Archive | December, 2012

L.A. Noire

27 Dec

Phelps, Badge 1247; …How can I help you Detective? What could possibly be the most droning back and forth of any game gets repeated time and time again. Welcome to L.A. Noire a game that takes place in 1947 Los Angeles. Noire takes you through a trip back in time in the shoes of Detective Cole Phelps as he deals with murders, mysteries, and fires. Developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games in 2011. L.A. Noire is a game with great narrative and suspense but falls victim to some issues that plague similar “open-world” games; more on that in just a moment.

Phelps, Cole Phelps

Phelps, Cole Phelps

This game was played with all DLC on a PS3. All versions can be found for under 20 dollars but I would suggest checking amazon every now and then for a 5 or 7 dollar PC download. It has been mentioned several times that I enjoy short story driven games so when I heard L.A. Noire was thick with Mystery and suspense I just had to boot it up. Several hours later I am sad to admit I just wanted to turn in my badge and burner.

Black Stallion

Black Stallion

Visuals: L.A. Noire uses a technology called MotionScan that uses several cameras to catch every facial twitch and movement and then animate it. This was something really fun to watch especially during the interrogation scenes, and I think it was a big part of the B+ Cast they had act in the game. I’d also like to point out that with the exception of a few cast members the entire cast of AMCs Madmen is in this game. Aside from the close ups the Graphics wont really do anything to blow you away, everything seems foggy/blurry and there was quite a bit of choppiness (your mileage may vary)  everyone knows that with an open world game sometimes the graphics take a hit but I think if you are used to Rockstar graphics you’ll have no trouble jumping in.

Story: This is the meat of the game; you play as Cole Phelps a Veteran of  WWII and you decide to join the force. Your good nature doesn’t seem to mesh with anyone in the department and it was a strange twist to be the hero no one wanted to be around. Characters come and go and I worry that by saying anything I will give away some of the plot points; just don’t get super attached to anyone. As Cole works his way up the Police change other parts of his life fall apart and certain parts of his past come back to haunt him. Remember story is everything; L.A. Noire like a television serial has a grand arc which we learn about in the beginning but then we forget about until the end. My issue with the story is that you do forget about the arc and you don’t really care about the cases you are working on. I became so frustrated with the game for several reasons but one of the big ones was that I just wanted to move on! When you do get back to the arc you realize the juice wasn’t really worth the squeeze.

Gameplay: L.A. Noire is a slow game, I would say its an updated version of a point and click adventure. You start a mission by driving to a location you search for clues and then chase down a bad guy or interrogate them in a room. The controls feel clunky, I don’t know if a mouse and keyboard would have made it better but it was hard getting from point A to point B without wanting to destroy my console, TV, and anything else in my path. The gameplay is exceptionally repetitive and will gnaw at a gamer who isn’t used to old school gaming mechanics.  I think I’ve made my point about the gameplay for L.A. Noire.

Test of Time: This game already feels old so I don’t know if this is a good category for the game. The story is great if you can plow through the game I think you may enjoy it. Just know that L.A. Noire is not an exciting precision shooter or a nail biting thriller. I personally would be OK if I never played this game. I had the Complete Edition with all the DLC and was so angry I had to slog through several more hours of cases I couldn’t care about. I love what the team went for in L.A. Noire but it should have been a 8-10 hour detective game instead of a 20-50 hour desk job.

NO BROS SYSTEM this week!

Cy: Skip

Spec Ops: The Line

20 Dec

Open your eyes, Open your eyes Walker. There could be nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the desert; injured and dehydrated. Enter Spec Ops: The Line; which adds a burning and crumbling Dubai to your desert nightmare. Developed by Yager Development  and Darkside Game Studios, and published by 2KGames Spec Ops: The Line pushes you the player to the brink of insanity. Spec Ops is a shooter that truly pushes the limits of not only the main Protagonist Captain Martin Walker, but also you as a gamer. There are no right choices in this game and we won’t spoil anything in this review but if you like your shooter with a twist; this 2012 shooter could be the way to go!

Welcome to Dubai

Welcome to Dubai

This game was demoed on Xbox 360 and completed on PC. I chose the PC version simply because of the cost. I am sure you could argue controller vs mouse and keyboard or pick apart the pixels but I did enjoy myself on both consoles.  As usual I want to start by saying I enjoy short games with grand stories and Spec Ops: The Line could be that perfect rainy day game for most people.

