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Halo 2 Review

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I've already completed Halo 2, Batman: Arkham City and started playing Call of Duty 4. I decided that I should review at least Halo 2 before going further into other games, so here's the review; it is much shorter than I thought it would, but not too bad either, I think. Enjoy!


HALO 2 - For PC - Review by Bamul

Rating: 7.5/10

Difficulty:Just Right
Time Spent:10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:"Almost, but not quite"

Halo: Combat Evolved was a huge game back in 2001, and its PC port in 2003 was even better! It was a revolutionary game. While it wasn't wholly original in most aspects (except some; such as regenerative shields), it widely propagated the first-person shooter genre for the consoles that was already famous on PC. Halo's success as a launch title for the first XBOX led to the general achievement of the whole console, and without it, perhaps there wouldn't even be an Xbox 360. Overall, it was a fantastic game and it was popular for good reasons. In 2004, the sequel to that product of shining quality - entitled Halo 2 - was released for XBOX, with the PC version arriving three years later, in 2007. Does the follow-up expand upon its predecessor's grand ideas? Does the PC port live up to its expectations?

Halo 2's story starts off in two different places, one starring the Master Chief and the other with a new playable character - a Covenant Elite. The plot from Master Chief's perspective begins during a reward ceremony, when a sudden attempt at invading Earth is made by a fraction of the Covenant forces. On the other hand; the Elite's narrative starts with him being stripped of his rank, branded a heretic for failing to stop the humans from destroying Halo, tortured by the Chieftain of the Covenant Brutes and on the way to being executed. Of course, things get complicated; the plot thickens as it all eventually leads to the discovery of another Halo ring. The player takes control of both Master Chief and the Elite at different points throughout the singleplayer campaign; witnessing the events leading up to the finding of the second ringworld and what comes after.

I've heard Halo 2 being criticized for its "disappointing story", but if you ask me, it's actually surprisingly good. Obviously I mean "surprisingly good" for a shooter. There's no master storytelling to be found in this sequel, but the plot is certainly a lot more interesting than the first Halo's was and the characters' personalities have seen some more extensive development, making them easier to relate to. Unfortunately, Master Chief is still the cliché badass who is devoid of any interesting things to say, but I guess that's pretty much required from protagonists of shooters.

The gameplay has remained very similar to that of Halo: Combat Evolved, meaning that it's still the same type of entertainment. As long as you don't expect too many novel features, you'll still have plenty of fun playing Halo 2. Something that unfortunately hasn't been improved from the first Halo is the "light" feeling of most weapons. Whether it's because the sound effects aren't powerful enough or the recoil seems too weak, guns in this game just don't pack enough of a punch. This sure does make you feel like you're using modern weaponry, but it just isn't awesome enough. Fortunately, not all of the weapons are like that and some of the alien armaments are especially exciting to use. Melee blows seem to lack impact half of the time, yet when they don't, they're really good.

Variety in both the Arbiter's and Master Chief's arsenals is nice, from shotguns and plasma pistols to rocket launchers and plasma rifles. There is a larger number of interesting arms to use than there was in the first game and some of them can even be dual-wielded. This adds to the "cool factor" and is, all things considered, a wonderful addition that was absent from the first Halo's combat. Driveable vehicles are still in the game; however the controls are a bit different this time around. The Warthog has seen the most change - controlling it is much less "floaty", making it not as unique as it used to be yet also much easier to manoeuvre. All of the controls related to shooting are still a bit unusual for a PC FPS and it takes time to get used to them. Nevertheless, it is still nice to see developers trying something original that actually works.

Halo 2's graphics are great for a console shooter released in 2004, but for a PC game in 2007, they simply can't compete with that of modern releases. And that's precisely why Microsoft did some improvements. A superior frame rate, improved textures, widescreen support and smoother edges are some of the visual features that were absent from the console version… but is that really enough? Unfortunately not; games like Crysis were released for PC in 2007 and Halo 2 can't even be compared to that. Naturally, as long as you keep in mind that the game's content is originally that of a 2004 XBOX game, it won't bother you as the game certainly doesn't look that bad at all.

