Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Quick summary: You play Starkiller, a Jedi in training, kidnapped by Darth Vader when he was younger and becomes his apprentice. You go through the game doing Darth Vader’s bidding until **SPOILER** he tries to kill you… twice lol.

Hearing all the wonderful things my friends told me about this game, I was quite excited to play it. Now, maybe it was all the hype and positive reviews that got me a little OVER excited (I love Star Wars) but once I finally got my hands on this to play it (a few years later mind you) I was kinda disappointed. It definitely was no Knights of the Old Republic.

The graphics in this game weren’t that great. I mean I’ve seen worse, but it reminded me of the CSI game that I had rented and played a few months before (ok, ok, not that bad but STILL). The story didn’t get me that enthralled (although interesting at times) and the characters didn’t get me that attached. I did however, beat this game all the way through but I felt as though I was forcing myself to finish it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars but that’s pretty much the only reason I finished this game.

Developer – Lucas Arts  | Publisher – Lucas Arts  | Release Date – 09/16/2008 |
Genre– Action  | Mode – Single, Multi | Rating – T | Go to Official Page  |  Buy Now!

I did like the very first level when you play as Darth Vader. You are pretty much invincible and can blow almost the whole environment to pieces with the Force. When it came to combat because you had your enemies with the health bars over their head and you could run up and hit them with your light saber or use the force to throw things in the environment at them. The rest of the game was fun for the first few hours but quickly got repetitive.

There were little holocrons and things you could collect throughout the game that would allow you to upgrade your force powers, learn combos, light saber powers, etc. There were some cool combos and force powers you could earn later on in the game as well as finding different light saber colors (never did find the pinkish purple color though :()

There were only about 10 levels (if I remember right) and they were relatively short. Each world you went to had their own species that lived on them and there was always a boss fight at the end. I did experience a glitch on one of these boss fights that ended up being quite annoying. The glitch was during the final boss fight with Darth Vader. You encounter him and have a fight outside where he then busts open a door and Vader jumps over (lava?) to the middle of the room on a platform and you have to shield from him throwing pieces of things at you. I would get him to the point of where it would almost go onto the next part of the fight (he would jump from the middle platform to a longer platform to where I could fight him with my light saber) and it would freeze. He would just stand there on the middle platform as I ran around him. I could jump over and hit him, throw things at him, try to blow him off into the lava, but he would just stand there. I would have to kill myself by jumping in the – (lava stuff?) – or restart the game which sent me all the way to the beginning of the Vader fight. This glitch happened to me about 10 times. Did anyone else have this happen?

Overall, it was entertaining I guess. Definitely wouldn’t buy this game even though it’s about $12 on Amazon unless you’re a very avid Star Wars fan. It was a decent rent however. It took me probably about 8 hours or so to beat it and get a good amount of achievements. But, it wasn’t one of those games I would want to play over and over again. Although, the replay ability of this game is good because there is a light and dark ending as well as achievements you can rack up through several play-throughs and some DLC.

I will probably try Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 just to see what improvements, if any, have been made and I’ll let you know what I think! Did this game live up to your guy’s expectations?

Love,
Twinky

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

 

Okay guys, I am not going to make this review as long as I would some others but I thought there should be a few points mentioned in case anyone wants to purchase this game in todays time (2011) that one might find annoying (yes, yes, I am trying to catch up on my back log of games).

Taking a lot from the first Viva Piñata, (one of my personal favorites I may add) comes Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. Essentially it is the original game with a few upgrades. These upgrades being two new garden worlds, artic and desert, where you can entice piñatas and hopefully capture them and bring them back to your main garden, which looks exactly like the garden in the first game. There are a few new piñatas and also some more mini games such as a beauty contest and a race.

Developer – Rare | Publisher – Microsoft Game Studio | Composer – Grant Kirhope | Platform – 360 | Release Date – September 2nd, 2008 | Genre – Life Simulation | Mode – Single, Cop-op(2-4) | Rating – E | Visit Official Site  | Buy Now!

You get the same type of shops with the exception of a few new ones and the game basically relies on challenges because you are trying to help Piñata Central rebuild their piñata databases after the evil Professor Pester destroys them all. So you must entice and capture the Piñatas, give them a Joy Candy (full happiness meter), and send them on their way.

Now, little did I realize when I received this is that Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise relies on an Xbox Vision Cam to import cards and certain Piñata’s into the game. This wouldn’t be a big deal but now that the Kinect is out you can rarely find them in stores (with exception of Ebay of course :)) and no, Kinect does NOT work for this (trust me I tried for pure curiosity). This I must say is a pain. Of course I want all the cute little cards and rare piñatas that I can get from scanning but who in the world actually has an Xbox Vision Cam still?! Luckily, my friend did. He let me borrow it and I learned scanning the cards are not as easy as I hoped they would be. It takes a lot of positioning and angling to get the cards to go through but, you can scan from your computer without printing out the extra cards and it still works! Although relying on the Xbox Vision Cam to scan the cards was annoying, for the pure fact that the cameras are harder to find now, this feature was a neat addition to the game. Another upside is you can get some achievements by scanning and I also found some Dragonache and Choclodocus cards online (some of the harder piñatas to get)!