Weapon of choice

Weapon of choice

Visuals: Spec Ops: The Line is a great looking game; notice I didn’t say amazing. While I did think the Dubai background was gorgeous and certain moments were intense some things just looked dated. The character models looked very similar, the movements were robotic, and there is a vehicle level with fire that seems suspiciously last gen.  That said there were moments (Helicopter scenes, and rappelling out of windows) that were just a joy to stare at and it made me curious as to how there could be such a disparity between visuals.  One thing we will touch on later was how I loved the squad I was with and how they were so different from one another.  While it probably will never win any awards for visuals it is still a great game to watch from beginning to end.

Story:  Welcome to Delta, You play as Captain Martin Walker (Voiced by Nolan North) your squad consists of a straight shooter “second in command”  Lieutenant Alphonse Adams and a wise cracking Staff Sergeant John Lugo. You are sent into the heart of Dubai which at this point in the game is a deserted wasted land with rebels and soldiers replacing tourists and civilians. Your goal is to find Colonel John Konrad and evacuate him from the city; of course things are not always as easy as we would hope. You shoot your way up and down buildings, in helicopters, and trucks, all while fighting hundreds of soldiers and battling the weather. As you progress in the game and your choices add up you see a break down in your unit and in yourself. Dubai mirrors the emotions and troubles Captain Walker and his team face and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Gameplay: Spec Ops is a 3rd person shooter; a lot of people either love or hate the perspective ( I didn’t mind the perspective in this game). The controls can be tweaked to fit your style and I found movement and command prompts to be very responsive. I loved being able to tell my squad mates to open fire or go into cover, and never felt that my AI was hindering my ability to progress through the level. Depending on your difficulty level you can either breeze past the levels or pull your hair out in frustration (your mileage will vary)

Test of Time: Definitely not as old as Chrono Trigger our first post on LtapGamer, but with the way technology is moving today what was new a month ago could feel ancient at this point.  I would say Spec Ops: The line will be a great game years to come. The visuals are on par and the controls are very easy to use. One thing I cannot stress enough is how amazing the story was in this game. If you read this and are curious how to play the game, I would suggest getting a good drink and play on the easiest setting. While you may not love the bullet fest levels, the story will compel you to come back again and again. When it comes to 3rd person shooters I love the Gears series and Uncharted and think that this is a game that will stand the test of time. Just like Fight Club is now a cult classic and not the 1 Billion dollar money machine that Batman or the avengers are, Spec Ops: The Line will keep gamers talking for years to come.

BROS System:

Buy Skip or Rent

Cy: Buy! try finding it for under 20 bucks!

Kem: (Never Played it)  Rent

Chrono Trigger

13 Dec

Tick-Tock Tick-Tock, the looming sounds of what would be a foretelling theme that would follow me over the course of the next 20 hours. Welcome to Chrono Trigger the Review. Chrono Trigger is a Japanese RPG released back on March 11, 1995. Developed and Published by Squaresoft (presently Square-Enix) Chrono Trigger took an established genre and changed the game, literally. With a non-linear esque story and multiple endings Chrono trigger catapulted to critical and commercial success. The Critically acclaimed game was originally released on the SNES and was then ported to Sony’s Playstation in 1999; an important year in the game (NO SPOILERS HERE)

Box art for Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger became quite a rare game with lofty bids on ebay and other 3rd party sites selling the game sealed or unsealed for several hundreds and even thousands of dollars. It would seem that Chrono Trigger was truly a game sought after by many gamers. Publishers took some time but finally realized it was time to share this game with new gamers and released it on the Nintendo DS in 2008 followed by Virtual Console systems and Mobile Platforms. Chrono Trigger jumped out of the past and was ready for a slew of future gamers. I decided to pick the game up on my weapon of choice the Purple Nintendo 3DS. I chose the 3DS not because I enjoyed playing it on a smaller screen but the DS edition had mini anime clips by legendary artist Akira Toriyama (DragonBall) and sported a Multiplayer mode the latter was not as cool or in depth as it sounded. I also found dual screens to be a great way to play any RPG new or old; enough with the history lets dive into the review.

Weapon of choice.

Weapon of choice.