The audio design of Halo 2 is irrefutably great. The use of the game's soundtrack is much more frequent than it was back in Halo: Combat Evolved. All of the music from the soundtrack matches the action in the gameplay, making each big battle feel epic. Most of the firearms also sound good, but some of them just lack the energy to make them feel believable - thus sometimes breaking the immersion. Each character's voice acting is very well-done, giving spoken lines the personality they need.

Now, let's review everything this game has to offer.

GAMEPLAY - 8.5/10 (Great)
The singleplayer campaign is a ton of fun and strikes a perfect balance between easy and hard. On the other hand, it's a little too much like its predecessor.

STABILITY - 10/10 (Marvellous)
An improved frame rate, and pretty much no bugs or glitches whatsoever, make Halo 2 a very well-designed and technologically stable game.

STORY - 7.5/10 (Good)
This time around, the characters are much more interesting, the plot is more engaging and the story is overall better; however it's still all quite predictable.

GRAPHICS - 5/10 (Mediocre)
I have to give credit to Bungie for the graphics in 2004, but Microsoft simply didn't include enough improvements in their 2007 port of this game.

SOUND - 8.5/10 (Great)
Some of the sound effects are unsatisfactory, but the quality of the voice acting and the really impressive soundtrack more than make up for it.

LONGEVITY - 8/10 (Impressive)
The campaign is of surprisingly satisfying length, but the multiplayer (while good) is not anything special and it's very biased towards those who use controllers.

At the end of the day, Halo 2 for PC is better than it was for XBOX. However, that is only because there was time to progress, and because computer hardware is capable of running more visually impressive games than consoles. With that said, Halo 2 simply isn't as brilliant in 2007 as it was back in 2004. Had it been released for PC in 2004, I would have given this game a rating of 8.5/10. Nonetheless, Halo 2 is still a cla$$ic that should be played by those who missed its first announcement. If you want to see what the Halo franchise used to be like, don't hesitate to buy this game. This game is worth it - you can get it pretty cheap, and it comes with the multiplayer map pack and map editor on the same disc. As long as you don't expect anything as revolutionary as Halo: Combat Evolved and as gorgeous as Crysis, that tells a story as amazing as The Witcher 2 and has multiplayer that's as addictive as Call of Duty 4, you will find a very good and entertaining FPS.

OVERALL RATING - 7.5/10 (Good)


If you thought this review was good, please give me a thumbs-up here:http://uk.gamespot.com/halo-2/user-reviews/784503/platform/pc
My Killzone 3 review didn't get many readers, so I'll remind everyone that it is in my previous blog post. Thanks for reading and have a nice day. ;)

More New Games + Killzone 3 Review

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Hey everyone, hope you had a good time yesterday and are still having a good time today. ;) I enjoyed yesterday loads and I got plenty of really cool gifts, but since this is a gaming blog, I'll only mention the gaming presents. :P Halo 2 (PC), Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PC), Crysis 2 (PC) and Batman: Arkham City (PS3). I'm really happy about all of these and looking forward to playing them - I'm already well on my way through HAlo 2. :D Before Christmas, I've completed Killzone 3 and played a lot of its multiplayer; so I decided to write a review of it and I bring it to you today. Borderlands, on the other hand, didn't hook me in as much as I hoped it would - so the review on that will have to wait. :P


KILLZONE 3 - For PS3 - Review by Bamul

Rating: 9/10

An astonishing (albeit unoriginal) first-person shooter, a great sequel and one of the finest PS Move compatible titles.

