruesomeness in war and survival.
- Moderate Gun upgrades not only encourages you to appropriately experience each weapon, but they also help keep the game fresh by altering the function of the gun and adding new ways to provide mayhem for your foes.
- Moderate The expanded journal is even better than Fall of Man's and provides an interesting insight on the world regardless of the information is consequential or not.
- Moderate Unlockable gameplay options, difficulty, and extras coupled with the weapon advancement system give the game a good replay value.
- Moderate Though some of our favorite Chimera did not return in this installment, the new strains and the now more diverse hybrids add fun new challenges to battles.
- Moderate Art style is wondrous, though there aren't many gargantuan Chimera this time the other strains are still a savagely beautiful sight.
- Moderate Blending of new and old school shooting mechanics is near perfect.
The gameplay of Resistance 3 feels like what people were wanting all along from 2 and I'm glad that Insomniac nearly perfected it at this IP's end, but they also tragically never elaborated on the origins and current happenings of the Pure Chimera or their rivals and so long as Resistance is remembered by me I will always recall my teased curiosity; Those only concerned with Resistance's gunshow however will be ecstatic to know that Resistance 3 offers everything they loved about the series and then some. From the first game on Resistance solidified itself as one of the best first person shooters out there, the second managed to be one of the best games in general, and the last game has shown everyone the epitome of FUN shooters.
Resistance 2 conquers its past entry's flaws but also attempts to fix what was not broken. Plot, scenery, checkpoints, setting, and characters have all been overhauled but some gameplay components such as shooting style, inventory, and so on have been tweaked to better fit the other changes that have been made, and while much of these aspects are appropriate and add to the experience others detract from some of the fun of Fall of Man; Fortunately, the improvements Resistance 2 has made to its campaign considerably outweigh the mistakes.
Initially I was pissed off with the new controls and thought Insomniac's was trying to mainstream the gameplay to cater to fans of more popular shooters, but this was likely just because I was frustrated I couldn't jump in and play the game exactly like the last one; the new style makes aiming more rapid and contributes to the ferocity of the combat. Besides the "two guns at a time" thing virtually everything new done in the the single player portion of the game is fantastic and a massive improvement over the original. There are practically no major flaws and although the story is not the greatest, especially for Insomniac, it is still good and keeps you more than interested. Resistance 2 is superb game and has one of the absolute best singleplayer FPS experiences out there.
I wrote the strengths and flaws to this review but once posted all of the strengths were missing and only some of the flaws remained, and as I am way to pissed to rewrite them I've deleted them and left the introduction and conclusion to give my general feelings for the game.
(Single player, Hard)
A planet in the Milky Way galaxy is in dire need of saving but Ratchet & Clank are nowhere to be found, so it is up to Nathan Hale to defend Earth from the Chimeran hordes; however, he will have to do this without the help of sidekicks, witty comments, or a third-person perspective. Luckily, like Ratchet Nathan has a variety of incredibly efficient and destructive weapons at his hands.
/Review score is not determined by the addition of flaws and strengths/
- MajorStory is told almost exclusively through black and white mini slideshows narrated by side character Captain Parker, and while they're not badly done fading in and out of them between levels without ever witnessing any of the dialogue or the events that progress the story prevent the player from feeling connected to the story. The few real cutscenes that appear are minuscule, mute, and insignificant.
- MajorIs impossible to build any meaningful relationship or even opinion of any of the characters because they rarely speak.
- ModerateMost checkpoints are ridiculously far apart, not just by physical distance but by the number and difficulty of enemies and or obstacles that you must face to move on; this cultivates many immensely frustrating moments where you have jumped through countless hoops to get to a checkpoint but a slight mistake lands you back at the beginning of a section you were lucky to get out of.
- Moderate The scenery isn't anything you haven't seen before, not to say that he graphics aren't great, but the environments are generally dull and each level's surrounding and atmosphere aren't too much different then the last one you played (not to mention European 1940-50's cities have been done countless times, so to succeed in their presentation you have to do them exceptionally or different, Fall of Man did not do that).
