Monday, December 31, 2007

A rebound from annoyance: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Live Arcade) review


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Okay, I was playing through Assassin's Creed when I got irritated. I will tell you the reason why I stopped playing when I write the review of Assassin's Creed. So, I decided to check out a game that is on the Xbox Live Arcade; Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Castlevania: SotN is the 13th installment of the Castlevania series. The series begins with the ending of Dracula X and then starts with Alucard, the child of Dracula going through Dracula's castle to kill him. Along the while, Alucard will meet a woman, Maria, who is trying to find Richter. Richter was the main character of Dracula X. Along the way, you will fight through hundreds of different monsters and hundreds of rooms. Here is my review:


Graphics – The graphics on Castlevania: SotN are pretty good. Even though SotN is originally for the Sega Saturn and the Playstation, Konami has made improvements and it is now available in High Definition. Everything in this game is just flat out beautiful. The castle, inverted and normal, the enemies, your characters are all done with meticulous detail. The spells that you can perform light up the screen with the brilliant light. The only complaint that I have with the graphics, and it is a small one, is with the map. You use the LT button to bring up the map and when you do, you get a small map that covers the entire screen. This is not a big problem, but there is 1890 rooms in this game. Now, if you want to get the achievement for 200.6%, this really hampers because you can barely see the damn thing. I will give this a grade. I was thinking that I shouldn't because I would be comparing Playstation oranges to 360 apples, but this is definitely deserved.

Grade - A

Controls – The controls of SotN is very good as well. You can use the directional pad or the left analog stick to move, the A button to jump, the B and X are used as each hand. You can carry a sword in the left hand and a shield in the right or have two weapons, the Y button is for a back dash (totally worthless). The RB changes you into a mist (when you pick up the Form of Mist), the LB changes you into a bat (when you pick up the Soul of Bat), the RT changes you into a wolf (when you pick up the Soul of Wolf), and the Lt button brings up the map. The controls are very precise. On some Live Arcade games, it seems like there is a pause between pressing a button and it actually happening on the screen. Not with this one. The best way that I can describe it to you is that you won't feel anything. The controls are perfect.

Grade – A+

Sound – This is another strong part of the game. Michiru Yamane was the composer for this game. Many people believe that this soundtrack is the best soundtrack in all time, not just in the Castlevania universe. The music sets up the story line very well. A mix of the classic gothic style with metal styles makes this a brilliant soundtrack. All of the subtile noises are great. The death noises from monsters, as well as swords striking in the air are done with great care. What doesn't make this perfect is the voice acting. Even though the voice are used sparingly, they are poorly acted out. I felt like I was listening to a grade school production. But, if you can stand maybe 5 minutes of shitty voices, then it is all worth it.

Grade – A-

Challenge – This game gives you a very good challenge. It took me about 10 game hours to get through this game. Of course I used a strategy guide from gamefaqs.com, but who cares. There are some weapons that you can used to make this game just too damn easy, but what is the total fun in that. Every boss battle has his or her own weak spot which you exploit to great lengths (like equipping a Thunder Circlet when battling a boss that shoots out lightning). If you are able to level up your characters early on in the game, then most of the challenge will be on how quickly you can beat it. The real challenge comes when you are almost done with the game and you want to find every one of the 1890 rooms in the game. I will say this: CONSULT A MAP. It is almost impossible to figure out what room you forgot to get without one. Every boss is easy to defeat and you should really just rely on the Fairy familiar for your healing.

Grade – B

Extras – There are very few extras in the game. There are four different endings to the game. When you complete the game, you can try to beat the game using Richter (which is down right impossible). For the Saturn owners, you can play as Maria as well. Sadly, that is about it.

