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Sunday, July 15 2018

Playstation 2 game reviews (games added 5/12/05)

Other StuffWe are up to 45 games on this list, my effort to save you some time (and money) in trying ones that I found weak. Of these games I have finished 34 start to finish so I do have a good idea of what is good and bad. Comments are welcome. STAR WARS EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH: What a disappointment. If you want to endlessly fight a bunch of droids, using weak light saber combinations before opening door after door well this game is for you. I thought it would be more of an all inclusive game the way Phantom Menace was for the original Playstation. Honestly that game didnít look much worse and was a lot more engaging, longer and you could play more characters. ROTS is a weak game where you canít even pan the damn camera. That shows laziness in production, as does the repetitive dialogue blurbs that they re-use in various scenes. If you really want to ruin the movie, buy this before you see it. If you enjoy light saber duels with your friends it might also have some value. For me, it was pretty week and I give it a 6.0 overall.

SPIDERMAN 2: Well, hereís a game I really thought would have trouble translating from the movie. I was right unfortunately. The web slinging around the buildings is fun for about half an hour, but the game is bogged down horribly by endless punching out of thugs committing uninteresting crimes. Worse yet, the good citizens who tell you about these crimes do so during a still shot, their lips donít even move. Thatís just pitiful for a PS2 game. The graphic renditions of the characters are terrible, and the fact that the voice work is from the actual actors doesnít make up for that shortcoming. I donít see a whole lot of fun to be had in this game so itís a 7.0 from me.

LEGO STAR WARS: I thought this game would be dumb, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a bit quirky with the whole Lego thing and after all it is Star Wars so you know Iím interested a little bit. The game is very easy to play because you canít really die so it is great for all ages and abilities. The graphics are good and you can play with a friend. On the downside it is painfully short and that hurts the value. I give it a 7.0 overall.

PSI-OPS THE MINDGATE CONSPIRACY: This game could have been awesome, and others donít seem to have experienced as much pain as I did playing it. Your character has all of these powers, but loading them back up is annoying and the best one (throwing stuff at your enemies) is very difficult to control. I liked being able to take over the mind of enemies to take out other enemies, but it wasnít enough. They purposely give you very few bullets, forcing you to use your mind powers to advance which I donít like. Points in the game will absolutely drive you insane because the slightest mistake will set you back. Maybe this game appeals to some, but for me it didnít hit on all cylinders so itís a 7.25 score.

TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 2005: What a golf game. I havenít dipped into the genre for a while and was pleasantly surprised to see that the swing wasnít generated with the meter so common to computerized golf games. There is a ton to do in this game from playing tournaments, building characters, buying equipment, creating a dream golf course and a lot more. Tiger Woods is annoying, and there are things that could be improved so itís not a perfect game by any means but it is very fun to play. I donít think I really need to say any more than 9.5 overall.

JAK & DAXTER (THE PRECURSOR LEGACY): This was a game that I anticipated would remind me of Ratchet & Clank for obvious reasons. It didnít. Most of the levels are very boring, you donít get any weapons and the fun factor is extremely low. You wander around a lot without a clear map and a few of the tasks are just too difficult. There is a line that should be drawn in games where you want players to advance and this game has some points that make that difficult. Iím not sure I will try the next two versions after giving this a 7.5 overall.

RED DEAD REVOLVER: I have high expectations for games made by Rock Star after the GTA series and Manhunt. This one was a bit disappointing actually. I love the western theme, there are varying missions and weapons but in general the game is far too linear. You canít really sway off the path and the controls for shooting will leave you numb. Thatís because you have to hold the L1 button down to keep your gun out while firing with another button. Ouch. In the end it is a decent game to rent (which I did) and have fun with for a few days so overall I give it a 7.75 rating.

SPLINTER CELL (SERIES): Quality is the key to these games. I just finished Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory is the next game Iím playing. This is a thinkerís game to be sure and honestly it was very frustrating at the beginning, especially because I was playing Bounty Hunter off an on at the same time. In that one it is rapid fire, while in this one you really need to pick your spots and use stealth. Splinter Cell requires a great deal of problem solving and each mission you will need to use trial and error to figure out the best plan of attack. The storyline is solid, and the game is long enough to keep you happy although I must say that Pandora Tomorrow was too short for my liking. It might not be one that you replay right away, but after putting it down for a few weeks you will probably enjoy running through it again. SC1 (9.25) PT (9.25).