- Minor Produces infinitely more questions than answers, granted this adds an air of mystery to the game but Insomniac really should of revealed more things about the Chimera at some point of the plot.
- MinorLarge difficulty spike on the last level, swarms of the strongest enemies but inadequate amounts of cover.
- MinorThough this is purposefully a much darker and grittier game than Ratchet & Clank, it could have used some of Insomniacs legendary humor to lighten the mood occasionally without comprising the desperate tone.
- MajorAn array of unique and remarkably powerful and useful weapons that allow many different exciting ways to play and are very gratifying to use.
- Major Intriguing antagonists whose shrouded details are the driving force of the plot.
- MajorMany diverse enemy classes that keep you on your toes.
- MajorNear perfect difficulty balancing, allows frantic but not overly frustrating battles.
- Major Extremely tight controls, controller mapping is highly efficient and convenient and this contributes to the game's natural feel and responsiveness.
- Moderate Maps are not hampered by environment's banal look, and are quite varied in terms of structure forcing the player to adapt to each to survive.
- ModerateVehicle sequences and large battles (particularly ones with many friendly AI) are typically quite fun and efficiently mix up the action.
- Moderate Though I did not play it, Resistance features a sort of challenge mode that is akin to Ratchet & Clank in that it increases the difficulty and provides you with new weapons to conquer it; on a similar note the game also features skillpoints that unlock rewards (also like R&C) further increasing its replay value.
Insomiac is one of the best developers out there and I appreciate that they are giving us great original series to play, but in Resistance they tragically left out their some of their strengths (exceptional characters, story, and art style to name a few) and hindered the games quality. Resistance is a fantastic game and one of the best shooters out there, but is burdened by its story telling, scenery, and a few gameplay blemishes.
(Single Player, played as Qwark exclusively)
Full Frontal Assault continues Insomniac's recent infatuation with multiplayer but actually seems to draw most of its inspiration from the multiplayer/galactic ranger missions of Up Your Arsenal. The plot takes place after All 4 One and takes some guns and gameplay aspects along with it (unfortunately it takes the new character design as well), but is now back to the series traditional third person camera and adds the ability to purchase defense systems for your base.
/Review score is not determined by the addition of flaws and strengths/
- Major Game only has five very quick and largely similar levels so if set aside time for the campaign you will be done in time to ponder what you're going to do with the other 13 or 14 hours of your day (assuming you are up 16 hours of course)
- Major Technically there's a story but you're only given a few short cutscenes to justify your new adventure and the only other plot device is the occasional taunt from your main enemy.
- Minor New character design from All 4 One is present here as well.
- Major An utter joy to play, Full Frontal Assault perfectly brings back the thrills of Up Your Arsenal's multiplayer/ranger missions and adds to it with its new base development and defense features.
- MajorRetains all of the charm of past Ratchet & Clanks, though there aren't many, each cutscene is a lot of fun to watch and any dialogue exudes humor.
- Major The series is still one of the best looking out there and the eccentric art style is still a wonder to behold.
- Major Voice acting is the best out there and all other sounds are done very well.
- Major All weapons are satisfying to use and none are castoffs,combuster like weapons became obsolete as you progressed through the previous entries, but now it will remain one of your best tools throughout the game. After playing the mundane combat of All 4 One I'm surprised how fun their guns could be if implemented right.
- Moderate Though the story is gone in a flash, the premise is interesting and fits the series perfectly.
- Moderate Leveling and unlockables effectively add to your incentive to replay.
