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Scooby Doo: First Frights, Review PS2


Review of Scooby Doo: First Frights on Sony PS2

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Scooby Doo: First Frights, Character Reveal


Scooby Doo: First Frights - Character Reveal, first look at the game

Fred and Velma Character Reveals

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, Review PS2, Konami


Having played PES 2008 on the PS3, I was intrigued to find out exactly what made the title fresh on the PS2. In a nutshell the PS3 version benefited from the extra PS3 processing power with a natural ebb and flow to a game at speed, HD visuals as well as increased player movement & actions and an improved shooting mechanism. Where it fell down is that the flow to the game was wonderful when the frame rate wasn't playing up as it tending to do, goalkeepers parry shots like their life depends on it and that the online experience was almost unplayable. As a vast majority of us will be experiencing PES 2008 on the PS2, I found it interesting to see how the game stacked up to its supposedly superior brother.

Continue reading: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, Review PS2, Konami

Singstar: Rock Ballads Review, Sony PS2


I remember my last Singstar review. I think I mentioned something about finding it difficult to come up with anything new to say about a title that everyone knows about. As you can imagine, with the tenth PS2 release of the series in what amounts to just a few short years (I know, it seems like an eternity) here I am banging my head against the wall in sheer frustration at trying to come up with something more "same old, same old, different tracks"... Well, I'll give it a try but don't expect me to pull up any trees here okay?

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SOCOM US Navy SEALS Combined Assault, Review PS2, Zipper Interactive


The squad based military 3rd person shooter is back with another tense adventure. The PlayStation 2 system's top online gaming franchise continues its assault with an all-new 4-player cooperative play, improved enemy AI, and new vehicles and weapons for campaign mode. You are placed in command of the most feared Special Forces team assembled through varied missions spanning across multiple diverse regions.

Continue reading: SOCOM US Navy SEALS Combined Assault, Review PS2, Zipper Interactive

The Red Star, Review PS2, XS Games


The Red Star is hybrid beat-em-up and top down shooter set in a futuristic Russia. The game has had somewhat of an interesting history; it was originally planned for release in late 2004 however around this time its publisher - Acclaim Entertainment went bankrupt. As a result the game was forgotten in all the chaos and sat on the shelf gathering dust for over two years. The game was destined to finally see the light of day however when XS Games picked the game up and decided to actually release it for the PS2.

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God of War 2, Review PS2, Sony Entertainment


 

Kratos returns in the second instalment of the epic God of War series from Sony. The game promised to be bigger, better and more brutal than the first game - is it the God-like game everyone expected or a game for mere mortals? Lets find out........

Story
The game is loosely based on ancient Greek myths legends and starts off right where GoW left off, with Kratos as the God of War having defeated Ares in the first game. What follows is a story of deceit and betrayal that sees Kratos stripped of his powers and immortality and subsequently his fight to exact revenge on the Gods of Olympus and his father Zeus.

Your journey sees you cross paths with numerous legendary characters and monsters all playing a part in Kratos's action packed story.

The tale moves at a fast pace and numerous cut-scenes and regular narration keep you engrossed in the story start to finish.

Graphics
In a word - stunning; the variety of environments and the level of detail incorporated is astounding. Character models are also stunning ranging from Kratos himself to the giant sized titans that fill your TV. Once the action kicks in the screen is a blur of weapons, limbs and lots of blood - make no mistake this is a gore-fest!!

Cut scenes are beautifully drawn and animated, amongst the best on the PS2 which will probably not be bettered at this stage in the machines lifecycle.

Another fantastic graphical touch is the preset action sequences that Kratos performs when an enemy is on their last legs - these are particularly inventive and brutal at the same time.

Sound
Sound throughout the game is top class - the various musical scores used fit the setting and feel of the game perfectly.

In game effects are also superb from the stellar voice acting to the clashing of blades and sounds of battle.

The voice acting really stands out with each character, major and minor having a very distinct voice. Kratos definitely sounds like the mean ass-kicker he is!

Gameplay
If you are a fan of the first game you will know what to expect and basically you just get more of the same, more action, more weapons and more powers. One of the criticisms levelled at the first instalment were that although fantastic, the boss battles were few and far between. This has also been remedied in GoW2 and the game features a plethora of memorable boss battles at regular points during play.

The game doesn't really follow a level format as such, however there are distinct areas and environments to visit - due to the regular save and checkpoints you are able to dip in and out of the game at any point rather than having to restart a specific level. This also helps if you miss a jump or fall off a cliff - you generally restart very close to where you died.

Kratos have plenty of combos and powers at his disposal; you have various magic spells, a bow, a sword, a hammer and the obligatory blades of Athena. On top of this you can activate rage of the titans to deliver some high speed homicide or slow down time using the Amulet of the fates.