Grade – C

Achievements – Since this is an Xbox Live Arcade, there are 200 achievement points that you can get:
-Defeat 10 consecutive enemies using standard weapons without getting hit. (5 pts.)(you can get this easily in the first room you encounter with the zombies)
-Defeat 10 consecutive enemies using magic without getting hit (5 pts)(I waited until I could transform into mist for a stretch and was able to attack enemies while in mist form and it was easy)
-Defeat 10 consecutive enemies using special weapons without getting hit (10 pts.)(just get the dagger in the first room and hit 10 zombies with it and it's yours)
-Obtain the Bat, Wolf, and Mist transformations (10 pts)(you really need to find these pieces to complete the game, but there not that hard to find)
-Collect all five familiars in the game (10 pts)(all of these familiars are valuable to help you out, so find them)
-Defeat Gaibon and Slogra (10 pts)(it's the first boss of the game...I used the axe special weapon and went after them quickly)
-Defeat Dracula in the Bloodlines stage without getting hit (10 pts)(This was real difficult until I found out that grabbing the Holy Water in Dracula's lair and pressing the Y button releases a devastating attack and can take out Drac and the demon in just three direct hits)
-Unlock/Cast all eight of Alucard's spells (15 pts)(You can purchase 4 from the librarian, but others you must find on your own. Hint: the sword familiar, the Bat form, and the Wolf form have spells specific to them)
-Unlock the inverted castle (20 pts)(This happens when you beat Shaft at Dracula's lair)
-Collect a bank of $100,000 (25 pts)(You can get this two different ways. Every diamond that you find nets you $20,000. You can also equip the Jewel Sword and enemies will drop jewels instead of items. Just sell all of your jewels at one time to pass the $100,000 mark and buy a bunch of shit)
-Explore 200.6% of the game (35 pts)(Like I said earlier in the game: CONSULT A MAP)
-Finish the game, including the inverted castle, as Richter (45 pts)(Almost impossible. He has devastating attacks, but little health and cannot fly. If only there was a way to...)

Overall, Castlevania: SotN is a brilliant example of what game companies can do to make the Xbox Live Arcade a much better enjoyment for all. You can find Castlevania: SotN on Sega Saturn (good luck finding one), Playstation (no longer worth the high price), Xbox Live Arcade for 800 points (great value), and the PSN for $9.99. Get this game.

Overall – A-

Phil-N Rob'd moment of the game: Having to go through the entire map just to find the ONE FUCKING ROOM that you missed. Achievements can be such a bitch!

We have a new feature for Phil-N Rob'd, were now on You Tube (sort of). Just type in “Phil-N Rob'd” to watch ending to several games (including the four for Castlevania: SotN) for free. There is also a video showing you how to get 1000 achievement points in 2 minutes. Also, don't forget to watch us on operator11.com every Sunday at 4:30 Eastern. Peace bitches.

Phillip

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Free Strategy Guides

Okay, I was looking around the internet when I went to this site:

http://www.primagames.com/free/

and I scrolled to the bottom and found four free strategy guides for download. These are for games that are actually not that good, but I think you will live with it.

Phillip

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Episode 12: Gaming Christmas



1000 Achievement Points in 2 Minutes


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When I started looking through Youtube.com while uploading game ending; I came upon a video with 1000 achievement points that you can earn in just 2 minutes. I thought that was just too good to be true so I rented Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth. After putting it in and remembering to just press the B button on the 360, the rest was a piece of cake. Enjoy.


P.S. I would have just uploaded this from Youtube.com, but I just don't know how to.


Phillip

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stealing My Thunder

When I was driving today, I thought I would write to you all and talk about the Virtual Console on the Wii and some things that I think need to happen to it. Well, someone already beat me to it:

http://kotaku.com/335527/two-more-consoles-for-virtual-console

When this article came up, I was shocked that Nintendo had the machines to implant thoughts into your mind as well as happy that they thought of it. Okay, for every Paper Mario or Ocarina of Time, you get Blazing Lasers or Urban Commando. Now, there are thousands of games that are on the consoles covered by the VC. I am in complete shock that there are no Metal Gear for the NES or that Capcom doesn't care about the VC. Nintendo continues to throw shit on the VC and we continue to buy them up. Nintendo also continues to sell the games for a high price. Sonic the Hedgehog for the VC is $8 while Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox Live is only $5; and the Xbox version is much better because you can play them online and they have achievements. Nintendo continues to drop the ball when it comes to satisfying the customer. I am a Wii fan, but come the fuck on.

Don't forget to check out the Phil'N Rob'd Games video podcast on Operator 11 this Sunday at 4:30 PM Eastern, there maybe a BIG surprise for people.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Review

The Playstation 3 has not gotten a lot of love lately. The system is suffering from the lack of exclusive titles. But it seems the clouds have parted and a gem of a game has revealed itself. That game is Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

The graphics in this game are spectacular. You feel like you are in a jungle. The way light shines through the canopy overhead. Small things like taking a swim, and watching your clothing get soaking wet. When a gunshot pass by your character and he flinches.

The game has a few small problems. Drake seems to be floating over the surface of the world, not really running on it. Its really not very noticeable until someone else points it out to you. But that is a tiny gripe.

The story was very entertaining. The characters are likable and the voice acting is top notch. It does not suffer from the terrible voice acting of games from the original PS one era. You feel for the characters and I found that pushing me forward in the game. I wanted to get to the next part of the story.

Combat is more like Gears of War, and less like Tomb Raider. In fact the game is more like Gears than Tomb Raider period. In a way being a huge Tomb Raider fan, I was slightly disappointed. You have to use the cover system to survive. Because the enemies come in huge waves.

