07 October 2012

Review: Spider-Man 2 (Playstation 2)

Spider-Man 2 is of course based on the second part of the Sam Raimi trilogy about my favorite super hero. Since it is a video game it does not have to be exactly like the movie which it is not - they have sprinkled a few extra things on it such as the appearance of Black Cat and other things not shown in the feature film. But most of the story cutscenes are indeed from the movie and they are motivating the player to progress.

The single most important aspect of any Spider-Man game is the web swinging. How is the web swinging in Spider-Man 2? It is very fun and exciting with a bit of timing and planning involved to get the most speed. With a lot of mini missions scattered around the city there is many hours to be spent just swinging around having an absolute blast with daring diving, speedy swinging and furious fighting. Although the fighting system is a bit dumbed down, to say the least, I liked it. It is nice to be able to beat some bad guys up without having to train for ages. The missions range from defeating random enemies to rescuing a few innocents from accidents and robberies, which can be a bit tedious at times since it is rather repetetive. But on the other hand these missions are almost completely optional and can be done if the player desires to do so.

The graphics are the realistic type, with no "cartoonish" look, and they hold up for the most part. I would not say it looks great during in-game cutscenes but it does not look bad, the city looks alive and does not suffer from any major graphical problems. There is, however, a problem with this game. A huge problem...

Let us just get it out there. The voice acting. It is absolutely horrible. I never saw myself as someone who cares all that much about voice acting in a game if it is fun to play, but this is just insanely bad. They got Tobey Maguire to read the lines for Spider-Man which is cool but he obviously was under heavy influence of prozac or some other sedative. He barely cares and read the lines so uninspired I sometimes felt like muting the sound to be able to enjoy my experience and not have some boring downer sigh words like they meant nothing. Add to this that the sound for the voices is very quiet and the sound effects are really loud - with no subtitles option - and you have a game where the player has to turn up the volume during every cutscene.

Apart from the terrible voice acting and the somewhat repetetive mission dynamics it is a great Spider-Man game which is a great buy concidering it goes for about £0.01 on Amazon.

03 October 2012

Review: God Hand (Playstation 2)

Released in 2006, just after Okami, God Hand makes Clover's last game. It is an action beat 'em up with a story as paper thin as... as... paper... Long ago a fallen angel named King Angra was defeated with a pair of divine arms called God Hands - which Gene, the game's main character, now owns one of. He gets entangled in a battle against four demons and their struggle for world domination and that is it. But it is not the story that makes this game interesting, it is the way it is being told. It is cheesy, it has bad jokes, weird creatures, embarrasing voice acting and the list goes on. Together with a pretty high difficulty this feels kind of awesome, actually.

I think it is refreshing to see games take risks, go all in and dare to think a bit crazy, but regrettably God Hand does not quite reach the same heights as other spaced out games like for example Deadly Premonition. In its own obscure Twin Peaks style of weird storytelling it really was one of the great games many gamers will overlook due to its first appearence - that it would be a bad game. On the contrary it is extremely well thought through and details that one would concider poorly executed is actually intended and carefully planned. I can not say the same for God Hand. Yes, the story, the characters and the general cheesyness is hilarious in all its stupidity, but the way Clover portraits the game gives me more of the feeling that occurs after a plump joke has been told in the wrong company. It is just way to tasteless, it even goes past "so tastless it is funny" and all the way back to just plain tasteless.

That said, I really love the gameplay. The arcade style of fighting is very addictive and I found myself wanting more and more. Which is the best attacks to string together in which situations? What attack works best for a particular boss? It almost feels a bit like Mega Man sometimes in that regard! It is on the other hand a bit annoying that the camera has such issues and the controls could be a lot better - these errors obviously hurt the overall score the gameplay would recieve on a scale - but I can not help myself. It has a certain charm I can embrace even when making all these mistakes. It does not, however, gain anything over time. After fifteen hours I feel pretty fed up with the game. In small doses it is a blast to just laugh and beat stuff up, but as a whole it becomes rather boring.