All of these lead to an almost endless amount of options when it comes to dealing out the pain, which is a whole lot of fun - my only criticism is that unlike the Devil May Cry series you are not encouraged to mix up the combos and be innovative and I generally found myself using the same effective few combos over and over. Compared to Devil May Cry, the combat engine lacks a little depth and I think some sort of style meter would have added another level of strategy to the fighting. This is both a blessing and a curse as the slight lack of depth means that the game is much easier to pick up and enjoy without the level of frustration found in the DMC series. To be honest both games are fantastic in their own right.

One thing that surprised me about the game was the number and variety of puzzle elements - these are well implemented and break up the action fuelled gameplay nicely. While never too taxing on the grey matter progress does require a little thought.

On normal mode the game is not too challenging although you may have to have a few cracks at some of the bosses however this never gets too frustrating due to the continues and restart positions. As such progress through the game can be fairly swift but your first play through should take 8-12 hours depending on your level of exploration.

Once completed there are plenty of extras to take on in the form of a new game plus, extra outfits to unlock, challenge of the titans as well as the increasing difficulties up to the unforgiving God mode. All of these extras will easily add another 20-30 hours to the game if you can stomach the challenge!!

Conclusion
If you want a top notch action adventure that looks, sounds and plays like a dream - then look no further. God of War 2 builds on the fantastic original and gives you blood, gore, action and enjoyment by the bucket-load. Surely this will be one of the last great games on the PS2 and shouldn't be missed!! Overall I give God of War 2 ................

9 out of 10

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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Review PS2, Rockstar


 

Back to Vice City we go, this time to take control of Vic Vance. The game is set a couple of years before the original Vice City and Vic is the brother of one of the originals main characters - Lance Vance. Lance joins the army, but before you could say boo to a goose, his corrupt commanding officer has him picking up cocaine, ho's and generally blowing sh*t up. Vince is trying to gather cash to help his sick brother and support his family and whilst voices his concerns about his superiors orders, he gets on with them anyway. Flimsy, but ever so Vice City. The most welcoming thing on your return to Vice City however, are the neon 80's graphics and Hawaiian shirts which almost welcome you home.

As with Vice City stories, you should be warned not to expect anything in terms of functionality as was seen with San Andreas. Making an unwelcome return is the old analogue stick camera control, not being able to climb over obstacles, no multi-player mode (as seen on the PSP and to an extent in San Andreas) and the old school R1 targeting system. This is something you would expect for a tarted up import of PSP title but it does contain a few surprises as they swimming element is now included and whilst missions aren't as all engaging as a normal GTA release they are not as over simplified as they were in Liberty City Stories. This said, neither are the characters, with a lot of old familiar faces returning (e.g. Phil Cassidy, Umberto Robina, & Ricardo Diaz) and generally a more engaging cast and all round account than that of Liberty City Stories. Also returning is the 80's soundtrack which I won't spoil for you but again it is a fun soundtrack in combination with the irreverent and insulting DJ chatter.

Vice City Stories is nothing new in terms of Grand Theft Auto titles but offer more of the same. The graphics and game engine are exactly what you would expect. If you played Vice City don't expect anything new in terms of the way the City looks (there are a few exceptions as it is set a couple of years earlier but nothing monumental), how badly the 80's style cars drive (the driving mechanics are identical but for some reason I seemed to fishtail in Vice City much more than in any other titles) or indeed the way the City itself sounds. I suppose some may be disappointed by the fact that it is more a less a PSP release on PS2, but if you realise that before you get into it there should not be any problems. Rockstar have again priced the ported version as a budget title and are not trying to pretend it is something that it is not. If you fancy revisiting an old favourite but with new missions and characters to remember why you enjoyed it so much in the first place, then off you go.

7 out of 10

Harris

Eyetoy Kinetic Combat, Review PS2, Sony


So, what better way to burn off the "Winter Warming" (or "fat" to those of you who can be honest with yourself) than with a thorough interactive workout which also boasts that it will not only get you fit, but also teach you Kung Fu variant known as Hung Gar? Hung Gar promises a variety of moves, stances and exercises that will increase not only your physical well being, but your mental state of mind also. All of this for the price of a PS2 game, there must be a catch.

Continue reading: Eyetoy Kinetic Combat, Review PS2, Sony

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, Review PS2, Square Enix


Final Fantasy VII is one of the most popular and in many peoples eyes the greatest RPGs of all time. The characters and universe portrayed in FF7 are so loved that even 10 years after the games initial release message boards are flooded with cries for a remake. Fans were somewhat sated by last year's release of Advent Children on DVD, picking up where FF7 left off, but the desire to actually delve back into Midgar still burns strong. Dirge of Cerberus (DoC) is a spin-off that follows one of the most popular but mysterious characters from the FF7 universe, Vincent Valentine. Fans expecting a typical Final Fantasy RPG romp will be disappointed though as DoC is actually an action packed third person shooter.

Continue reading: Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, Review PS2, Square Enix

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