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Since I enjoyed Splinter Cell and James Bond I felt that this game would be pretty good. The truth is that while it looks like a close facsimile to those games, the actual game play is a clear notch below. The only famous voice you get is Ving Rhames as his character, but the shots of him are all the same as he sits inside a van spouting directions to you. For around ten bucks it is a good value if you pick it up now, but donít expect it to live up to the top shelf games in its genre. If you do get it, plan on following a game guide online because certain elements are painful to figure out. Iím giving it a 7.75 overall.

TOMB RAIDER ANGEL OF DARKNESS: Iím not a huge fan of this series and never played them on the original system. However, when the price dipped below ten dollars for a used copy I couldnít resist a bargain. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the game play, plot and mostly the length of the game experience. This was an engaging game and looked the part. You can interact with different characters, use a lot of weapons and will need to use your brain to figure out what to do. I rate this one 8.50 overall.

HEADHUNTER (SERIES): The original is another bargain bin game that I though I would try out. On the plus side it looks sharp, but some of the game play elements are painfully outdated which makes it not so much of a buried treasure. Having to ride your motorcycle at high speed aimlessly around the streets before advancing to the next level is about as dumb as it gets. However, there are some good elements to it with decent missions and weapons although you donít get to use most of them until late in the game. There is a sequel titled Redemption, and based on the original I wasnít going to play it but wound up using a free rental on it. I was pleasantly surprised because they solved most of the problems from the first game. Redemption is also a much longer game with a better storyline. HH (7.25) HR (8.50).

RATCHET & CLANK (SERIES): My older brother actually turned me onto this game which turned out to be not only quite addicting, but extremely fun and easy to get into. The best feature of this game is that you donít have to be an expert gamer to get to the end or truly enjoy this game. As Ratchet (with Clank on your back) you are saving the universe with every weapon under the sun at your disposal. Youíve got even more of an arsenal than a game (see below) I loved in James Bond. Weíre talking bombs, a shotgun-like cannon, sniper rifle, whips, lava spewing guns, enemy infecting goo and a whole lot more. Donít get too excited by part 3ís online mode though. It is essentially like playing Star Wars Battlefront in the Ratchet & Clank environment which to me doesnít make much sense. Worse yet, you donít get all of the weapons and in my brief experience the online experts typically gang up on the newbies. Overall, however, this is a set of games that you could own for about $70 and is well worth it. Original (9.25) Going Commando (9.75) Up Your Arsenal (9.50).

GRAND THEFT AUTO (SERIES): Quite simply the standard of gaming, and the new San Andreas lives up to that standard. If you havenít heard of these games where have you been? If you donít own them, go buy them now. GTA3 is definitely a step below VC, but thatís as it should be. They made several great advances in VC and added the voice of Goodfellaís Ray Liotta to play the star (you) Tommy Vercetti. All games have an engaging storyline with progressively more difficult tasks, and a ton of ďsideĒ tasks that you can take on at various times. It seems I should say more about these games, but their reputation should do the trick although I recommend renting GTA3 before buying the entire set. SA has more of the stuff you liked in the previous games and new things like taking over gang territory, having a Sims-like girlfriend, developing skills and a lot more. It took me longer to finish SA than three other PS2 games combined. GTA3 (9.00) Vice City (9.75) and San Andreas (9.75) are all excellent games.

STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: I had very high expectations for this game and they were pretty much met. You get to play as several Star Wars characters, both good and bad guys, in several different environments and complete varying missions. There are enough weapons, vehicles, game modes and planets to keep you happy and interested. It is true to the Star Wars series and if youíre into battling as opposed to level oriented games this one could be for you. I havenít attempted online play yet, but I expect it is simply an extension of the game itself only with other games at your side instead of AI players. Iím giving this one a 9.00 overall.