If you read everything above this sentence you can probably tell I had a absolute blast playing this game, but alas that blast was gone in a second and the game had just enough story to claim that it did indeed have one, and even though the game goes for $20 or less Insomniac could have given us a much longer and ultimately more fulfilling experience as evident through their equally priced Quest for Booty expansion, which probably more than quadrupled Full Frontal Assault's campaign in terms of scope, but on the flip side Full Frontal Assault quadruples the replayability of Quest for Booty not only considering single player but the well reviewed multiplayer modes as well. So, if you are die hard fan of Ratchet & Clank or crazy online multiplayer this is a great purchase, but those not enamored with Ratchet & Clank and only are interested in a deep single player experience will do well to avoid this game.
P.S. This is the third time in a row I've reviewed a multiplayer focused game, so to some my scores may be lower than what they deserve once multiplayer is considered, but as I've said unless I specifically state otherwise my rating of a game is solely based on the quality of its single player story, campaign, etc. mode.
(Single player, hard difficulty, played Qwark exclusively)
All 4 One is an even more family friendly addition to the long running Ratchet & Clank series that attempts to bring you and your loved ones (or possibly strangers online) closer together through a team based journey through the critter ravaged planet of Magnus. You will have to work with old companions and rivals to best minions, titanic bosses, and a wide variety of puzzle and action sequences to save the galaxy once more all while trying to survive the new uncontrollable overhead camera. A traditional Ratchet & Clank it is not, but it is done well enough that any Insomniac fan should play once and those that constantly play with friends should purchase.
/Review score is not determined by the addition of flaws and strengths/
- Major Combat is dull and repetitive.
- Major Cutscenes are often too short, insignificant, and scarce so occasional bits of chatter are tasked with moving the plot along, and due to this the great story is ineffectively told, tremendous characters are unable to add to your experience, and all chance of you being truly captivated is lost.
- Major Camera prohibits immersion, causes several avoidable deaths, and frequently makes traversing the environment much harder than it needs to be.
- Moderate New art and writing style handicaps dialogue and depreciates character's images.
- Moderate Weapons lack any sort of punch or flare, are not fun to use, and most are largely useless against tougher opponents and even with upgrades ammo is very limited with the more useful weapons resulting in a multitude of predicaments while playing alone.
- Minor Sometimes friendly AI get confused what to do, usually its a easily fixed inconvenience but it can result in you not being revived in some dire situations.
- Minor Can't continue game from checkpoints so if you leave the game at anytime during a section you will be forced to redo the entire section from the beginning once you return.
- Minor The multiplayer focus is extremely evident even in while playing single player and consistently makes you feel like you're being jipped out of the whole experience.
- Major Characters, dialogue, general humor, and setting is true to the Ratchet & Clank series which means it has some of the best of these characteristics in all of gaming.
- Major Gorgeous visuals both graphically and stylistically (some character models are inferior to the past ones but are still stunning overall).
- Major Utterly legendary voice acting and perfectly suited music.
- Major Incredibly varied maps and amusing puzzle/action sequences
- Major (joke its actually Minor) You get to play as Capt... ahem... President! Qwark! (did not play as him but the addition of Dr. Nefarious is awesome as well).
- Moderate Good plot on paper with unforeseen and delightful twist at the end (reminiscent of Jak III).
- Moderate Though too few and often largely insignificant to the plot, the cutscenes are impeccably done and are good for a chuckle or two.
- Minor Many different kinds of good looking adversaries, though unfortunately none are especially pleasurable or challenging to slay.
- Minor Some very good one liners that actually aren't too irritating after the thousandth time you've heard each one and banter between protagonists makes you want to pay attention to the gameplay a little bit more.
All 4 one is either for those aching for another Ratchet & Clank or people who love cooperative gaming, if you fall into both categories this game is a great investment; however, if you are not partial to either even renting this would likely be a waste of your time and money.
P.S. Please remember that this review pertains only to the single player portion of the game.
