Rad's Reviews [A Weekly Feature]

The place to talk about any other games that the clan doesn't currently play or just the place to talk about other games in general.
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Postby IAmTheRad » Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:11 am

I'm sorry Mario, but our princess is in another castle!

Yep, the classic line from this title.
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Super Mario Bros, for the NES. This game singlehandedly changed game playing forever. It's the first smooth scrolling platform game. It's one of the main titles to resurrect the video game market after the video game crash of 1983. Of course, this game is indeed one of the great classics and very popular even today with the date of it.

The story of this title is simple. Rescue the princess from the king of the koopas. King Koopa, or these days, Bowser, also turned the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom into trees, blocks, and other types of things. Mind you, you only fight him in the end of the game, since the rest are imitations...

The graphics for this game of course are dated today, but still workable. In fact, here is a picture of the final fight.
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Notice how it's not very detailed? That's how it looks. It was of course remade in Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo, which has the EXACT same gameplay, but new graphics and sounds that take advantage of the Super NES. Well, I'll show you...
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Much more detailed, as you see. But the premise is the exact same. The enemies in the game don't look menacing, but who cares about this? When I first played the game, they didn't look mean, but I knew they could be dangerous. Anyone see Kirby? He didn't look menacing, but you know he could kick your butt.

The sound of this of course is one of the main features. The theme song is known worldwide, even by people who have never played Super Mario Bros. But I'm sure all of you have heard it. If you haven't, then where have you been for the past 21 or so years?

The gameplay is simple. All you do is run and jump on enemies and shoot fireballs at them to kill them. You just can't shoot fireballs at the Beetles, or jump on the spineys. The enemy names have been set for a while, and they have stuck forever. Goombas are the first enemy you see, piranha plants have looked the same, koopas are the turtles, Latiku's are in clouds and throw Spineys at you. Hammer brothers throw hammers at you...

This game of course is a classic, and people even have been able to buy it to this date. It's had 7 releases in North America. First on the NES, then on the Super NES in super mario all-stars, then the Game Boy Color, then the classic NES series on GBA, again for E-Reader for GBA, then in Animal Crossing for GCN, then again, most recently, on the Nintendo Wii through virtual console.

If you haven't played this yet, I suggest you do. Either for NES or Super NES. Wii is the most recent solution.

So, go play it if you have it!

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Postby IAmTheRad » Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:09 pm

Was long weekend. Holiday for me.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:45 am

School is insane. Next week too

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Postby IAmTheRad » Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:48 am

Get ready to laugh it up folks, but I have a mid-week review.
This time, it's yet ANOTHER Nintendo DS Game.
Image
What's this? Pokeman, or is it Pokemon? Pokemon Diamond, to be exact, for the Nintendo DS. Both versions are similar, with different pokemon to catch.

The background of this is that it's the fourth generation of Pokemon games, on a fourth generation Nintendo handheld. My reasoning? Red/Blue/Yellow on Gameboy, Gold/Silver/Crystal on Gameboy Color, Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald on GBA. Fire Red and Leaf Green were remakes of the first two games, but they don't count because they didn't introduce anything new.

Story: Very simple. You're a new trainer of Pokemon and must fill your Pokedex by battling and capturing Pokemon. You also have the ambition to become the Sinnoh region champion. That's right, this one takes place in a new region. Also, a rogue team of bad guys is trying to destroy the world. This isn't a new concept. Seems Pokemon games share an Everyplot.
Of course, a rating system is needed here.
3/10 for being a repeat of every previous game!

Graphics: Actually, they aren't too bad this time around. Of course, they don't use the complete capabilities of the Nintendo DS, but there's things that have made the game look better. One such thing is that buildings are 3D! Before they were all 2d. Also, there's depth in the game. Outside, and in the 'gyms' (I'll get on the features later), there's actually height. It's nothing stellar, but it does add some life to the game. One point in the story (I won't spoil it here) is a great piece of graphical work.
The pokemon all look good. There's none that make you go, "Did they just throw together parts?" There's not really anything in this game that makes you dislike the graphics. It's just not using the capabilities of the DS, so it gets a ding in the department.
8/10