I want to start by saying I am a speed RPGer/Gamer. I enjoy games that last 8-15 hours tell a great story and require little exploration. Just to validate myself I have played several Final Fantasy games, several Kingdom Hearts games, do we consider pokemon an RPG? I digress, I found Chrono Trigger to be an amazing game that gently pushed me to level my characters up without the feeling that I was grinding simply to beat the next boss.

Visuals: Chrono Trigger is an old game, it looks like an old game, but if you take a step back you will see more characters on screen and such attention to detail that the polygon count becomes irrelevant. I found myself getting lost in the Pre-historic era with caves, trees, and dinosaurs and just when I thought I was bored of the area I get warped to an Apocalyptic future that is bleak and crawling with mutants. Gorgeous Anime cut scenes aside the characters were alive and felt human or froggish depending on your character choice. Even in 2012 I felt that this game was gorgeous to look at and didn’t detract from my experience.

Story: Flat out amazing! Like most JRPGs you are a boy out to save the world with your rag tag team. The difference in Chrono Trigger is the that rag tag team of yours consists of a Frog, Nerd, Princess, Robot, Leopard Lady, and a final character which ( WE WON’T SPOIL HERE). The actions you do in one Era may drastically affect another era so be careful and explore. Talk to people, feed the animals, and go with your gut. There are dozens of endings and something you may have thought was insignificant may turn out to cost someone you love their life!

Gameplay: Whether you use Chrono Triggers live battle system or the old school turn based system Chrono Trigger does an excellent job creating a game for any player. I found myself switching play styles on my DS depending on which boss I was playing. Teams also play a huge role in the game on two levels. The first is team based attacks, the more you use a team the more powerful they become, they even gain the ability to fuse attacks for greater damage. The second level is the fact that the enemies are so diverse that one team or player may be the MVP against a boss but can’t do a lick of damage to a normal enemy you bump into. This truly helps you mix up the game and nothing ever feels stagnant.

Test of Time : As stated above, I am not an RPGer. I will likely never play this game again. I sunk 20+ hours into this game and had a journey. I did not get the perfect ending, I did not reach Max levels with any players; in fact I beat Lavos by the skin of my teeth after fighting him 17 times. That said I felt that this was an amazing game and one that I wish I had played sooner in my gaming life. Chrono Trigger will stick with me when I start playing my next RPG (The world ends with you, Persona 4 Golden, XenoBlade?) I am still deciding. I just know that anytime I see or play a Role Playing game I will always look for some similarities of Chrono Trigger.

BROS System:

Buy Rent or Skip

Cy:Buy!

Kem:Buy!

…But the Party is over

10 Dec

Welcome to Ltap (Late to another party), this is a blog for Gamers who might not have gotten a chance to play certain games a couple months ago. Some Criteria for this blog to help you understand who we are

  1. We’re a couple of dudes with no background in journalism (except for our token editor) expect typos and run-ons
  2. We range from the hardcore to the casual so for some games one of our staff members may never have played it or heard of it and will likely give an opinion
  3. There is no bias here as we all play on different platforms with a mutual love for Halo
  4. We are always open to feedback; this is supposed to be a blog where people can get together comment and make suggestions.

Lets talk Site magic and what to look forward to on the site:

  • The games we cover have to have been out for at least 3 months
  • The game has to cost less than 59.99 USD (Some exceptions)
  • The games we review do not use the number system (10,20 point scale) to review our games

We will be covering games on most systems (DS, 3DS, WiiU, Xbox, Ps3, Vita, PC, Mobile)

For now we will be posting reviews on Thursdays with fun articles or blurbs throughout the week! A podcast is planned but more on that later!

As most of these games are OLDER we think our reviews will help show that a game is worth the value and can stand the test of time. While we all get lost in the hype a game that got an A or 90 in the first few days of launch may not always live up to those standards a couple months down the line. We hope our reviews help bolster a game that might be on sale or help you as a gamer steer clear if you have only a couple bucks to spend that paycheck!

Just like our site is full of Bros our reviews will be based on the BROS system

  • Buy-Great value worth your money (Hours of gameplay or a fantastic story)
  • Rent- A good game that might be short or lacking that little bit of magic
  • Skip-Probably something better out there for your time and money

Our reviews will be based on the BROS system as outlined above and will be reviewed by at least two of the editors.

We appreciate any fan art and any help to get the name out is always welcome!

**Please keep it Classy in the comments and look forward to our First post on 12/13/12 where we talk about an old RPG that was released on March 11, 1995.