Difficulty: Hard

Time Spent: 20 to 40 Hours

The Bottom Line: "Amazing"

Killzone 2 was a huge success. A first-person shooter that improved upon so many of its predecessor's shortcomings and then did so much more in addition to upgrading the shooter's formula. Killzone 2 was (arguably) the most visually-astounding game of 2009. It was also very unique, making the player feel like a real soldier on a real battlefield, with "weighty" movement and aiming controls that made the game stand out from the sea of cliché shooters. And now that Guerrilla Games brought us the next instalment in the series, all of this makes you wonder if the sequel - Killzone 3 - could ever live up to such high expectations. So… does it?

Contrary to what you have most probably heard from the critics regarding the game's story, the plot of Killzone 3 is nowhere near as terrible as so many people love to say. The game picks up just after the point at which Killzone 2 finished; Scolar Visari is dead, yet the war between ISA and Helghast forces is far from over. It seems that the battle is inevitably lost for the ISA units remaining on Helghan, thus their command issues an order for everyone to retreat, get off the planet and return to the main fleet as soon as possible. With their leader dead, various political factions of the Helghast strive to gain control of Visari's throne. Things aren't looking good for protagonist Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko and his loyal comrade-in-arms, Rico Velasquez. As the firm grip of Helghan talons tightens around the throat of the ISA unit, the duo soon find themselves outnumbered, outgunned and overwhelmed by more & more Helghast troopers. The journey to get off the planet takes much longer than anticipated. In addition, on the way, things get complicated to such an extent that the team is forced to adjust their plan numerous times. The whole struggle ends with a grand finale of unexpected events that all fans of Star Wars will thoroughly enjoy.

So, unsurprisingly, Killzone 3's story is nothing special. There isn't anywhere near as many plot twists here as you'd find in BioShock, there is no extended lore or codex section like in Mass Effect or Dragon Age and you definitely shouldn't expect the depth of storytelling that you might have come to expect from games after playing The Witcher 2. On the other hand, as long as you remember that Killzone 3 isn't a role-playing game but a shooter, you will most probably enjoy watching its narrative play out. The characters could have been much more fleshed-out with deeply developed personalities and less stereotypical behaviour, but most of them are still likeable and once you start playing the game and get to know them a little better, you will start caring about what happens to them. The good guys (the ISA soldiers) have some nice lines, but no extraordinary writing is present in dialogue. The main baddies (the leaders of the Helghast) are portrayed as "space-Nazis"; I mean this in a good way, for the reason that this visualization of the Helghast actually helps in making them even more sinister and ideal for the rival role that they play in the game's story. On the whole, the plot of the game is decent and much better than what most critics say, yet it's nothing quite grand either.

Killzone 3 makes up for what it lacks in story through other aspects, such as gameplay and visuals… but let's talk about gameplay first. Killzone 2 was famous (though in some cases of baffling idiotism, infamous) for its awesome "weighty" feel. Most actions in the game were slower than what you'd expect from a war shooter. When you ran, you felt like you were wearing body armour and carrying weapons & grenades. When you looked around, you turned at realistic speeds etc. Unfortunately, this sensation is slightly reduced in the sequel. However, everything still feels much more realistic and has weight, unlike in all the other modern shooter releases of 2011. Besides, if the small change really bugs you that much, you can always go into the settings and reduce the sensitivity of the analog stick to make the game feel more like its predecessor.

There are still plenty of guns to use and all of them feel satisfying. Each weapon packs a punch and has some recoil & weight to it. In addition, all of them have been crafted with amazing attention to detail and it shows. Also, it's not just all the same old stuff we've seen before - there are some variations of already existing weapons and completely new guns added in as well (one such example of the latter is the "StA-5X Irradiated Petrusite Cannon", which makes your enemies explode in clouds of bloody mist)! Of course, the combat wouldn't be fun at all if your adversaries didn't react to all of this powerful weaponry. With that said, the enemy AI is excellent. The Helghast will adapt quickly, always trying to flank you when they get a chance and using cover wisely in their offensive and defensive moves. Killzone 3 is best played on the "Trooper" (medium) level of difficulty, which offers quite a bit of challenge at times without feeling too unforgiving, whilst keeping the campaign going at a steady pace and not being too easy.

