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Friday, November 14, 2008

Change of Plans

Due to the atrocious scores and low ratings of Legendary, it has been decided that I won't be covering it anymore. However, I shall cover this game instead:

The Last Remnant is Square-Enix's latest RPG offering for the 360. I will receive my copy of the game on Nov.20 onwards so I may be able to post an initial release of the walkthrough. I don't know if you guys will favor this decision but I certainly think I made the right choice.

More updates to follow so subscribe to my blog if you want to receive timely updates about my walkthroughs and releases. Laters.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Gears of War 2 Achievement Guide Updated (11/12)

I have released my achievement guide for the game. It's not the final version of the guide yet so it is entirely open for future modifications and additions. If you want to suggest or add something, kindly contact me via email. You can download the PDF guide here.

I will work on the PDF walkthrough if I have the chance so I'll just keep you guys posted. See ya.

EDIT 11/12/08:

I just updated the achievement guide. The Youtube link mentioned in this post has been included as well as tips in clearing all 50 waves of Horde with less people - two people to be exact. No need to look for 3 more horde co-op players.


This just in; check this Youtube vid for the "Kick 'em when they're down" achievement. Thanks to xyjar for uploading it.

Kick 'Em When They're Down Achievement

1. Rude Awakening
Lancer + B

2. Meatsnap
A, then X

3. Curbstomp
Any weapon + X

4. Triple Punch C-C-Combo
Any non-execution weapon (shotgun) + Y

5. Snixecution
Sniper Rifle + Y

6. Torque Nudge
Torque Bow + B

7. Pistolwhip Deluxe
Boltok Pistol + Y

8. Boomshield Headache
Boomshield + Y

9. Shotgun Golf
Shotgun + B

10. Torquapitation
Torque Bow + Y

11. Sniper Head Thunk
Sniper Rifle + B


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP) PDF walkthrough updated! (11/9)

My PDF walkthrough for the game has been updated. You may use the download link found in my previous post. It covers everything in the game, including the optional dungeon, the Cave of the Seven Stars. Puzzle solutions are included as well. This will be my final release of the guide unless there are some major changes that needs to implemented.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) - Review

The fight is far from over. It’s been months since Delta Squad successfully delivered the Lightmass Bomb into the heart of the Locust stronghold. The Locust suffered tremendous losses but still prevailed. Now, they strike back with a more powerful army than the humans ever imagined. They have started their siege in the last bastion of mankind, the city of Jacinto. Because of the unique mineral structure underneath the city, the Locusts can’t dig beneath it. With the battle reaching its climax, the humans assembled a massive strike force, in an attempt to raid the Locust heart, strike from the inside and end the war once and for all.

Epic Games and Microsoft Game Studios bring the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed title Gears of War exclusively for the 360. The game offers several new features, weapons and mechanics that will definitely make the two year wait worth it.

During the first minutes in the game, players will definitely feel the tension in the air with all the commotion around. The game will start a few seconds afterwards and they will have the option to train the new Delta rookie or head immediately to the action. The controls are pretty much the same so seasoned Gears of War players won’t feel alienated as if they’re playing an entirely new game. There are also collectibles scattered around each area (even during the training course) which are not limited to COG tags but also artifacts, magazines, newspapers, journals, etc which makes hunting them more interesting. Another thing that is noticeable is that the game will track your progress for unlocking achievements. It will occasionally display the amount of kills you need or the number of times you’ll need to do that specific action in order to unlock the corresponding achievement. Those are just some of the game’s features. Now let’s head to the details.

Gears of War 2 is definitely longer than its predecessor due to the massive stages Marcus and gang must explore (and survive). As mentioned earlier, the game’s controls are practically the same; however, there are some wonderful changes. The most notable probably is the infamous “meat shield” feature, where players can pick up a downed enemy and use it as a shield against enemy gunfire. They can retaliate only with their pistols and fortunately, grubs are very efficient bullet sponges because they last even if their limbs get torn off. If you managed to kill the opposition with the dying meat shield in your arms, you can dispose it by enjoying the crunching sound of broken neck. Players may execute downed enemies instead in a variety of ways depending on the weapon equipped. Sniper Rifles can be used as sledgehammers or torque bows as axes. You can also stomp and crush their heads like little bloody watermelons.