(offline solo, hard, Naya exclusively)
As soon as you start the campaign you are given a quick briefing of what is going then immediately deployed to your first mission, and while the character selection screen tells you a little about each Overstrike 9 member you are not given enough information or theatrics to build that crucial initial connection with the game's plot. The rest of the tale is carried mostly by squad and comm-link chatter (and intel if you find it) with the occasional action cutscene or pre-mission briefing; Fuse's story isn't terribly unique but if more effort was put into its execution it could have been much more engaging. While a good shooter doesn't require a smorgasbord of weaponry, Fuse offers a meager selection that you will see all of within the first hour; every weapon is cool and works nicely but they're not so good that each won't feel a little tired by the game's end. Although the entire game is a blast to play most maps and combat scenarios usually don't offer any new outstanding strategical options, this makes gameplay feel a bit repetitive at times, their are several classes of enemy but each fulfill their role to the t and do little to surprise you. Each level is diverse, attractive, large, and interesting but their simply is not enough of them. Fuse made me feel like I wasn't provided enough narrative to start the game nor enough to conclude it; however, if you look past all this you will be treated to fantastically action packed experience.
Fuse does indeed contain some major structural flaws, but the combat is an abundant pleasure. Surprisingly the friendly AI are quite intelligent and do not ruin the experience through constant fumbles, on the contrary their effective use of their particular skills and exceptional situational awareness make the seemingly multiplayer focused game just as good by yourself. Combination of your squad's talents allow you to competently move forward through the battlefield, but they also add to the fun by creating various combos that yield extra experience and amusement for the player. Collection of experience allows you to enhance your character and ultimately modify your play style, while subtly encouraging you to do more than occasionally pop out of cover and shoot targets. As previously stated, each character has an exclusive xenotech weapon that designates specific responsibilities to each and while you are never required to change characters to succeed each offers considerably different ways to play and even some minor plot differences. Team mates may revive each other but this balanced by the fact that inopportune falls can potentially cause failure because comrades may not reach you in time or will fall themselves trying to save; luckily, squad members typically stick together and don't take too many risky chances so whether or not you fail is usually up to your performance. All members can stealthily take out pieces of opposition or achieve better battlefield placement before the actual fighting begins, but Naya can do this even during the battle thanks to cloaking and if you're like me this will result in literally hundreds of awesome takedowns in the heat of battle, and to clarify this is not an exploitation if not performed perfectly and you are caught behind enemy lines you likely just lost the battle (to reiterate, there are several badass takedowns and even after you've seen them all they never get old). Some sections require platforming to continue or obtain collectibles, but your agents (especially Naya) will often rely on this to silence enemies and rush to different point. Maybe excluding the enforcer, bossfights are more thrilling than tedious and twists to the gameplay in certain sections are welcome and fun (riding the mountain tram, defending the bunker, etc.). The characters are intriguing and form a throughly entertaining group, and the overall plot, while not overly unique, is good enough to keep your attention and boasts some pretty decent supporting characters as well.
Though its core gameplay is remarkably enjoyable, presentation is exceptional, and protagonists are quite likable, Fuse's length, lack of variety, and poorly fleshed out story keep it from being great. Fuse warrants a purchases from any co-op enthusiast/anyone with a lot of gaming friends or Insomniac fanatics, and others should rent or buy on sale because the campaign alone is not enough to keep loner gamers coming back again and again.
I own every Insomniac developed game but Disruptor so naturally I eagerly await anything they produce, but I can see a bright future for Fuse if the length was extended, story was told better, number and variety of weapons; skills; and maps increased, and the IP built a stronger, more original identity for itself. At the end of fuse I was genuinely interested in the fates of the characters and Earth, and would really like to see Insomniac to give Fuse another shot and continue their story.
A story of this quality hurts itself enough that spoilers probably wouldn't affect your experience that much but I'll warn you that they're present in this review anyway.