NFL2K5 / MLB2K5: I have to say that the $50 price tag threw me off buying football and baseball games every year so the $19.99 made this one an easy choice. Better yet, I enjoy it this football more than Madden which doesnít come down to that price until well after the season is over. Youíve got franchise mode with all of the controls, online play (havenít tried that yet) and quality standard football. They add a crib where you can buy things like bobbleheads after earning points on the gridiron by piling up yards and points. It is well worth the cash to update on an annual basis and luckily someone figured that out. The baseball version is pretty good although it takes a little bit to get into the nuances of how to run a franchise. It is great how they add minor league prospects that you can draft and see their potential grow. My rating is going to be 9.25 overall for football and 8.75 for baseball.

THE THING: For me this was a surprisingly good game as it starts off where the popular movie finished. The tasks are interesting and I donít think blasting little alien creatures ever gets old. On the downside, because it is The Thing, you only get four different variations of creatures to take on. Mainly you get the small, annoying ones and then later on youíll get a pair of larger models. One basically resembles a hybrid between a man and a thing, the other is a blob. You also get a ďbossĒ that you have to tackle at various points in the game to move on. The real plus in this game is that you have buddies along for the ride to help you in your firefights. You also have to keep an eye on them because eventually they all become infected and turn into aliens. The problem solving (i.e. puzzles) is there and overall I think the difficulty level of this game is appropriate. Probably the best thing is that this game is a hidden gem that you can get for under twenty bucks, or less if you go used. Great game, excellent value and I rate it 8.50 overall.

JAMES BOND EVERYTHING OR NOTHING: I wondered how well the Bond series would translate to the gaming world, and the answer is quite well. Visually this game is top notch. Bond is a spitting image of Pierce Brosnan at every turn. It also helps to have the man himself doing the speaking. Other voices include bad guy Willem Defoe, supermodel Heidi Klum as a doctor, and Bond girl Shannon Elizabeth nude, err not really but her boobs hang out. Each level presents a somewhat different type of challenge and mostly different environments. At times you will find yourself riding a motorcycle firing missiles and blowing fire, while other times you will be rappelling down walls and running for cover. Naturally you also have the cool Bond gadgets, most notably an electronic spider that you can use to scout ahead and blast your enemies. I wish there were more gadgets and more clear and defined uses for them throughout the game. What I do like is that you will get the voice in your ear to guide you through some sticking points. There is nothing more frustrating than when you blow away all the enemies and donít know how to advance through the level. The game is plenty long, and you will want to replay it start to finish several times in order to unlock all the special features. In addition to having three skill levels, which most games in this genre have, you also have the goal of defeating each one in the most difficult mode to unlock a special task. Those would be something like defeating the level inside of two minutes or with no damage. When you accomplish it you earn a cheat code, which for example could be a golden gun. Good stuff. It does get progressively more difficult to achieve, but the first few arenít that tough. Overall this is an excellent gaming experience and the only thing keeping it from a perfect score is the lack of gadgets and their use so I give it 9.50 overall.

HITMAN (SERIES): How cool is it to be a paid assassin? This game is a great blend of problem solving, stealth, and flat out blowing enemies away in firefights. In H2 the story flows a lot better than HC and you can pick and choose what weapons to take with you on certain missions. This option is only available in HC after you have beaten the game. The final level of H2 is also much more difficult, while in HC it is basically a blood bath with very little strategy involved. Other than that the games are similarly good. You get a few different weapons to choose from ranging from you standard handgun to an AK-47 to your sniper rifle. Each will come in handy at various times. Most levels require a good deal of thought as you try to figure out your best plan of attack in order to achieve your mission goals. The other nice thing about H2 and HC is that there is no carrot dragging you along. That is to say that there are several different ways to attack each level and complete it. Also, you can choose stealth or just go in guns blazing. There are also cool ways in HC to take out your contracts by, for example, poisoning their soup. Iím looking forward to the new edition Blood Money due out soon. Both of these are great games although clearly H2 is your better value right now and also a better game straight up because I give H2 9.00 and HC 8.75 overall.

SILENT HILL 2 & 3: Iím really only reviewing SH2 here because the controls on SH3 were so bad that I took it back to the rental store after playing it for under ten minutes. I thought SH2 would be a little bit scary, but itís not. The problem solving is not that interesting and the enemies are very weak. Ultimately it is just a run of the mill game that is fun to complete once, but I donít think you will be rushing back to go through it again. I give it 7.00 overall.