One major, large new addition to the series' formula are brutal melee kills. These can be performed on enemies when the player is close to them. Brutal melee kills vary from cla$$ic stealth kills like backstabs, throat-slitting to chest stabbing and poking people's eyes out. Yes, it's brutal, it's bloody and it's extremely satisfying in a terrifyingly worrying way. What's great about melee kills apart from how they are executed and presented is that they can be done both on enemies in singleplayer and on other players in multiplayer - for additional points. Ah yes, multiplayer… but we'll get to that later. These melee kills don't always work as intended but they are more than functional most of the time.

The thing that stands out the most about every game at first and often clouds our judgement of choosing which product to buy is time and again its visual design, art $tyle and graphics. As expected from a successor to a game as beautiful as Killzone 2, Killzone 3 looks stunning. The dynamic weather effects, spectacular particle system, striking attention to detail, energetic & lifelike animations, sharp & clear edges, authentic full-body awareness, extensive lighting & shadow effects as well as outstanding level design stand out throughout the whole experience and make you feel like you're precisely there, right in the middle of all the explosive action. Furthermore, the levels created using these gorgeous technological features are more varied than Killzone 2's environs. In KZ3's singleplayer campaign, you will get to wade through a city in ruins after the utilization of nuclear weaponry, a blanket of snow ensnared by chaos, an exotic jungle riddled with military outposts and guerrilla fighters, along with numerous other varied environments and battlegrounds.

The audio design of Killzone 3 is great. The entire soundtrack is somewhat epic. Each theme fits different sections of the game remarkably; at times, I felt like I was listening to the music of Uncharted, Inception, Star Wars or even Medal of Honor: European Assault. The sound effects are immensely convincing - every shot from your weapon and every explosion you hear are recorded with such awesome quality - they help to immerse the player in the heat of battle even further. Voice acting for most characters is very good and gives all of the team members (as well as the villains) their personalities. Multiplayer is chaotic with all the shooting and stabbing, the glorious sound effects make it even better. Overall, the audio design of this game is exceptional and while the music is especially fantastic, the only problem that I have with it is that it isn't original.

Now let me tell you about the multiplayer. First of all, the whole singleplayer campaign can be played in local co-op through splitscreen. It's really fun blasting your way through Killzone 3 with a friend you know, but the frame rate often drops to levels lower than it ever does when played alone. Also, there is no online co-op - which is a bummer. Alternatively there's the competitive, online multiplayer and it is immensely fun & addictive to play. As opposed to Killzone 2 which had unlockables that the player gained access to as he or she played more of the multiplayer and gained more points, in Killzone 3 there are five cla$$es to choose from. Each cla$$ has its own weapons and special abilities, all of which can be unlocked in any order the player wants using points gained by rising through ranks. Players advance in rank by gaining XP through killing other players, scoring headshots, reviving other players, repairing broken gear, performing brutal melee kills on opponents etc. Additionally, the variety of game modes and maps makes each match feel fresh and keeps the multiplayer from ever getting stale or boring.

What's very surprising and unexpected about Killzone 3 is that you can play through its whole singleplayer campaign using the Dualshock 3 controller or the PlayStation Move. The standard controls are easy to learn and use. The controls for PS Move are a bit different. Of course it is a bit more difficult to turn with precision (as you normally would using an analog stick), but the shooting is just as satisfying and even adds to the accuracy. Generally, the motion controls for Killzone 3 are as good as you can get for a shooter with Move support, meaning that they're very fun and worth a try if you're interested, but on the whole, the standard Dualshock PS3 controller is the better way to play the game.

To sum up everything this game has to offer:

GAMEPLAY - 9.5/10 (Incredible)

A brilliant campaign and superb multiplayer that both make use of the game's mechanics provide a generally well-polished and well-rounded experience.

STABILITY - 8.5/10 (Great)
With few graphical glitches and no bugs encountered in my playthroughs, as well as noticeable fps drops present only in co-op mode, Killzone 3 is very stable.

