It's time for Gaming Review Number Three! Huzzah! Hooray! Etc etc.....
This time around I'm going to have a ganders at Viva Pinata.
Viva Pinata – Shake It Like A Party Animal!
Viva Pinata is a.... gardening simulator.
That's right, gardening simulator. It was released back in late 2006. It was developed by Rare Software, who were behind many well loved N64 games, such as Banjo-Kazooie, and even Goldeneye.
No! Wait! Don't stop reading at gardening simulator! Let me continue, and hopefully, you will catch Pinataitis too, and become a fan of the game!
At the start, you're dumped on the paradisical Pinata Island, and given a small allotment, to turn into a fantastical garden.
Starting out with only the most basic spade and watering can, you must gradually transform the plot of land, and attract a wide variety of Pinata to come and inhabit your garden.
As you attract more Pinata, and place more plants and ornaments in your garden, you gain experience, which brings with it access to higher level items, and a bigger plot of land, which in turn allow to attract more and more high level Pinatas.
So say goodbye Whirlms....
and hello Roario!
The game was released in late 2006, so if you're expecting an absolute visual extravaganza, you're going to be sorely disappointed.
However, whilst the visuals are somewhat basic, they suit the style and feel of the game perfectly, and the bright colours and fanciful designs really bring the gardens created in the game to life.
Viva Pinata plays in a similar vein to games such as The Sims, in that you have a pre-defined play area, which you can populate with a variety of furniture and in this case Pinata.
The game throws you challenges in the form of Pinata requests. Parties naturally require Pinatas in order to be truly partytastic, so every so often the game offers you challenges to attract certain pinata within a certain time to be sent off to the parties.
These challenges can be ignored if you feel you may not be able to achieve them, but they add experience to your Gardener Level if you meet them.
There are also “Romance Dances” that need to be completed in order to allow your Pinata to breed.
These take the form of maze mini-games, with hazards to avoid and coins to collect.
Naturally though, the real lure of Viva Pinata is the constant desire to attract bigger and better Pinata, which, believe me, will keep you hooked for hours on end!
The audio in Viva Pinata is pretty decent.
The noises made by the Pinata are suitable for their design, but the true joy of the audio comes in the form of the relaxing background music.
It's this coupled with the bright and colourful visuals that make Viva Pinata one of the most relaxing gaming experiences out there.
Viva Pinata is by no means cutting edge in any sense of the word, however, it is most definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
Viva Pinata is a truly fantastic time sink, and is as much an aid to relaxation as it is a video game. It comes highly recommended, so go and check it out, you should be able to pick it up for about £5!
It's been a long time coming, but here it is ladies and gentlemen - Metacarpi's Game Review - Number Two!
This time around, I'm going to be looking at the original Bioshock.
Bioshock is a first person shooter game, with elements of horror and rpg mechanics thrown in. Developed by 2K games (now known as Irrational Games), and released originally on the Xbox 360 in August 2007. A PS3 version followed in October 2008.
Bioshock is set during 1960 in the fictional underwater dystopian city of Rapture. Founded in 1946 by Andrew Ryan, Rapture was envisioned as being a haven for those who did not wish to be restrained by the conducts and morals that society imposed on them. A place where "the artist need not fear the censor, and the scientist need not be restrained by petty morality".
The discovery of ADAM, which led to the ability to rewrite genetic structure, eventually led to the city's downfall.
Initially planned to be used to improve fitness, strength, etc, these modifications soon took a turn for sinister, and soon modifications such as fireballs, lightning bolts, and freezing began to emerge.
As more and more people used ADAM to "splice" abilities, they became more and more addicted to the substance, eventually leading to insanity.
Meanwhile, control of the city was being contended by a man named Frank Fontaine. This pressure caused Andrew Ryan to press hard on Fontaine and his interest, causing him to fall out of grace with many of the people of Rapture.
Eventually, on the eve of 1959, civil war broke ouw, and Rapture was torn apart.
The game begins with the protagonists plane crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. When he emerges from the shell of the plane, a lighthouse structure can be seen.
The protagonist heads towards the structure, and descends.....
It needs to be remembered that Bioshock is now 3 years old.
Bioshock was built on the Unreal 2.5 engine, with many modifications that were to be in included in the Unreal 3.0 engine build.
Although it looks a little rough compared to many more modern games, for it's time, it was a fantastic looking game, and was especially praised for it's ground breaking water effects.
Rest assured, even if you are a graphics obsessive, there is nothing in Bioshock that will ruin the experience for you.
Bioshock is, first and foremost, an FPS game. However, it also contains some streamlined RPG aspects, in so much as you can upgrade your weapons, plasmids, health and EVE in various ways.
The game progresses through various levels, each detailing a different area of the city. Within each area are a number of obstacles, enemies, and audio diaries.
It's through these diaries that the story of Bioshock and Rapture is largely told. And what a story it is! I would heartily recommend to anyone searching every last nook and cranny of the game to find them, as they really flesh the experience out.
The game also allows two types of weaponry to be used, both convential firearms and plasmids.
This allows for a degree of tactical combat, as various combinations of plasmids and weapons have greater effect on certain enemies.
The audio in Bioshock is truly special, with the audio effects providing a real pervasive atmosphere of the decaying city of Rapture.
The voice acting is also worthy of note, as the delivery of the enemies speech, and the audio diaries themselves really capture a sense of the decline of the city, and the ensuing insanity that consumed the city.
For me, Bioshock is truly one of the best games of this generation, as it combines fantastic gameplay, with an engaging and deep storyline.
If you haven't played it yet, you should be able to pick up a copy really cheap, and should do so immediately! SCORE: 9/10 GRAPHICS: 7/10 AUDIO: 9/10 GAMEPLAY: 9.5/10
Recently I've been trying to think of a way that I can actively contribute towards the UG Community, largely inspired by the thread ZeGuitarist has started in the Pit.