X-FILES RESIST OR SERVE: The scenery in this game is outstanding and it should be because the environment is pretty limited. However, the character images are very poor. Mulderís eyes look like black marbles and Scully is mostly stoic although all characterís voices are done by the folks on the TV show. On the plus side you get to run through the game as both characters with slightly varying tasks. There is plenty of problem solving to keep you thinking, and lots of bad guys to satisfy your need for carnage. You need to pick up clues and navigate the town of Red Falls to unravel the mystery and truth be told the story is fairly engaging. There is also I understand a bunch of references to the television show littered throughout the game for big time fans. On the downside, you canít pan the camera the way you can in many other games for ease of navigating through rooms. This is extremely annoying at first and becomes less so as you continue through the game because you get used to it. Having to finish the game as both Mulder and Scully makes it plenty long, but I donít know if it would be that much fun to tackle again. In the final analysis it is a fun, solid game that I give 8.00 overall.

MANHUNT: If you can stomach the graphic nature of the death scenes I think you will really enjoy this game, although it is definitely not for those under 18. Basically youíre the star of some freakís movie in which you kill every man in sight. You do so using stealth and whatever weapons become available. Sometimes it is a chard of glass, while other times it will be a staple gun although later in the game you will get guns. There are certainly enough levels to keep you occupied and after you finish them you can go back and attack whichever one you want. You also can up the difficulty level and earn points by more dramatic kills to unlock extras. This increases the value of the game as far as replay goes. Overall I was very impressed with this game and although I would rather not look at the gruesome kill shots I still give it a 9.25 overall.

INDIANA JONES AND THE EMPERORíS TOMB: Chalk this one up to a great video game that ruined itself. For some dumb reason they decided to integrate difficult whip jumps into just about every level. If you fail, many times you will have to repeat the entire level, while other times it is just the nuisance of having to return to the spot of the whip jump. If youíre great at timing these jumps, you might not be bothered by this, but for those players who rank as ďgoodĒ or below it is a real momentum killer for this game. There is a decent storyline for the game, but Harrison Ford does not lend his voice and neither do any other stars as in James Bond. The problem solving is there and you get to navigate different environments. You also get to swim, shoot down airplanes from atop a gondola, operate a turret (my favorite thing to do in video games) and gun down oncoming cars while being pulled on a bike. Lots of fun stuff, but again the pace of the game is really screwed up if you miss the whip jumps. One double jump I think I missed literally 100 times before getting it, and thatís just not fun. Worse yet, no cheat code can get you past these points. Iím giving the game a 7.75 although that number jumps to 8.50 if the whip jumps are not a factor for you.

TERMINATOR 3: Death to first person shooter games. This game scores an incomplete because it just drove me batty to have to keep running into walls because Iím so used to third person shooters. Games like Hitman give you the option to slip into first person, but unfortunately this one doesnít allow you to take a step back to third person. Visually it is not very impressive either although I will say that the weapons looked cool. I played the first couple of levels and threw in the towel, not really enough to score it although it would be in the 4.50 range for me simply because first person ruins it.

FATAL FRAME: Here is a game I was looking forward to because I thought it was going to be scary. Unfortunately it had the Silent Hill screen problems where controlling the player becomes maddening at times. Youíre taking photos of ghosts and the action on the first level (the only one I played) was pretty slow. In other words, I donít recommend the game to buy whatsoever. Try it if you must.

THE SUFFERING: I had high expectations for this game and was sorely disappointed. There is plenty of stuff to do like killing people and solving puzzles, but I thought the storyline would be a lot better. The game is fairly long and with plenty of varying environments, tasks, enemies and weapons but the whole thing seemed very average to me. After completing the game you feel like saying ďso what?Ē. To that end I score it 8.25 overall.

THE GETAWAY (SERIES): This was a fun game with a great story. Basically youíre Hammond and the bad guys have your kid so youíve got to complete their dirty work or your boy gets it. The real downer is that when you are in the car traveling from mission to mission your guidance system is your blinker going off and thatís extremely annoying. You never know if you took the right turn or how far you have to go. Setting that aside, however, you are the cool anti-hero and there is plenty of whacking to be done. The levels present different problems and you will need to be smart to navigate some of them. When youíre done, like X-Files you get to go through it again as a different character, Carter the cop. This adds life to the game which is acceptably long. I think it might be fun to revisit it again after finishing it, perhaps once it has been on the shelf for three months. The sequel Black Monday, however, is a huge disappointment. The camera angles and controls have been slightly improved, but the storyline is pointless and tasks are very weak. Games are supposed to get better, not worse and I finished BM in three days. TG (8.50) BM (7.75).