Example of a Vision Card

Speaking of achievements, another annoying factor about this game is one achievement in particular “Famous Piñata”. I like to try to complete my games in their entirety when I possibly can so this achievement really got to me. For it, you must have a famous piñata and unpack it’s crate to get the achievement. This sounds easy, I know, and it might very well be for some of the luckier players, BUT, having started playing this game a few years later or so it’s not so easy. You basically have to hope you join a game with a player, collect every single award (there are about 800 something), find someone on a forum, or be sent one by one of the developers. WELL, I haven’t had much luck with this one so far and it kind of annoys me but hopefully I will get it one day. ALSO – making your piñata famous yourself (by putting clothes on, etc….) does not count towards this achievement.

Overall, I really like this game as an addition. The cards were a neat idea although requiring an Xbox Vision Cam (an extra and outdated purchase now) but were also not required to play the game (so all is well :)). All the other achievements are relatively easy and it was a fun and relaxing experience and hopefully Viva Piñata 4 will take advantage of the new Kinect.

Love,
Twinky

P.S. – If someone wants the Dragonache or Choclodocus card I’ll be happy to post them :)

Enchanted Arms

Atsuma fighting a golem.

Atsuma fighting a golem

Enchanted Arms follows Atsuma, a young university student who is learning to become an enchanter. One day when him and a couple of friends decide to skip class, there is an earthquake that causes the golems, man-made type creatures (who serve as assistants, etc.…) to begin to attack.

Atsuma and his friends discover that the “Sealed Ward” has been let open where they meet the Queen of Ice, a devil golem, which ends in his friend being kidnapped and Atsuma discovering he has an ability that could possibly end up defeating the Queen of Ice. He then continues on a journey meeting more memorable friends such as Karin, Raigar, and Yuki in order to defeat the Ice Queen and save his friend.

Developer – From Software | Publishers – From Software, Ubisoft | Designers – Masanori Takeuchi | Release Date – (360 – Aug 29, 2006 (US release)) & (Ps3 – April 3, 2007 (US release)) | Genre – Role-playing | Mode – Single & Online | Rating – Teen | Visit Official Site | Buy Now!

Another video game review of a game that came out oh so long ago… but it was oh so good ;-). Now this type of game is not for everyone. If you are into Final Fantasy styled games then this is for you. It relies heavily on turn based fighting but through a grid system. By using this grid system you get to place characters whose elements are stronger in front of the weaker one’s (such as if you are fighting a fire element, you can place your fire character in front of your water one so that she doesn’t obtain as much damage) which comes in handy… trust me *ahem Lord of Earth*. And for those of you who can’t stand walking two steps and getting sucked into a fight (me being one of these!) then you also get to pick up Evade Encounter skill from the Casino (which lets you actually get from point A to point B at a reasonable pace… yay!)

There is also a Pokémon element to this game as well. As you defeat the golems you can pick up their cores and remake them and they can join your party and fight alongside of you and there definitely are some neat ones.

Since it has been a few years since I have played this game I am going to estimate it took me about 30-40 hours to actually beat it. The story is pretty straightforward and the achievements are all story related. There is a dungeon you can go through which can make it a bit longer (I didn’t finish it all the way through) but you can find some pretty cool items and golems while also getting a lot of XP for your final boss fight. There is also a casino element in which you can earn money and special skills.


As for the characters, graphics, and story I must say that I loved them. There are definitely some stranger characters that you wouldn’t normally expect in a game like this (such as Makoto a cross-dresser who is in love with Atsuma) the bosses were all challenging, Lord of Earth and Queen of Ice in her final boss form (8 bosses in 1!) to name a few. The places you traveled fit well with the storyline and the story kept me interested in finishing.

One of the biggest complaints I have though is the tutorial take’s SOOO LONG. The first hour it seems you are just reading through text as people are talking about what you need to do and how to do it. I know this was definitely a turn off for one of my friends who LOVE’S Final Fantasy and even though I know he would love this game as well, he couldn’t get past the long beginning. However, it does speed up if you have the patience.

This game doesn’t have much replay value as mostly everything can be completed in one play through. So it would definitely make a good Gamefly rental because although maybe not completed in a weekend it would probably take you about a week’s time. I ended up giving my copy for a friend to try (which was forever lost :-(). I would, however, add this to my collection again because it was one of those games I just really liked. I also never tried multiplayer which to be honest, I didn’t actually realize they had!

I know of some people who hated it and others who loved it so you’d really have to just give it a shot. I would recommend for those who want an entertaining, Final Fantasy meets Pokémon (hehe) type gaming experience, and easy achievements to take a shot at Enchanted Arms.

It has been awhile since I have played this so if I missed something please let me know and for those of you who need some tips of how to beat the Earth Lord or Queen of Ice you can comment below and I will try to help you as much as possible.