Unfortunately my ability to record is virtually none existant, so I decided the best way in which I could produce some worthy content, was either through art, or through blogging. I chose blogging, but the art might sneak it's way in if I can produce something relevant and worthy!
And with that brief introduction out of the way, here we go! The first in a series of Gaming Reviews!
Just remember that the games I review here won't always be new releases, they'll tend to be on whatever game it is that I'm playing at the moment, and unless stated otherwise, they'll be the 360 version!
With this and all future reviews, be aware that there will more than likely be some minor plot spoilers.
Fallout 3 is the latest entry in the fallout series, which originated back on the PC in 1997, when the sequel to the 1988 game "Wasteland" was released.
The events of Fallout 3 occur in the year 2277, 36 years after the events of Fallout 2, and 200 years after the nuclear apocalypse that reduced the world to it's current state.
The story begins with the birth of a child, and the introduction plays out as snippets of the first 19 years of the childs life in Vault 101, including a birthday party, and a Generalised Occupation Aptitude Test.
At the end of the introduction, everything shatters as your father leaves Vault 101, causing an upset that causes the Vault 101 Overseer to attempt to hunt you down. You escape with the help of a friend, and thus begin your adventure in the desolt wastelands that once was Washington D.C, now known as the Capital Wasteland, attempting to hunt your father down, and find out exactly why he left the safety and sanctuary of Vault 101....
Fallout 3 uses a modified version of the Gamebryo engine that was used to power Oblivion, and as such, there are only minor graphical improvements over Oblivion.
However, the colour palette and design work that has been worked on for Fallout has lead to a vast play area that, even though it's the aftermath of a Nuclear Apocalypse, really feels vibrant and alive.
It doesn't really weigh up to modern releases like Final Fantasy 13, but the graphics are more than good enough to allow for a really effective and immersive role playing experience.
For anyone familiar with the way that Oblivion plays, you can expect a pretty familiar experience with Fallout 3.
The game sits you down in the middle of a vast play area, with a vague indication of where the main story leads you, however, you're completely free to forge your own path.
The game plays in the standard FPS way, with the only difference being the inclusion of V.A.T.S (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System), which freezes time, allowing you to target specific areas of an enemy, complete with a read out showing how likely you are to strike.
So, in a nutshell, expect plenty of exploration, coupled with plenty of combat with various types of mutants, and insane wasteland survivors.
There are many awesome aural pleasures to be found whilst exploring the Capital Wasteland.
Whilst the atmospheric sounds used to flesh out the Wasteland do a fantastic job of allowing the Wasteland to spring to life in your ears, the real beauty of Fallout 3's audio lies in the music that's broadcast over the Wasteland via the various radio signals that can be found throughout the world.
Consisting of various tunes hand-picked from the 1950's, the soundtrack does an excellent job of capturing the "retro" aspect of Fallout 3's "retro-futuristic" vibe.
Overall, I'd highly recommend Fallout 3 to anybody looking to sink a few weeks into exploring a highly detailed and wonderfully realised game world, and would rank it as one of this generation of consoles "Must Play" titles.
I got a 30 day ban for flaming and contributing to a reported thread.
I guess I should have read the rules more closely about contributing to a reported thread, so I have to accept that.
The flaming? I disagree with. Okay, maybe I was a little harsh, but the guy had made three threads that had been repeatedly closed, and was told where to go to get an answer to his question, and he was clearly getting arsey about it.
So I called him a jackass - - hardly offence of the year! But I guess I can see why the mods banned me.
Anyway, now the banhammer has struck, and I wont be about until the 23rd of February.
Soooooo.... feel free to help the time fly by by posting comments and what not on my profile! That way I can at least try and keep in touch with everyone!
Well, I thought I'd better post a blog, being as my profile looks pretty blank!
The only problem is, I'm struggling to think of anything to put..... so I guess I'll write a mini review of a gig I went to last saturday.
13/10/2007 - Pitchshifter - Nottingham Rock City.
Support: The Ghost Of A Thousand, Shaped By Fate, Brigade.
Firstly, I missed TGOAT and SBF, as the ticket said that doors were at 7:30, but the first act actually came on at 6:45. That's insanely early!
However, a bit of pre-gig research showed that TGOAT and SBF appeared to be run of the mill, "look at our awesome hair and tatoos" kinda bands, so I don't feel like I missed out on much!
Brigade on the other hand, we're actually pretty good. They deftly mixed some decent rocking tunes, with heavy atmospheric passages, in such a way that the Deftones would have been proud! The only downside is that the singers voice (isn't he the brother of Charlie "I was in Busted" Simpson?) get's irritating after a while!
Anyways, onto Pitchshifter.
This was the fourth time I'd seen them, and damn, they never disappoint! A blistering set that never let the pace slow down for one second. They reeled out brilliant song after brilliant song, so I really can't think of any real reason why these guys never really broke the mainstream in the same way that the Prodigy did.
The atmosphere was incredible, the pit was awesome (everybody was looking out for each other, and there was little to no shitty hardcore dancing!). The only downside was that it must have been about a million degrees in there!
Due to the fact that two members of Pitchshifter (M.D. Clayden and Jason Bowld) are the core duo of This Is Menace, and due to the fact that they are thoroughly awesome guys, after the gig they were giving away copies of This Is Menaces debut album "No End In Sight", which comes as a thoroughly recommended listen!
Anyways, all in all a fantastic night! Roll on the next proper gig I'm going to (I'm going to see John Otway on 20/10, but I'm guessing nobody here will know who that is, so the next real gig I'm going to is Biffy Clyro on 14/11 I think)!