(single player, veteran difficulty)
One has to wonder why almost every remotely intriguing character in Killzone dies or is forgotten but the monstrosity that is Rico Velasquez is allowed to to be a main character in all three games? Yes as you probably have already gathered Killzone 3 suffers from weak characters and dialogues once again, but to be fair Guerrilla obviously tried to shed, or at least alleviate these constraints this time around. The plot is is more interesting and intricate than 2, and the implementation/explanation of the setting is much better than in the past, but once you consider the stories of past entries much better is still sub par. Killzone consistently has some of the best opening scenes I've ever seen but its presentation is tragically not translated to the main game, even though the plot on paper is pretty good and the setting is astoundingly unique and ripe for compelling tales. Once again nearly all bearable major characters are on the Helghan side of the conflict, leaving most of the ISA with cliche ridden caricatures. Rico is now slightly more tolerable and Sev the opposite, Jammer barely registers as a character, Kowalski dies not long after his entry, Captain Narville is okay, and their are no other "good guys" that are really even named. Every bit of ISA dialogue sounds familiar, and my theory for this is that the writes yanked conversations from every piece of action media ever made then smashed it together to create the ISA's script. As I said the Helghast are still an incredibly intriguing race, and while none of it's senate measure's up to Scolar Visari their rants are quite entertaining if not suffering a little from the same banality as the rest of the plot. Though lacking, the plot's pacing is perfect. As I said in my Killzone 2 review, the intense combat tells its on story through the emotions it invokes and the yelling of the troops.
Fortunately, Killzone 3's gameplay and effects more than compensates for its impaired plot. Killzone is one of the most gorgeou.s series out there period, whether you're listening to the hackneyed words of rico; perfectly corresponding music; or the chaotic sounds of war everything you hear is top-notch, and every gun shot or melee feels outstanding. Tweaks to the gameplay like the ability to slide to cover, destroy more of the environment, carry three weapons, companion revives, and so on make the experience less nerve racking and difficult but ultimately make it all more enjoyable. Vehicle sections are fun and action packed, and new weapons like the WASP or jetpack add news and interesting ways to eliminate your foes. Though Killzone 2 was entirely in an urban setting 3 takes you to a multitude of drastically different locations with unique obstacles that will require you to use jetpacks, stealth, and more to pass them; none of the levels particular complications feel tacked on and enjoyably add to the games excitement and diversity. The former urban setting added to the action and tension due to its close quarters combat, but 3's level diversity (some of which is close quarters) keeps the fighting thrilling. The Helghast is still the most intelligent and blood thirsty AI out there and friendly ISA troopers are surprisingly astute, and even though the battles are on a smaller scale than 2 both perform impressively and further contribute to the general feeling of war.
Though I spent half the review expressing my displeasure with the presentation of the plot Killzone 3 is a superb game and very worthy sequel, and it's just that I'm so incredibly disappointed that a fantastic setting such as this isn't being adequately represented in the story that I dragged the subject out so long. 3 retains everything that made 2 one the best FPS's and games in general ever and adds to it's formula in new and exciting ways, and if Guerrilla manages to make future Killzone's story as good as their gameplay gamers are going to be in for one hell of a treat.
(single player, veteran difficulty)
Killzone 2 may be the most improved sequel I have ever seen, by itself it is an amazing game but once you take a look back at what it it used to be you'll see that Guerrilla Games pulled out all the stops to correct their past mistakes. Everything has been revamped to allow you to truly experience the intensity of future war; Killzone promised it but Killzone 2 delivered through it's killer AI, intense battles, gorgeous visuals, tight controls, varied/intricate maps, crisp sound. good implementation of lore, and slightly better story/characters.
The first thing you will notice about Killzone 2 is it's beautiful scenery and impeccably crafted maps, but this awe will be fleeting for as soon as you land on Helghan you'll be eyeing the map for ways to fend off the hordes of Helghast instead of sightseeing. Even your strategic appraisals will need to be smart and swift because the blood thirsty and intelligent A.I. will be gunning at you and your comrades with everything they got and with every second they can spare without every really putting themselves at risk. Though you take the role of an exceptional trooper the game does not spare you the harsh reality of modern combat, you're just one of millions of troopers and if you do not play it smart and stay efficiently aggressive chances are you won't make it, and even if you perform perfectly shit still happens and your life will put to an end in an instant due to the cruelest of luck. The only comforts you'll find in the relentless stress of combat are the sound and touch of your varied weapons and the momentary relief of a completed objective.