Sound:
Pokemon still do not speak their names. It's all the screeches and growls and such. It won't break your eardrums, however. That's one of the main critisisms of the game I have.
Now for the good. The music! Every different town and path have different sounds. The battles between wild pokemon, legendary pokemon, gym leaders, the Elite 4, the bad guys, and trainers are different in terms of music. Also, different types of trainers on the roads use different musical tones when they spot you. After playing the game for a while, I figured out the different type of trainer I might fight depending on the music (besides their appearance)
The sound effects are lackluster. They could be better.
7/10

Gameplay:
Here we go, the gameplay. Nearly infinite, thanks to the battle tower which was added to this game. Seems the battle tower is standard. Shame it's not like the battle frontier of Pokemon Emerald...
The main story is quite short. 25 hours or so (yes, I beat the main story. It's not hard)
The main goal of the game, which is set to you, is see all 150 pokemon in the region. This is easier said than done. You will need to beat the game to see all of them, and sometimes you miss one that only appears on one day of the week at a certain time... You also must beat the entire game to see all 150. When you do see all 150, then you get the National dex which can allow you to catch pokemon from different regions which aren't in the sinnoh dex... In total there's around 450 pokemon you can catch between the two games. That's more than the other games. Of course, you need to beat the game for this feature to work. You still cannot catch the starters from previous games, and of course you can't catch the legendaries from previous games. You need to transfer them to your game using a feature called the Pal Park (if you didn't catch them beforehand in the previous, you can't transfer them...)
There's only a handful of pokemon in each game that you can't catch in their game, but thanks to one feature they're easier to get.
Much to say, there's TONS to do in this game. Fill your pokedex, train pokemon...
10/10

NEW features:
I assume you've all played pokemon games before. So, this will cover the new features.
Poketch - A wrist watch like device. The poketch appears on the bottom screen, and has different applications in it. A helpful one is the current time...
Wifi - No link cables needed. DS to DS contact, without the need to lug around those silly link cables. There's a few things to do with wifi. Battle, trade pokemon, mix records in the union room, play in the sinnoh underground, do a super contest...
Sinnoh Underground - The best place to find evolution stones, fossils, heart scales, shards... Might as well be the only place. There's NO pokemon in the underground, and it can be accessed almost anywhere in the game. Wifi play will make this better, since you can play with people in it and lay down traps and play a cheap version of capture the flag using traps to impede your opponent's path if you both used a secret base... I do not have wifi experience with this, but it can be played when alone.
Nintendo WFC - Wifi connection is NOT the same as wifi (but Nintendo doesn't want you to know that). You can trade and battle over nintendo's WFC. A great thing is TRADING over WFC. Got friend codes? Trade with them. Want to fight a friend? Use WFC.
Another two features of WFC are the Global Trade Center. See a pokemon in the game you want? Why not put up a pokemon for trade looking for that pokemon. Perhaps someone will fill the trade. Or look at some pokemon up for trade and you might have something they want. A bad thing about this is that many japanese people put impossible trades up or REALLY bad trades up. It's more reliable to put what you're looking for and putting one of your pokemon up for trade. You can get some rare pokemon sometimes...
WFC battles! Of course, it's not like you might think. Random people just have their sets of 3 pokemon for you to fight in the Battle Tower. It's just sometime to pass the time.
With friend codes, you have 6 pokemon who can fight and it's any 6 pokemon. Legendaries count. Also, you can completely use voice communication over friend codes.
Battle Tower - Is this new? Nope. But since it has the wfc battle function makes it new. Also, pokemon are capped at level 50. No more being screwed over by having a level 70 pokemon and the rest of your party at level 46...
Pal Park - Capturing the pokemon from previous games. Even when they aren't for the same system. Only the GBA game pokemon can be captured. It's also the only way to get the starters and legendaries from previous games (you lose them in your current game). Yes, I've used the Pal Park.

Wasn't this a long review? I think it was. And you do want a rating.
8/10 for this iteration of Pokemon. There's always something to do, and you can play it at your own pace. However, when you hit a certain level it's easy. Once you beat it there's not really much incentive to play it.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:52 am

Forgot a 'new' feature.
Time of day - Similar to Gold/Silver/Crystal's system, but still different. Different Pokemon can be caught at different times. Uses the internal DS clock to calculate the day and time. But instead of only 2 times, there's 5.

