Review of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation for PS Vita

This’ll be the last Vita review I do for quite some time, due simply to the fact that I’ve recently sold my Vita. Maybe I’ll do a PS Vita retrospective? Regardless, you’re here for an ACIII: Liberation review, so let’s find out if this portable Assassin’s Creed is worth your money.images

If you’ve ever played a traditional Assassin’s Creed game, you’re pretty much getting the same thing here. Now, I could go further in-depth to explain what a traditional AC game is like, but chances are if you’re reading a review for this game you’re already a serious fan of the series. Colossul open world maps, LOTS of AI citizens (albiet not as many as the game’s console counterparts, but due to processing power that’s understandable), silly sidequests and lots of horrible accents for the French characters. It’s the classic, tried and true AC formula that hasn’t seemed to fail… until now, that is. I’ve never been truly bored playing an AC game up until this one. Sure, there was the novelty of playing it on the Vita for maybe one or two story sequences, but around a quarter of the way through the campaign, things begin to get repetitive. Not even because the game is boring, it’s really not, it’s just that if you’ve played even one AC game before, you’ll know exactly what to expect.

It seems Ubisoft is starting to paint by numbers with this series; if the first game was a hit, why not release fifty more in rapid succession? Not to sound negative, it’s just that Liberation is forgettable. The open world city of New Orleans is impressive no doubt, really stretching the Vita’s limits, but it’s just not enough to absorb you into the game’s story. I mean, heck, there’s nothing new here to pull you in at all. If anything, there’s actually just a list of grievances I have with the game.  For me, the biggest turn off was the voice acting. Every time the game tries to establish the supposedly “intriguing” story with a cutscene, all I hear are some horrible Canadian-French accents. No offense to Canadians, and I understand this was made by Ubisoft MONTREAL, but still. For a plot revolving around slavery and conspiracy, I shouldn’t be giggling constantly at the horrible voice acting.

The gameplay doesn’t feel hefty either, feeling like an overly complex beat ’em up instead of a classic AC game. I think that’s solely because of the lack of a rumble component in the Vita, unlike most controllers which will vibrate during combat. It’s a minor gripe, but worthy of mention.

To be quite honest, there isn’t a lot wrong with this game. The locales are fantastic, the graphics are good, the soundtrack is solid and the controls are top-notch. But it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, doesn’t motivate the player to continue due to lackluster story telling, and isn’t worth anything over twenty dollars.

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Review of Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale for PS Vita

Zelda acquired the smash ball- wait, wrong game.all-stars-lead-440x270

It’s widely known that PS All-Stars is Sony’s crack at making a successful Playstation-ized Super Smash Bros., and for the most part Sony admits that. But there was that little band of Superbot design team members who were determined to seperate this from Super Smash Bros., to make it its own game. The best thing they could conjure up? Super move kills only.

All cynicism aside, the game does a good job at being an original twist on the practically perfect Nintendo formula. Twenty characters, the majority of which are exclusive to Playstation, battle it out on small maps with up to four people. It’s a button-masher, nostalgia-inducer and fighter all wrapped up into a nice, family-friendly package. Does that mean it’s actually a good game?

I’ll put it bluntly: If you’ve never been spoiled with the glory that is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, then PS All Stars is for you. But once you’ve played the masterpiece by Nintendo, going back to Sony’s title with amateur developing mistakes like “super move kills only” just won’t do. The idea is fun, but in reality it just makes everything really unbalanced. Characters like Raiden and Nathan Drake have level 1 supers (super moves can be attained through basic combat and level up the more combos you pull off) that are on par with characters like Sackboy’s level 3. So depending on who you’re playing with, racking up kill points will either be a walk in the park or a near impossible task, and that kind of balancing, or lack there of, just isn’t acceptable in a supposedly “hardcore” tournament worthy fighter.

Not only are supers overpowered with some characters, but basic move sets aren’t balanced either. Colonel Radec has this cheap-ass sniper attack that can knock fifty shades of snot out of someone across the map, while most of Parappa the Rappa’s attacks can’t hit anything beyond point-blank range. Now, character and moveset variety is to be expected, but movesets that encourage piss-poor playing? Not exactly what I’d call a smart gameplay element.

I’ve been pretty harsh to the game thus far, but it does have some nifty features. The stages are unique combinations of various Playstation series’ levels, and some even have environmental hazards (though not to a degree where it feels anything more than just a petty annoyance, unlike SSBB). The items are solid enough to give the player an edge but not overpowered like a smashball or a really good pokeball in Super Smash Bros., so that’s another thing PS All-Stars has going for it. The menus showcase different characters every time you boot the game, which is a nice touch.  And that’s pretty much all I have to say in terms of complimenting this game.