STORY - 7/10 (Decent)
The characters are likeable and the plot is engaging, but none of it is that original and most of the outcomes during the story are not very surprising.

GRAPHICS - 10/10 (Marvellous)
Without question, this is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and technologically advanced games ever released for the consoles; as of 2011 and earlier.

SOUND - 8.5/10 (Great)
Killzone 3 has really nice voice acting, terrific sound design and magnificent music, but the soundtrack isn't original and sometimes too reminiscent of other games.

LONGEVITY - 9/10 (Outstanding)
The campaign is at around 7 hours in length… but then there's local co-op, PlayStation Move support and the awesome online multiplayer features.

Taking everything into account, Killzone 3 is both one step forwards and one step backwards from Killzone 2. If you are a dedicated fan of the series, you will love this game. However, if you thought that Killzone 2 was perfect then some of the changes will be a bit of a shock to you. Then again, none of the modifications or additions are radical enough to make a devoted fan hate the game. If you're completely new to the series, then it won't make much difference to you at all and you will appreciate Killzone 3 for what it is… an astonishing (albeit unoriginal) first-person shooter, a great sequel and one of the finest PS Move compatible titles.

OVERALL RATING - 9/10 (Outstanding)


Thanks for reading, please give me thumbs up for this review at:http://uk.gamespot.com/killzone-3/user-reviews/784181, if you deem it worthy of positive feedback. One again, thanks for reading and have a nice day. ;)

-Bamul

Merry Christmas and all that stuff :P

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Just writing a blog for everyone, wishing you a happy time for whatever it is you do on the 24th/25th of December - be it a religion, tradition, both, something completely different or nothing at all. ;)

Two New Games!

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Today, I bought two new games! :D They are both for PlayStation 3 (pre-owned copies; I got them through a special deal: 2 for 20 quid). Considering the fact that one of the games was released in early 2011 (the other in 2009), I'd say it was a very good bargain. :) Overall, I'm happy with the purchase... especially because of the fact that they're both 18+ games. Well, not because they're 18+ games, but because I managed to get them on my own. When I have money, I usually go shopping with one of my parents and/or my older brother, in case the game/movie/album I want is an 18. When I go without money, just to look around, I usually go alone. However, today I had some cash and decided to go by myself anyway and now, around one and a half months after I turned 15, someone sold to me two video games that were rated 18+ not only without asking for ID, but without even asking me a question about my age. :cool: I'm guessing it was the facial hair that fooled him into believing I was at least 3 years older than I really am. :lol:

Anyway, that's enough of a backstory for buying two games. xD Below are the games I got:

Borderlands PlayStation 3

I've heard lots of good things about this one - from both school friends and internet friends! :D When it was released, it didn't really interest me that much. It was not until the "game of the year" edition was released that I actually started considering purchasing it, and since that time, I've been really looking forward to playing it. This one has local co-op, just like the other game I bought, so that's always a plus that I really like in most video games. I'm not expecting a great story with this one (neither do I expect such a thing from the second game), I bought it more for the awesome gameplay and level/loot progression that I've heard about, rather than the plot and narrative (which, once again, is something I did for my other purchase).

Killzone 3 Collector's Edition PlayStation 3

Yes, I received the disc and manual encased in the collector's edition box. However, since it's a pre-owned copy, I'm sure that all of the bonuses which may have been included in the original publication are gone... that is, unless they are located on the disc and if so, I'm extremely lucky. :D Anyway, I've fallen in love with Killzone 3 before ever even playing the game itself. The demo completely sold it to me. The beautiful visuals, smooth but realistic movement/aiming and extremely addictive gameplay. Also, the game comes with PlayStation Move compatibility and that's great since it will be the first, full (non-demo) game I'll be able to play with my PS Move controller. :) In addition, split-screen, local co-op is a feature that's long forgotten in most of the modern games released lately and it's something that has been included in Killzone 3, which I'm really looking forward to - blasting my way through the campaign with my brother should be very fun.