When injured, players won’t stay stationary and just wait haplessly for someone to revive him. They can crawl to a safe cover by tapping the A button continuously. Also, there will be a time limit on how long the player can stay in that condition. If ever the life “gauge” turns entirely red, the player will die. Fortunately, the squad AI in the game will prioritize reviving you if ever you’ll fall. Though there will be instances that they will act like dumbasses running to and fro, ignoring the bloody lump you’re becoming, they are most of the time, I can say, efficient in keeping you alive and kicking. Downed enemies will also crawl to safety but won’t be capable of doing anything. They simply wait COG deliverance by either acting as a meat shield or ending up as your personal, bloody watermelon.

There are also a variety of ways to eliminate heavily fortified foes. The game features partly destructible covers. If players keep shooting near the edge of the cover, it will be “chipped out”, exposing a body part behind it. Players will also need to use a moving (indestructible) cover later on, but I won’t be divulging any details in regard to that.

The game features a variety of new and improved weapons. Players will notice that the Lancer is a lot of more accurate than before. The Locusts’ Hammerburst rifle has a slower fire rate but packs more punch than the Lancer. Heavy machine guns like the Troika are still powerful as ever. In the first game, you can just hold the fire button, lay waste on the enemies without worrying of overheating. But in Gears of War 2, the machine guns will overheat. You can “force cool” it by pressing and holding the reload button. The same applies to the portable chain guns dropped by the larger locusts. Crowd control? That is where the portable artillery gun comes in. You can dig in, aim upward and calculate the distance where the mortars shall land. This is very effective in taking care of multiple, fortified enemies without too much of a risk. Even the dreaded boomers won’t last one or two direct hits for this rain of fire. Maulers are new types of locusts that carry impenetrable shields and deadly morning stars. If you kill these bastards, you can pick up their shield and be invulnerable against frontal fire. You can retaliate using your pistol but the most practical use of this shield is that you can “plant” it on the ground as an indestructible cover, pull out your primary weapon and fire back. You can even pull it up after the battle and carry it again. Stink grenades will be available as well, that even though lacks destructive power, release very lethal cloud of poison. Flamethrowers also make their entry in this installment of the game. Players will also have the chance to control a Centaur light tank which strongly resembles the tank from Metal Slug games.

Players will also battle Reavers face to face in most instances, giving them the chance to see the creature up close. Reavers are the flying beasts that carry locust gunners from the last part of the original game. These beasts still pose a threat even without its riders but fortunately, a full round of rifle fire can take it down. There won’t be lambent (exploding) wretches but they’ll be replaced by Tickers, volatile, ticking bugs that explode on contact. Fortunately, they don’t explode instantly; you’ll have at least 1-2 seconds to hit them with any weapon (except the Lancer) to send them flying back and you can shoot them safely at a distance. Remember the large dinosaur-like machine beast that chased Delta Squad while escaping from the Fenix Estate in the original gears? These are called Brumaks and players will have several encounters with them. Players will also have the chance to ride these beastly war machines which I won’t spill out in this review.

The achievements are toned tone a bit. More than 500 points can be acquired by playing offline alone. Though the infamous “Seriously” achievement from the original game got a remake in the form of Seriously 2.0, the requirements are toned down a bit as well since the kills will count your campaign kills as well. The game also tracks the achievements and displays the progress and the required number of times to perform or enemies to kill to unlock the achievement. Various multiplayer achievements have remained though they are not that many compared to the original. A new game mode, called Horde will put players against waves of attacking locusts and they must kill every enemy before proceeding. Like all the multiplayer game modes featured, this can be done locally with a partner via split-screen but they can’t unlock achievements where a public session is required.

The game features an upgraded multiplayer that will allow up to 10 players to connect simultaneously. You can even hold local, split-screen sessions - even when not connected to Live. Aside from the old multiplayer favorites like Warzone, Execution and Annex, new modes has been introduced like the Horde, Guardian, Wingman and Submission. Horde will pit players against wave of enemy locusts, ranging from all size and ranks. Fortunately, weapons and ammo respawn on the same locations. Guardian is like the Assassination mode where players need to protect their leader. The only difference is that players can still continue fighting even when the leader is down. Its just that they lose the ability to respawn. Wingman will allow players to form two-person team and battle it out with the other teams. Submission follows the "Capture the Map" logic but there is a catch; the flag is actually an armed stranded civilian obviously called as the "Meat Flag". Teams must race and down the meat flag then drag him to their base while protecting it. There is a tutorial for each new mode or even the old ones so veteran and new players can easily grasp the mechanics for each mode.