Love always,
Twinky

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Trip, Monkey, and Pigsy on an Adventure!

Trip, Monkey, and Pigsy on an Adventure!

Enslaved is set 150 years into an apocalyptic future where humans are overrun, imprisoned, and killed by machines that were once used for war. You play as Monkey, an overly muscular, half naked guy, who has the climbing abilities of well… a monkey. At the beginning of the game you are imprisoned by Trip, a big-eyed, beautiful, techie who rewires a slave headband and puts it on you. What does this mean you may ask? It means you must help her survive because if she dies… you die. Monkey, having no choice in the matter, agrees to take her back to her homeland where you must solve puzzles, battle the never ending mechs, and much more.

I am actually amazed that I have just now discovered this game. It was released at the end of last year and I hadn’t heard a thing about it until I recently got Gamefly and spotted it in the list of action-adventure games for the 360. It had gotten pretty good reviews across the board and looked interesting enough from the trailer so in it goes in my Queue! A few days later, I am excited to play my Enslaved game that I got in the mail knowing that it had to live up to the reviews… and boy oh boy I was right!

Developer – Ninja Theory  | Publisher – Namco Bandi Games  | Release Date – 10/5/2010 |
Genre– Action-adventure, Platform  | Mode – Single | Rating – T | Go to Official Page  |  Buy Now!

Enslaved had beautiful graphics depicting each of the apocalyptic environments in lush, colorful detail. The characters of Enslaved were also amazing… the facial animations, voice acting (SURPERB job I may add to everyone who did it), and script really helped to bring together these characters and give you an attachment to them (which I can’t say about a lot of games).  You could really feel each characters personality and quirks as you played. As far as music, I couldn’t really tell you what was played throughout the game but the menu music/ end music is what really made the impact, which is No Death In Love – Tina Grace/Nitin Sawhney”.

There are about 14 levels in Enslaved, which don’t really take that long to get through. I played it on hard my first time through (since the difficulty achievements were stackable), which didn’t end up being super hard or anything but still a pain in the @$$ on some parts especially where you get bombarded by enemies with little to no healing items. I would definitely recommend playing on easy first and getting most of the upgrades for Monkey (which do transfer between game plays). But with that said, it still probably only took me 8-10 hours to beat this game and that’s with getting stuck in a few spots on hard. However, I did not take the time to pick up every single orb or mask which could maybe tack on an extra hour (I say a hour because I did have the majority of them in each level). It will tell you on the chapter select main menu how many masks and the percentage of orbs collected, which is a plus for those of you who like to collect (me not really being one of them).

Silly Monkey

The combat system for Enslaved is okay. Monkey has a staff, which you can swing at enemies and that also shoots out different types of plasma bullets, ones that stun the enemies and take down their shields and ones that do damage. The upgrading is done through the orbs you collect throughout the game and can only be done when Trip is present (which she is present a majority of the time) you can do staff upgrades, health, combos, etc. I started out with the health upgrades and other miscellaneous upgrades but later found out that I should have purchased Evade Attack and Counter attack and the penetrating stun gun upgrade (cannot remember the name of this one sorry J) sooner in order to get a couple of achievements in one play through. You also have the ability later on in the game to perform a take-over on the mechs once it’s health gets low, meaning that you have the ability to turn around and use them as an explosive, rip off their guns, etc. Beside the plasma gun, the swinging of the staff, and take-overs, the combat system can get a little repetitive and boring at times but you do have to be wise in what you use and where (or it is when you play it on hard with no upgrades hehe).

There was a part about this game that kind of reminded me of one of my old favorites “ICO”, in the aspect that you had to pick up Trip and carry her, throw her up places, and grab ahold of her so she doesn’t fall. You could also tell Trip to decoy for you and tell her when to come to you. So she is quite a handy companion and also has a shock mechanism for when mechs get to close to her before you have a chance to distract them (but this can only be used against one mech at a time).

There are also a couple puzzle parts and a lot of climbing done by Monkey (obviously : -P). The puzzle parts were never too hard to figure out and luckily, you know exactly where and what to climb because the objects Monkey has to grab onto glow. But even though the climbing is so smooth, you still have to be careful for wiggling pipes and unsecure objects because they will break with you and you will die.

All in all, I really loved this game. Great graphics, voice acting, characters, levels, story… I could go on and on… BUT, it was short and sweet. Which makes it a good rental but not a good buy in my opinion if you want a game with replay value. You can get about two good play through’s out of it, easy and hard, to get all the achievements before it would probably get boring. I only wish it would have been a bit longer. I did notice they had some DLC now with it that I didn’t buy, but I read it adds an extra 4-5 hours. The price of Enslaved has dropped to about $20 now at Gamestop or $10 through Amazon though and it would be a great addition to any game collection for those of you who just loved it, such as myself, or a great rent for those of you who want an amazing gaming experience over the weekend. Add to queue? Yes please!

Love,
Twinky