Most enemies take about 3 shots to kill. Unless you nail them with a head shot. You also have hand to hand moves but I rarely used them. In fact the hand to hand seemed to be less responsive. Especial when you try to the Square-Triangle-Square combos. It seemed I never could quite nail the triangle at the right time.

A few times in the game the action gets to chaotic. Enemies with Sniper Rifles who can shoot you across the map if you don't dodge when you seen the laser sights beam. And the grenade launching foes annoyed me too.

The games worst feature is the Jet Ski scenarios. There are only 2 in the game, but they do not flow well. You can either move the jet ski, or stop and shoot the enemies, but doing both is almost impossible.

Another thing that is more funny than annoying. You will find a place that “The pirates have no idea this is here”. Only to find the place swarming with them 5 minutes later. This happen constantly. Also what is with all the explosive barrels. I must have missed that part in history class that Pacific Island nations developed metal barrels loaded with explosives.

The game does have a twist near the end, I won't spoil it. But it changes the way you play the game.

All in all if you have a PS3 I highly recommend this game. It is a short game but there is a few reason to go back and play it again. (A medal system that is basically achievement points

I give it a 8.5 out of 10. And it is in my top five games of the year
Phil-n-Rob'd Moment: Running out of ammo in the middle of a huge firefight on several occasions.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

One of those days

We all heard about the tragedy in the media about the mall in Nebraska. As soon as I heard that this morning I waited for Jack Thompson to rear his ugly head. Maybe his disbarment trial is keeping him hushed up. Thank Goodness.

It is sad that I was afraid for my hobby again this morning. I read news reports and waited. The family he was living with said he smoked pot, and played video games... the normal teenage stuff. Even showed her the gun.

I am glad the media for once had not run screaming at Microsoft or Grand theft auto. perhaps they have wised up... perhaps they read that this young man was trouble. He was devastated by the loss of his job, and his girl friend. Frankly it is something I can relate to. But I am not going to take it out on others.

The saddest thing was the women he was staying with said things like, "He was like a sad puppy dog that no one wanted." That breaks my heart a little bit. Maybe he would have been okay if things had gone a little better that day. But in the end, he was mental unstable and that was all him. Not the lack of parentng, not the video games or the pot. And I hope the media keep that in mind.

It scary to think that the day after this tragedy, another Grand Theft Auto trailer was announced. It was excellent. It looks like it is fixing some of the ldGTA problems like auto targeting, and giving the game what it truly needs ... a cover system. The graphics look amazing. And the frame rate looked solid compared to the last trailer they showed.

Still they have not announced a new release date. But I am still thinking it wont be out til October of next year. But take your time 2K. We see what happens when some games are rushed out the door. (Kane and Lynch, Mass Effect)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Yes, I have a review for a Burger King game