Among other events, I went on a trip to Edinburgh with 2 friends and 5 colleagues from school yesterday. It was fun, but we didn't do much while we were there. However, we were all together and it was fun being out with people & far away from the local $hithole that the town where I live is. Note: when I say $hithole, I don't mean that the place is bad by itself, I mean that it's the local a$$holes (and David Cameron, of course) who make the area a dirty, uninteresting, smelly and dangerous place to live in.

I guess that's all for today - thanks for reading; have a nice day and enjoy life. ;)

-Bamul

Let's Play: Skyrim (2)

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Remember that Let's Play vid I made of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - a few days ago - for Gaming For Dummies? Well, today I bring you the second episode:http://what-the-game.forumotion.co.uk/t144-let-s-play-skyrim-2As always, I'd like to ask everyone who finds the video interesting to subscribe, send us (the whole team) or just me some feedback and get involved on our forum and its numerous threads.

Also, one more thing; in case any of you missed my previous update: I have finished writing my review of Skyrim. It's really long but if you do read it, I'd appreciate any thumbs-up and/or comments on this blog regarding the review. Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more videos from us in the near future and have a nice day. ;)

-Bamul

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review... FINALLY!

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It's finally here - and it was even more of a pain the ass to write than I thought it would be. :x Please... Read... Review... I... Need... Rest. :P I actually do feel quite tired, I guess it's just too much reading and correcting for today. I don't even feel like playing Skyrim anymore. :o :lol: This is my longest review ever, at over 4500 words (almost twice the size of my review of Fallout: New Vegas). As opposed to my usual reviews, which I try to make as short and informative as possible, I went all out on this one.

The review was too long to post in one blog post (limit is 20000 character, the review and this would be at around 28566). :lol: Instead of posting it in two parts, I'll just give you the linkhere.Please, if you deem this review worthy of a thumbs-up, then give me some please.I really did put a lot of effort into this one and I'd appreciate any feedback, comments and thumbs in return.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your day. ;)

-Bamul

Let's Play: Skyrim (1)

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I've finally released my first video of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - it's the first in series of Let's Plays that I plan on doing. Here's the link:http://what-the-game.forumotion.co.uk/t138-let-s-play-skyrim-1#482

Please remember to watch, like, comment and subscribe. Even better if you join our forum and start posting. :D Thanks for reading and enjoy your day. ;)

-Bamul

PS: I've already written over 3500 words for my review of Skyrim, so I should be finished quite soon. :cool:

Just Completed Skyrim

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Of course, by "Completed Skyrim", I mean that I just finished the main quest. :P And it is - in short - EPIC. Fantastic, Elder Scrolls material. The writing is even better than it was in Oblivion. Anyway, I will keep playing the game since Steam claims I've played 83 hours of it - yet I haven't completed even 10 side quests yet. :lol: Of course, I have completed a crapload ofmiscellaneoustasks; but those don't really count as quests. So now that I've finished the game's main story, I shall begin the very long & painful process of reviewing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim... Oh and how painful it will be! :x This will probably be the biggest game I'll ever review.

By the way, in case you're wondering, I play as a level 33 Argonian. For combat, I wear heavy armour and dual wield two, one-handed weapons (I chose to stick with swords), occasionally throwing in some destruction magic and sometimes healing with restoration. However, I'm thinking of practising my archery skills. How do you guys & girls play Skyrim and what do you think of the game? Leave your answers in the comment section below. ;)

Thanks for reading, have a nice day and enjoy hammering SKYRIM! :D

-Bamul

Skyrim...

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Sometimes I can't stop playing it. :x

Extinction...

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A rare subspecies of the Black Rhino (the Western Black Rhinoceros) has recently become extinct... I hate the human race! :cry:

We will never see any more of these beauties. :( I'm beginning to fear that there will be on animals left on this planet for my future kids to see...