Another great addition in the game's multiplayer is the addition of BOTS. These AI-controlled players can be added in match if you're short on people. Don't be fooled though; the bots are really efficient fighters, especially on harder difficulties. Of course, having human squadmates is definitely better but you can't simply set the bots aside since they almost seem to act like human players when playing. New multiplayer models/skins can also be unlocked by clearing the campaign and having some specific achievements from the original game.

The multiplayer mode's battle camera has also been improved significantly. Instead of fixed views, players can activate ghost cams or simple a "free-chase" camera mode. When observing, they can freely mode around the map while waiting for the round to finish. They can even take snapshots that can be uploaded via Live. Players can also pan around the map with different views of the battle. They can even see the action in both sides.

As promised by the developers, the game does feature vividly detailed surroundings and intricately designed levels. Players will definitely feel the dread, death, destruction and the urge to survive no matter what the cost as they traverse sunken cities, Locust torture barges, beautiful subterranean cave systems and even the insides of a living leviathan. There will be instances that you’ll feel like you’re playing a different game because of the unique locations players probably never expected. Blood and gore are still there, as there remain the many ways to die in the game, in the hands of the enemy or not. The visual effects are never been better. The gun battles are always as dramatic as ever, as hordes of enemies come pouring in at the same time – without the lag. The horde will introduce new enemies which players can easily distinguish from the normal enemies they have fought before. Even COG will utilize heavy hardware that is previously unknown. Overall, the battle effects, the explosions, the dismembering – they all blend perfectly in drawing players directly in the action, demanding full attention otherwise they’ll end up dying or miss something big.

Ratings: 1-10

The sound effects of the game are great and very engaging. The character voices and dialogues are played out beautifully giving the game a cinematic feel – very much like the first game but greatly improved. The superb timing of the background scores and the battle effects are sure to keep the players worked up and engaged throughout the game.

The game’s visual quality is definitely better than its predecessor. Vividly detailed environments and intricately designed levels deliver the sense of dread, isolation, death and destruction. Special effects and cinematics are even more appealing.

The game’s battle system remains almost the same with only a few tweaks including new execution styles. Gears of War veterans can immediately grasp the game controls easily while the learning curve for newbies would take around half or an hour. The effectiveness of the game’s control layout still delivers efficient and easy control for players. There is also a combat training and the default option to provide hints whenever a player acquires a new weapon. Your squad AI may have its moments, ranging from openly attacking enemies and dying or simply ignoring you while you’re already bleeding but not that severe that it will hamper your progress in the game.

The game offers hours and hours of gameplay through its long campaign missions and several multiplayer modes. Rewarding players with high scoring achievements for completing the game in higher difficulties will surely prompt achievement whores and hardcores to go through the lengthy campaign in order to get them. The new multiplayer modes also add up to the game’s depth and longevity. As mentioned, the game’s achievements are toned down a bit (except for Seriously 2.0) for most players to complete with ease. The game also features an in-game tracker that tracks your achievements and displays your progress and how far/short are you from unlocking the achievement.

The first Gears was definitely a hit, keeping a solid multiplayer community years after its release. Gears of War 2 definitely have the strong potential to match or even surpass its predecessor’s success. The new and preserved features of the game works well with veteran and new players alike. If you’re into shooters or simply loved the first game, Gears of War should belong to your library. It is definitely worth the two year wait.

Final Score: 92

I will write an achievement guide for the game later this morning and hopefully I can finish it within the day. I will keep you guys posted. Images will be added later.

Paul Vhayste

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP) PDF walkthrough updated!

The walkthrough covers everything up to Fargett, just before exploring the Revorse Tower. The quickstart section has been completed as well, including the list of all skills, specialties and super specialties. I will release new updates in a few days' time. You may download the walkthrough exclusively in IGN. If the version you get is not yet updated, then try again after a few hours or tomorrow; I just finished uploading the PDF in their FTP.