The original Killzone presented us an awesome and unique setting but did little to immerse the gamer into its world, but 2 resolves this by educating you about and familiarizing you with its bleak but exciting world and makes the whole experience bearable with a decent story. Still the head Helghast are the only intriguing characters but thankfully the ISA marines are a good bit less cliche in their persona's and dialogue, unfortunately though for reasons well beyond be Guerrilla decided to reinstate Rico and even give him a bigger role; Rico is an abomination and should be struck from the history book of video games, I have never wanted to sew the mouth shut of a character so badly in all my years of gaming. The plot is nothing jaw dropping but is still okay to good and will keep you mildly interested throughout the campaign. The biggest tools of the plot though are the sights, sounds, and emotions of the Helghan invasion. The combat allows you to feel the raw desperation, anxiety, sorrow, fear, and hatred of the conflict, and the in-fight chatter lets you really feel the complete disgust each side has for one another; this becomes infectious and makes every kill thrilling because your relieved you came out alive and that you could exact vengeance on the people who have and continue to pain so much.
Killzone 2 is a arduous and thrilling experience that'll keep every hair on your body standing straight up all the way through your journey, but a less than riveting plot and some flawed characters and dialogue pieces keep it from being perfect.
(Only played single player on hard)
Killzone introduces the gamer to a dark and interesting future with infinite potential to enthrall, but then refuses to explain anymore of the settings intricacies and robs most of your interest with it's dull story telling. As the title suggests the plot goes downhill immediately after the pre-menu cutscene, for you are then thrown into a world of cliche characters and dialogue made worse through they're bland voice acting. You're fed a cutscene at the beginning and end of each level (occasionally in between) to assure their is a reason for your actions, but the aforementioned cliche dialogue and meh voice acting coupled with a lack of real drama and plot twists (except for one that's painfully obvious) make each one largely forgettable. I hate to continuously reuse a word but utterly cliche is the only way to describe every main or supporting character, it seemed as though the developers chose every character from the book of action movie archetypes and slapped them in the game without any personal touches. To be honest though through out the course of the game those unoriginal heroes started to grow on me, and despite their banality I was oddly curious about the futures of each once the game concluded (though to be fair I'd probably feel that way about most characters after 10 or so dedicated hours).
I am as dedicated a gamer there is but first and foremost I am a story junkie, so once I discovered that the story of the game was going to be bland and uneventful throughout my heart sunk. Initially I was underwhelmed by the mechanics but as the game progressed I was sucked into its ceaseless simplistic pleasure. Yes I'm a sucker for good ol' simple combat no puzzle solving, no backtracking, just eyes ahead pointing and shooting and by the end of Killzone you will have pointed at, shot, and elminiated hundreds if not thousands of Helghast. Though their aren't an overabundance of weapons, each tool of destruction feels great and besides the knife are useful (which is saying a lot considering all the throwaway weapons you typically find in shooters). Every map is varied and keeps your gameplay fresh by introducing multiple strategic possibles every couple of yard, and keeps you on your toes. You have four reasonably different characters to choose from and each will be presented different (not drastically) approaches and dialogue (sometimes even cutscenes) that'll give you some incentive to replay the levels once you finish the game. The Helghast have good AI, brutal accuracy, and diverse classes of units and vehicles with varying weaponry that will force you to stay alert to their movement and your surroundings, cautious of your health, and effectively aggressive to keep them from crushing you. The voice of the Helghast troopers are the best in the game and though their chatter is incessantly reused it never gets old to hear their ranting and screams of terror; yes, for some reason extinguishing the life of space faring Nazi's is incredibly gratifying every single time, maybe this is owed to their hardiness and the strategy/patience it takes to orchestrate their demise.