I had intended to not play my 360 last week, but something actually caught my eye. Pocketbike Racer was a game that was brought out by Burger King last year. Big Bumpin', Sneak King, and Pocketbike Racer were the games released for only $3.99 with a meal purchased. These games were made my Blitz Games, makers of Fusion Frenzy. Out of the three, Pocketbike Racer was the game most recommended. I will try to play other King games soon. So here is what I think:
Graphics – The graphics are pretty bad. Each of the 5 tracks are not really rememberable. A Burger King parking lot, a neighborhood, the King's castle, a construction site, and the Bacon Ranch. It was actually difficult to remember each of them. Now, I can understand why the graphics are not good. The disc has both the original Xbox and the 360 on it. The graphics in the background are not even memorable. I have seen better games when the PS2 first came out. One good thing to notice is that there is no pop ups throughout the game. During Live, human opponents seem to pop up with a bad frame rate. Just not good.
Grade: D+
Controls – This is where this game actually is tolerable. You use the RT to Accelerate, the LT to brake/reverse, RB to toggle up the weapon list, LB to toggle down the weapon list, A to power slide, B to boost, X to use a weapon, and Y to taunt (worthless). Along the tracks, the power slide is important. If you can master the power slide, you will master the game. The turning feels really good. You will, sometimes, screw up and shoot the wrong weapon when playing. You must toggle up/down to get the right weapon and if you get the wrong one, you could lose all of your boosting. Make sure to check.
Grade: B
Sound – There is not that much to talk about here. Each track has a different song and you will actually know when the song ends because it stops for a second before it begins again. The taunt button allows you to talk smack by saying 1 phrase. Hopefully you can play with people on line and talk smack. You do not want to hear anything from this game.
Grade: C-
Challenge – Oh my God. I appreciate the opportunity to play against AI that is actually able to CHALLENGE ME. There is absolutely no challenge what-so-ever. There are 4 types of racing: Standard (Race, Weapons, and Boost), Battle Royale (Most weapon hits win), Cone (Go through 20 lit cones first), and Hard Core (Racing, nothing else). I will give you this piece of advice: On the Cone and Battle Royale, go backwards. You will get a HUGE lead on everybody else on the cones because no one else will go backwards. On the battle royale, toggle down to the shield (1st level) and ram into the other cars. This game will be quickly completed. I believe I played at least 100 races and I remember losing 3 times. I never placed last. Something that would have been nice was to allow people to play the game in backwards. The 5 race tracks are not played in backwards. There are secrets you can exploit throughout the game and most of the AI will not follow. If you find the secrets, the game is a breeze. Maybe this game may be challenging for a 4 year old or Michael J. Fox.
Grade: F
Extras – There are absolutely no good extras in the game. You get to create a character (change the hair, skin, shirt, and pant color...THAT'S IT). You also get to race the tracks in whatever you want to. The only thing is that making this not being a total F is the multiplayer. You are able to play with people on line. If only there are people playing it.
Grade: D-
Achievements – The achievements are just completely stupid. You are able to get almost all of the achievements within two days of playing partially. The only difficult achievements are the ones about multiplayer. You must win 1 multiplayer match for 20 points and play in 25 Xbox live games for 25 points. Trying to figure out what the computer considers an actual race. A one lap battle does not count. I believe you must play the right amount of laps with a 150 cc bike. Oh well, here is the list:
Standard Gold – Win a standard race tournament (Easy)
Cone Trial Gold – Win a cone trial tournament (Easy)
Battle Royale Gold – Win a battle royale tournament (Easy)
Hard Core Gold – Win a hard core tournament (Easy)
Multiplayer King – Win a multiplayer match (Easy if you can do it)
Mascot Jr. - Win a race with each of the BK characters (Whopper Jr., The King, and Subservient Chicken) (Easy...again)
Career King – Complete all of the tournaments (16 in all and all very simple)
Pro Gamer – Complete 25 Xbox Live matches (easy if you can do it and find enough players)
Big Wheelie – Wheelie for more than 2 seconds (you WILL do this within the game)
Big Stoppie – Stoppie for more than 0.5 seconds (see above)
Big Air – Jump for longer than 50 meters (see above)
Time Trial Gold – Achieve a lap time of less than 1:30 on all tracks in Time Trial (kind of confusing...just hope and pray you can do it)
Expect to actually get all of them (if you can find on line approach).
Overall, Pocketbike Racer is not really worth it. With just 5 tracks (not racing backwards sucks), characters that are boring as hell, races that are brutally easy, why was this game worth $3.99 at Burger King. If you want and are addicted to achievement points, get this game for two days then bury it right next to the old E.T. Atari cartridges.
Overall grade: D

Monday, December 3, 2007

Phil-n-Rob'd Games Episode 9: Hodge Podge Edition

Three parts of the show from Sunday with Rob, Phil, Paul, and Brian the Pc Guy.

Part one aslo went missing Sigh.... I guess stickam was not what I hoped it would be. Well Op11 is back up... hopefully it will stay that way.





Saturday, December 1, 2007

Reminder: Phil-n-Rob'd Games is going to be on Stickam tomorrow

Op11 has bee down for a majority of the week, so we are moving to Stickam tomorrow. Same Bat time 4:30 EST, different bat channel (Stickam.com)

It may become a permanent change.

Finished Mario Galaxy: I can has Princess now



I finished Mario Galaxy last night. One of the greatest games ever. Forget Zelda, OoT. I never cared for it. I have not been a big Zelda supporter since they went 3-d. But this Mario Game is awesome.

I plan to continue playing it. I want to try to get all those stars. The games has no achievement points, no online multiplayer, but it is just fun. Its been a long time since I played a game for more than just fun. Most of the time I get burned out on a game and just keep playing it for a boost of Gamerscore.

The game continues to improve. You realy never feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again. Every star seems unique. Every challenge seems different. I wish all games had this much replability. I loved it everytime I opened another galaxy. I loved it when something unexpected happened .

And there were times that I just had my mouth hanging open like a hooker at a Bukake orgy. If you own a wii,buy this fucking game. If you don't own a wi. Find a soccer momand beat the shit out of her and take hers. Or curb stomp a bukake hooker and take her money and buy a wii off Ebay. This game is that good.

(The views expressed here are not those of Phil-n-Rob'd games. We love hookers and Soccer moms... mmmm Hooker Soccer moms. Quick get Vivid videos on the phone. I just found the next porn cash cow. Grand Theft Auto: Hooker Soccer Mom Bukake. Yeah those checks are just rolling in.)