Weather - Snow type environment is added! Never touched in previous games. Rain was, but this was different.

There's more features, but play them to figure them out.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Tue May 01, 2007 6:30 am

It's the season finale! No more of this season! Season 1 is done.
What season, may you ask?
Sam & Max Season 1. Episode 6: Bright side of the moon.

Story: 10/10
The entire game revolves around the story. That's the deal with adventure games. I won't give away the way the story is, but it's a great story. A perfect ending to the season, which ties up the loose holes well. Not as much humour is in this one as there was in some previous episodes, but it's still a great addition to the season and series as a whole.

Sound: Completely voice acted. It's an adventure game, with voice acting! The music is also great for this episode. Fits the mood of the game well.
10/10

Gameplay: 6/10
Why 6? No replay. You beat it once, you can beat it again. The solutions won't change, neither will the items you get. The first time through is great. It's a great game, to say the least. Try and find all the humour in it. Try things that might be different. Don't worry, I won't tell.

Overall: 7/10
Big drops for the gameplay. It's an adventure game, however. A rarity in these days. Specially a point and click one. It's QUITE short to go through, but it's not insanely hard to go through. You will use your mind a couple of times (and playing the previous games will help).

If you look at it overall, each episode all together is a few hours of adventure gaming. This one has been relatively short as far as episodes go, but it has put things all together in the end. Shame the season is over. Hopefully telltale games makes a new season soon.

(Game obtained over Gametap yesterday. Played yesterday. Beat yesterday)

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Postby IAmTheRad » Mon May 07, 2007 9:14 am

Probably going, "But why, Rad, haven't you updated in a week?"

Reasons are simple. You needed to wait. Especially since a new issue of City of Heroes comes out. I do NOT review MMOs. They can change too much from patch to patch...

Now, my review.



Image

A NES Cartridge! What's this?

Oh yes, Ice Hockey for the NES. Probably one of the few games where you can play as the USSR and not be called a communist.

Story: It's hockey. What do you expect. No story here.

Multimedia elements: They aren't too good. The graphics are simple, but effective. The sounds are the different part. The puck off the ice sounds like a stick hitting ice (when you hit the puck), and the crowd cheers sounds good, for an 8 bit system. With this old game, I'm NOT giving it a rating.

Controls: 2 buttons is all you need! Shoot and pass. Of course the control pad, to move your men around. It's not like you need huge amounts of processing power. None of these deke powers, or wrist shot buttons, or choose man to pass to. It's simple, and VERY easy to pick up.

Gameplay: The great part of this game is experienced with 2 players. 2 players is the entire crux of the enjoyability of this game. Because it's so simple to pick up, and easy to play, it's fun even these days in playing with people.
Single player, on the other hand, is lackluster. The computer is WAY too easy to defeat. It was probably harder in the past...

Anyways, you had 3 sizes of men. Fat, medium, and skinny. Skinny men flew down the ice easily, but they were easily knocked over or the puck stolen from them. The fat men moved down the ice slow, but they could shoot HARD and they were machines. Medium were average at everything. You only had a choice of 4 men to use. You controlled one at a time, and passively controlled the rest of your men too.

There were 3 times for periods. 5, 7, and 15 minutes. But the 5 speeds of the game (or was it 7...) changed how fast the clock ran.

Overall:
I enjoyed this game when I was young and played it with my brother. We did some things like tried to find secret codes. It has fond memories for me. I know it's not march, but I had to put a review here this week.
This game is buyable on ebay OR if you have a nintendo Wii off virtual console. I do recommend if you buy it, to play it with someone else. It's some fun solo, maybe to learn how to play it, before you play with someone else. The learning curve is VERY small. To learn is easy. To master hard. To play with a master when you mastered, very, very fun.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Thu May 17, 2007 11:16 am

Weekly feature is the best schedule I can stick to. But this week I cannot stick to it. Or can I?

No, you'll get a review on the weekend.