MAX PAYNE (SERIES): I had a lot of fun being Max Payne and Iím on the final level of MP2. There are a couple of missions that are very difficult to move past in the original and are extremely annoying but nothing a good cheat code wonít fix. Itís a solid shooter game with not many major faults. The sequel looks a lot better and I enjoyed the storyline more, but it seems a little short. Another plus to MP2 is that you get to spend a little time in Mona Saxís shoes. I rate the original 8.50 overall and Iím giving MP2 a 9.00 overall.

RESIDENT EVIL DEAD AIM: This one is a bit lacking although itís still fun shooting up zombies. It is not very difficult to run through from start to finish and the problem solving really isnít there. You get to switch characters at different times in the game, which is cool, but other than that there isnít much to this one. I am giving it a 7.25 overall.

STAR WARS BOUNTY HUNTER: Being Jango Fett is very, very cool. You get to effectively fly around with your jet pack blasting every enemy in sight while searching for bounties and navigating missions. If you enjoy Star Wars, and like shooter games you will absolutely love this game. You will get to use different weapons along the way and some missions require that you plan your moves carefully. The replay factor is high in this game because there are sometimes around 10 bounties on a given level that you can corral, which will require you to complete the level several times over. The end level was challenging and worth the wait. The enemies are cool throughout and I am scoring this game 9.50 overall although people who arenít fans of Star Wars might rate it slightly lower.

TRUE CRIME STREETS OF LA: If you refrain from comparing it to Grand Theft Auto then you will find it is a pretty good game, but strictly in looks it might be better. The city of LA is very realistic. On the other hand, the pattern of missions is repetitive in that youíll get the same order of having to fight hand to hand, race in a car and have a shootout to complete each level. Some of the fighting gets irritating because you feel like your thumbs are going to fall off and if you donít enjoy hand to hand combat you wonít like this game very much. What I found cool was being able to have alternate endings and different paths you can take based on if you complete a level. Working with that you can skip difficult levels and still move forward in the story, which I wish a lot more games would do. In the end it is a decent game and I give it 8.25 overall while looking forward to the sequel.

RESIDENT EVIL OUTBREAK: I tried this game briefly and was pretty confused although having rented it (no manual) probably contributed to that. I didnít like the way the screen moves and canít understand why game makers are so resistant to emulate games like James Bond Everything or Nothing in this regard. I guess multi player action is what this game is being sold on, but I would try this game before investing into buying it for sure.

SPY HUNTER 2: As a fan of the classic game I was pretty disappointed in this one. The controls arenít great and the early missions I took on were very boring. If you really enjoy racing games you might think this one is better than I do, but I rate it 6.00 overall.

VAN HELSING: What a disappointment. I played the first few levels of this game and canít believe that it is yet another one where you are stuck in certain screen views. Often times your character appears very small on the screen and at other critical times you are being attacked by a creature you canít even see! Worse yet, Van hops around like a little flea and against some of the more difficult monsters that is the only way to defeat them. Do you really want to watch yourself jump around scared out of your shorts, firing every so often to beat your opponent? The cool monsters are the only good thing about this game which I give a 6.50 overall.

MAFIA: A game of this title deserves to be made much better. Early on itís more like Driving Miss Daisy and the car missions are extremely boring. When you get into the shooting missions, firing your gun is very difficult. If they are trying to emulate the 30ís era by making accuracy very hard then they succeeded but for a video game I donít think thatís what makes it enjoyable. The storyline is tiresome and often times I just push the button to move on after hearing them drabble on for a few minutes. Also, the load times are on the long side. The ending scene has to be the worst of any game I have played. Mix it all up and I give this game a 7.75 overall.

More reviews to come and if you have an opinion on these reviews please submit a comment or email me at norcalfella@small.to. Also, if you need cheat codes or walk throughs and canít find them drop me a line and Iíll be glad to help.
Playstation 2 game reviews (games added 5/12/05) | 13 comments | Create New Account
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Playstation 2 game reviews
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