At the end of the day, is this a Super Smash Bros. copycat worth your money? Frankly, no. Sure, it’s fun for Sony fans and people who want to see Big Daddys trample Sackboys (or vise versa), but otherwise you should stick to Nintendo’s superior game, or get this one after a twenty dollar price drop.

Review of Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3 for PS Vita

This game blew so hard on the Xbox. So hard. But the Vita version looked like a better package all around, what with its touchscreen controls and added game modes. Was the investment worth it? Was this the massively improved version of the biggest rip-off ever that I’d hoped for? Read on to find out!imagesCAOIL5F8

When it comes to king of suckery at fighter games, I rule the kingdom. Not only do I faulter hideously at blocking, but seeing me do a combo successfully is as rare as a good Twilight movie. Needless to say, I’m not the best player out there. In all honesty, I just like playing fighters, even though I suck horribly at them, which is why I bothered getting into MvC3 in the first place. Luckily for me, the PS Vita version successfully quenches my thirst for a Marvel and Capcom fighter while also providing a miracle switch for my hideous lack of fighter talent! This miracle switch is called touchscreen mode, and I whole-heartedly recommend you go out and get this game if you enjoy but suck at fighters like me. I’ll go further in-depth on this, but if that’s all you came here to find out, then that’s your answer. Anyway, the touchscreen controls are a Godsend, as all you have to do is repeatedly tap the enemy (or yourself) and flashy, fantastic combos will perform themselves in quick, lightning succession. It’s a flurry of images, sound effects and tapping, and it’s the sort of mindless fun I want my UMvC3 to be.

As far as other improvements go upon the original game, there’s this cool new mode that lets you play through a territory-control style minigame while achieving new turf by fighting others either online or off. It’s really neat, and if you have a clan or something similar, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. The basic modes from the orignal game are still present, and the overall package feels really solid.

Overall, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Vita Edition is just barely good enough for me to recommend you get it, even if you hated its console brethren. It’s not the all-inclusive package that you might get from, say, Persona 4 Arena, but it’s still a damn good time. For fighting game noobs or hardcore gamers who want some Capcom gaming on the go, this one’s a must.

Review of “The Asylum” Escape Plan DLC

Is it worth the twenty five cent sale price? Yes. Is it worth five frickin’ dollars? No.images

The Asylum adds another fourty or so levels to the hundred and twenty (if you include the free Bakuki’s lair DLC) that are already in Escape Plan. Not only that, but it adds quirky little costumes for your two inky blobs, Lil and Laarg to dress up in. It’s fun to pass the time seeing your two little characters roam around in gladiator outfits through the new and dangerous levels, but none of them stand out as something that absolutely demands attention for this DLC.

If Fun Bits Interactive starts spitting out more DLC priced at a quarter, it’ll be worth it. But for five bucks, an hour of content just isn’t enough.

For the full review of Escape Plan, click here.

Review of Escape Plan for PS Vita

I’ve had this game for, like, a year now.escape-plan-ps vita

Escape Plan is a puzzle platformer that uses touchscreen controls only. Initially, that sounds like a really scary premise: Precise puzzle movements that are controlled solely by twitchy fingertip recognitions. In reality, the final product is actually pretty great and does a good job utilizing its control scheme.

The motions you’ll play Escape Plan with are finger taps, swipes, swirls and rear touchpad bumps. It’s all utilized extremely well, and rarely do levels require awkward combinations of the previously mentioned movements. On the best of levels, you actually start to think touchscreen controls are a good thing in gaming. It’s a combination of the clever level design and quirky gimmicks that make the touchscreen gameplay work, as levels and gimmicks allow you enough processing time to figure out the puzzles and keep your fingers moving. I think that’s the key to touchscreen gaming, allowing you enough time to do your motions on-screen correctly, which Fun Bits Interactive (the developer) nails.

While gameplay alone is a big plus for Escape Plan, its real charm lies in its presentation and audio. The game chooses to diversify itself from other platformers by being completely black and white, like something out of a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon. Not only that, but every character hosts an inky, blobby physique, one that complements the two color color scheme perfectly. As simplistic as the visuals are, the graphics maintain cutting edge status for Vita standards, the lighting/shading effects being a perfect example of Escape Plan’s graphical capabilities. With that said, things still have an innocent factor to them that the game’s decidely classical soundtrack only helps to exemplify. Beethoven’s 5th playing as two black and white inky blobs scuttle and bumble their way through obstacles such as razor blades and giant hammers has a certain appeal that not many games have, being both perilous and humorous at the same time.psv-escape-plan-ss4

In conclusion, Escape Plan is both a poster child of intuitivity (new words ftw) and proper touchscreen controls, two things gaming as a medium is in desperate need of. Even if there’s only three to four hours worth of content in the actual package, Escape Plan’s unique allure alone is enough to justify the fifteen dollar price tag.