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Postby [FnG] pyxie.T32 » Sat May 19, 2007 4:14 pm

Nice Rad, that hockey game reminds me of a MegaDrive football game called Fever Pitch, so simple yet so fun, some of the players had special abilities such a the ability to dive, bunny hop with te ball or punch other players, all in 16x bit glory!!
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Gravity, not just a good idea, ...It's the LAW!

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Postby IAmTheRad » Sun May 27, 2007 11:09 am

Image

What's this, an image of some weird game called Mario Adventure? What system is that for anyways?

Well, the system it is for is: NES, but it's not for NES. Good luck finding a cart of this, because you won't. It's a hack of super mario bros 3. And a righteous hack at that. Again, I'm going to forgoe the regular scores here. Something like this is just amazing without scores. And this review is different than the one that was eaten by my computer when I got a blue screen of death.

Mario Adventure, for Nintendo Entertainment System, which has only be released in rom form. That's right, kids. It's only a ROM. Does this mean it's illegal? The hack file isn't, the rom is.

Released in 2006, this has been hailed as one of the, if not THE best NES hack ever. Almost Everything has been changed. New levels, new abilities, and in some cases, new enemies.

A new ability is Kuribo's shoe. You may not think it's new, but in this case, it is. Because it's a powerup. You can find it in many levels, and use it. Very helpful. Another new ability is magic mario. It's attack is insanely powerful, and when ducking it's immune to damage. I believe that magic mario was the replacement for Hammer mario. But in this case, it's new. Maybe a combination of hammer mario and tanooki mario's statue. The most powerful mario in the game (but it cannot fly)

A new effect is every level has a random weather chance. As far as I know, the weather does nothing, except be a fancy background. So, it's still a new feature. Also, infinite lives! Your coins go for useful things.

Now, the big one. The gameplay. It's HARD. Seriously. You will die a bunch. Seriously. It's hard, but it's awesome.

Give this hack a try! Go on, download this hack! ROM not included.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:24 am

No, I'm not abandoning this.

Just... haven't wrote anything in a bit. I'll get a review tomorrow.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:00 pm

Yep, another review. After ALL this time. What have I been doing?

Playing city of heroes *cough*

Anyways, this week we will have a special feature. And by Special, I mean Image

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Yep, Oblivion. The newest game in the Elder Scrolls series of games. Why not Shivering Isles? Because, I can do that one later. Ready? Here we go!

Story:
The entire game is based upon the story. You can't just run around and do nothing (well, you can) without hitting some form of a story. Almost everything in the game has a story behind it. A weapon with a name might have a story to tell of how you found it deep inside a dungeon, or on a tough enemy in the game. Yep, the story is all about the game.
Speaking of the story, the main quest is where the main story is about. Of course, it's a long lined approach to the game, with books detailing the game, quests, journal entries, speech. It's all here.

And one of the most interesting factions in the game is the Dark Brotherhood. They have a great story line for you to do.

Graphics: Amazing. Trees look like trees, people look like people. Everyone has their own unique look (except that they are REALLY ugly in most cases, but it's still nice to see everyone being unique. They really stretched out to make this game look good. If you have a good video card (I'm basing this review on the PC version) then you're in for a treat. Everything looks like it should. Monsters they had their own chance to work with. The only issue is that the terrain is low rez. But mods fix that!

Sound: Voice acting for every humanoid enemy. Magic has a magical sound, weapons sound like they should. And even when you have a sword fight the weapons sound like they're hitting each other.
My only gripe is the obvious lack of differences in music. You'll hear the same songs very often. The PC version has an advantage here. The PC version of the game lets you put in your own music for different events. Also it's moddable to change some of the sounds.

Gameplay:
The meat and potatoes of the game. Here's where you'll spend 100% of your time in the game. Now, the DEFAULT settings in the game...
The game levels with you. You level up, so does the game. You'll find better loot in chests, fight harder monsters, and overall the game will be harder. HOWEVER, this is not good. You must use a 'major is minor' mentality in this to make sure you can beat the game without being outclassed by everything the game throws at you. You'll find bandits wearing the best armor late in the game in terms of levels. This is where it gets a SEVERE penalty. At least the game will be harder when you level up, but mods out there change this setting so you might find the best armor at level 1, but it'll be REALLY hard to get.