At the beginning I was determined to show Killzone no mercy for its weak plot and characters and its complete failure to remotely realize the setting's potential, but after I moved from battlefield to battlefield I fell for its simple but simultaneously strategic gun play and novel worthy universe. Even though its story is unremarkable Killzone is a good enjoyable game that I would recommend to any FPS fan, and thankfully the guys at Guerrila Games were allowed to put their ambition in one more shot and created one of Sony's most highly received and popular franchises.
Saints Row can no longer be accurately referred to as a "GTA Clone", with the entry IV Saints Row has finished the identity forging that The Third began. Endless customization, wacky and self aware plot; setting; and characters, insane combat/weapons, and countless incentives to experience the world and complete its crazy activities defines the new Saints Row franchise.
Saints Row IV encompasses all these traits and adds to them thanks to the leniency it's digital/extraterrestrial plot allows. The inconveniences of reality are left at the gateway of the simulation, homies and vehicles instantly appear with a phone call and supernatural abilities give you the edge against enemies and traffic. Your new powers make your commute to actives and missions very enjoyable and will likely replace any desire for you to ever enter a standard vehicle again, your powers will also allow you to torture enemies, citizens, and the architecture of the city in whole new ways. Luckily I never felt "too" powerful throughout the game (I played on hard) because the Zin are often able to compensate for your new absurd abilities, and as you conquer more of the city and upgrade your character your experience will become much more enjoyable but the Zin will answer your strengths with more powerful foes as the story progresses. As I said the benefits of your conquest will greatly add to your fun, but the side objectives in your way makes getting those benefits a very fun ride. The riff raff of activities from previous installments have fortunately been replaced by numerous extensions of the mayhem activity and power challenges (excluding insurance fraud); instead of outrunning paparazzi you'll be annihilating opposition with tanks, ufo's, mech suits, blackholes, and your trusty super powers or putting your powers to the the test in rifts, timed races, fight clubs, and the trials of Professor Genki. Hacking shops is forgettable but Zin targets are varied and entertaining; unfortunately most side objectives no longer have the mini stories that the previous games had and contribute to the games lacking story.
Saints Row IV plot has abandoned practically any trace of drama the already lighthearted series once had, and I while I believe every game should at least have something in its writing to keep the player interested the comedy and enthusiastic characters give you enough reason to continue. The story suits the series perfectly but sadly the majority of it is hardly fleshed out. The game starts out well and has strong points throughout but the majority of the plot is presented through calls from your home ship and most optional pursuits lack even that; constant cut scenes aren't necessary to properly present the story but phone calls aren't enough to keep most players enthralled with the story. The inadequacies of the story hinders many of the missions structure as well, resulting many parts of your adventure feel a bit dull.
Saints Row IV is a very fun game with tons of stuff to do that will keep you and your friends very entertained for a long time, but suffers from a weak plot. While the combat and multitude of varied actives are highly enjoyable they suffer from a repetitiveness that doesn't halt your fun but does not keep you dazzled later on in the game. Even with its failings Saints Row IV is a tremendous value that will give you a humorous and lasting over-the-top experience that you will likely give another go to try out the co-op or delve in to the hilarity once more.
So long as Volition is not concerned with realism Saints Row has a very bright future now that they've fully embraced it's identity. Now that the Saints have the technology to travel through space (and who knows what else) opportunities are endless for potential sequels (exploring alien cities and fighting new species would be awesome), but if the developers want a break or no longer feel comfortable with expanding the same story a spiritual successor to the series would be fantastic as well (possibly a fantasy setting?). Either way the next step to advance the outrageous gameplay of Saints Row is to add the environment destruction of Red Faction, and once they combine that with a better fleshed out story fans will be treated to something extraordinary.