Now, the good part. You can do anything the game engine allows you to do. See a mountain you want to climb? Go ahead, climb it. See a dungeon you want to explore? Go ahead, you can do that. There aren't time limits in this game for quests. You can take your time, and walk off the beaten path. You might find something very extraordinary in the land to take. It's worth it to explore strange dungeons. You can find awesome things.

You can also pursue a life of crime. Rob houses at night, or murder their inhabitants. The guards will investigate crimes, and it's usually you who does them. The guards WILL defeat you if you don't give yourself up.

Now, what can a mod do?
Change almost everything in the game.

A quick overview on the official mods:
Horse Armor - Make your horse look different and give it some extra hp. Not worth it

Orrery - A quest to retrieve some dwarvish artifacts to make an orrery in the arcane university work. You get special powers if you do this. Worth it.

Frostcrag Tower - A tower built mostly for those who want to be a wizard. Also the only way to get a spell altar and enchanting altar without being in the arcane university. Worth it

Thieves Den - A dungeon that when you complete it, you get a shiny new pirate cave. Worth it.

Mehrunes Razor - The BEST dungeon I've seen. It's HUGE and there's TONS inside it. HIGHLY recommended

Vile Lair - A house more geared towards the undead or the evil. Not worth it.

Spell Tomes - Random tomes will appear on some NPCs and inside chests. They may contain a nice spell. Worth it

Knights of the Nine - This needs a seperate review

Shivering Isles - This needs a seperate review.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:05 pm

This week... Shivering Isles. No boxshot, because it doesn't say anything about the game.

Story: A strange portal opens somewhere in the Nibel Bay with everyone who goes inside it then outside it completely changed in terms of personality. Their minds are completely different. Being mad, insane, sad. And the voice that comes out of it calls for a Champion. This, is the story of the Shivering Isles.

Yes, the Shivering Isles. A strange land ruled by the Daedric Prince Sheogorath, and his faithful handyman Haskill. Every aspect of the land reflects the prince, and he asks for a champion to stop the Greymarch by the Daedric prince of order, Jyggalug.

The entire story brings you throughout the Shivering Isles, where it's up to you to stop this Greymarch from happening. The quests reflect insanity. The two areas are Dementia and Mania.

I better stop here before I spoil too much of the game. I've done this entire campaign and most of the side quests, and it's great.

Graphics:
Standard Oblivion fare. Oh wait. The new monsters look stellar, and the entire realm reeks of madness. How can you survive in this surreal wonderland? Pay attention. The enemies are great looking and test your mettle against a foe.

Sound:
Same music. No new music...
But the voices are great.
Sheogorath is ANNOYING. But it's expected from the Daedric Prince of madness. Those of you who did Sheogorath's shrine quest in Oblivion without Shivering Isles, I don't envy you for a second. The new voice is much better (and it's used in the daedric shrine quest instead!)
Haskill's voice is AWESOME. He has no emotion in it, but it's great. You can hear it in one other place after you do one thing, but I can't spoil it for you. It's just too fun to see.

Gameplay:
The bread and butter of this expansion. Same ol, same ol'. New spells, items, weapons, enemies. The enemies fight differently than you're used to. I can't explain it good enough. If you're used to Oblivion, you'll have no trouble adapting.

Overall:
A worthy expansion to this game. It's all worth it in the end. More worthwhile than Knights of the Nine, actually. Also the final quest for the main quest of the shivering isles is the best quest in the game I think.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:55 pm

It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, I work these days.

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Postby IAmTheRad » Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:33 am

Okay, okay. Okay. First one in a while.

Image

This week, Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s for the Playstation 2.

If you're not familiar with the Guitar Hero series, it's very simple. You play music. Not just any instrument, mind you. But a guitar. And this is where the game gets it's name. Of course, rocks the 80s has a different premise than the other games in the series. This, my friends, is all about 80s music. Songs from the 80s, fashion from the 80s, venues that are changed to fit the theme of the 1980s. My friends, the 80s comes to life, in this game made in 2007.

Gameplay:
It might not seem like much, playing a guitar. But, it's fun. You pick up your guitar controller (don't have experience using the dual shock controller. Don't plan on having that experience), put on the strap of it, have it plugged into your PlayStation 2, and begin playing. But that doesn't seem too exciting, does it? Well, one other thing. The controller has 5 fret buttons, a whammy bar, the strum bar, and the select and start button. Of course it also has a tilt control, but I'll get to that soon.

It may seem like hogwash to talk about the controller, but the controller in this case makes the game. Kind of like how the dance pad makes Dance Dance Revolution (or StepMania for the PC). Without the dance pad, it's just a game where you line up arrows. Not too fun.

Anyways, the gameplay is simple. You watch the screen, with 'notes' coming down the screen. You see your bar where you can play the notes, and you use the guitar to play these notes. You press a fret button, or two if the situation calls for it, and strum. Seems simple, doesn't it? Indeed, it is simple. However, it's not easy to do all the time. When you first start, you'll probably be able to get along with only 3 of the fret buttons. Then comes medium, which is a step in difficulty, adding the fourth button. The infamous blue button. Yes, you'll need to use 4 buttons instead of 3. That's not all, folks. Later on, you get the 5th button. Now, with 5 buttons, how can it be hard? Easy. You can only theoretically press 4 at a time. And have your fingers set up to press 4. But, you have 5 you might need to press in a song. As well, the speed increases.

Now, the gameplay is described there. The gameplay is fairly simple, but addictive. Press the frets and strum in time to the music. Miss a note, lose some of the 'rock' meter (which represents your life). Get too many notes wrong, you lose. Get lots right, you win. And get scored. Yep, there's a scoring mechanism in this game, and rewards for getting high scores too. Like more money to use in the virtual shop.

The shop is where, in Guitar Hero Encore: rocks the 80s, is where you can buy one other character, guitars, or finishes for the guitars. Not much as compared to the other games in the series which had a lot more to purchase. Therein lies the problem. Lack of bonuses to unlock. But the game's still fun.

Multimedia:
It's all about 80s music, and that's what you'll get. It has some great hits of the 80s, such as Flock of Seagulls - I Ran (so far away) and Twisted Sister - I Wanna Rock. These two are masters, which means the actual band performed them. One other, which seems, odd, band choice is the fictional band Limozeen, with their song of Because, it's midnight. Of course, they are the current day rendition of a 1980s hair band.
Now, the music is top notch, and since you get to play the guitar track of it, you have the biggest job. Don't screw up, because if you do, your cover band will lose! Oh wait, this is about the multimedia aspects of the game...

Okay, okay. The music is all greatly done. The songs are great for the most part, but some are wonders why they didn't pick newer songs or better songs from that group. The two main songs I pointed out above are played exactly like you'd hear it from a CD. Not covers (but the covers of the other songs are top notch as well). With your strumming, and your playing, the music comes alive.

The visual aspects are a little different. You don't really pay attention to them when you're concentrating on the bar where the notes come down (it has an appearance that's simple, yet effective). But the game, if you take the time to look at it, has a special quality. It fits the theme of the 1980s. Each venue looks to be from the 80s. And each character got a makeover to look like they're from the 80s. Same hair style, and clothing that you might see in a band from the 80s. However, the other band members of your band still look like they do in the previous game of the series, Guitar Hero 2. A small setback, but the point of the game is the music, and the gameplay.

Overall:
Seems a long-winded review, after a long hiatus, don't you think? However, a necessairy evil. Now, would I buy this game after I tried it? No, but I already did. The price offsets the quality. A small disappointment for what's included in this package. At least it's fun. If you enjoyed the other games of the series, I bet you'd enjoy this title. I'd wait until the price dropped a little, if I were you. As many other reviews state, it feels more like an expansion pack than a full-blown new game. At least this one will never make it onto the xbox 360 (if the songs are downloadable content I'll be upset)

Rent or buy, you might ask. Seems I never post this. Rent first. If you really enjoy it and don't want to wait for the price to drop, then go ahead and buy it. It does have the replay value of the other ones, but without the massive song collection, or all the things to purchase, it seems a little disappointing as compared to the other games in the series.

Overall, great game. But the price offsets the greatness. A final score? Oh, we need numbers now? 7/10. Mostly effected by the price.


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