MMORPG Info Logo Duodecim, Crysis 2, Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection, Razer Onza

Welcome to another fascinating collection of reviews by Wukung. This is a great selection of games and also includes a look at a Razer game controller. Previous games reviewed this year include Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Dead Space 2, Kill Zone 3, Little Big Planet 2, Deathsmiles, Bulletstorm, and Dragon Age 2.


Dissidia 012 [Duodecim]: Final Fantasy (PSP)

Squenix’s Final Fantasy brawler with little regard for gravity is back, this time with an even more ridiculous title. There is a smattering of new characters, stages, some great additions to the soundtrack and a few gameplay refinements. The combat while fun remains a little fussy, and often too dominated by the RPG element. AI without the cunning or the fallibility of human opponents made the lack of internet multi-player in the original version a weakness; this time around it’s an omission that is very hard to forgive.

While the mash up of characters from throughout the series’ near 25-year history is a big draw, there is plenty here that allows the game to stand on its own merit. Dissidia’s love of flashy, extremely impractical combat has made it one of the most visually thrilling games available on screens of any size. Duodecim is a significant update and worth a look even if you aren’t fanatical about Final Fantasy.

8/10

Note: There is a premium demo available on PSN which also gives some bonus content to the full game. The demo boasts a decent amount of content from the game and is a great low cost way to get a feel for whether Disidia’s idiosyncratic battles are for you.

Crysis 2 (Xbox 360 (version played), PS3, PC)

Crysis 2 is Crytek’s flagship showcase for their CryEngine 3. Crysis 2 game-play is mostly cast from the now very familiar mould of modern setting shooter but with the addition of a stealth ability, an armour boost and aliens. Often there is little incentive not to use stealth and simply walk past encounters.

The campaign is lengthy and the story, while not particularly great, isn’t bad either. While the game drags at the start the pace picks up later in the game. Throughout the game, check points are poorly placed.

Crysis 2 fails to branch out from being a conventional shooter in the way which Mass Effect 2 or Uncharted does. As a conventional shooter with some minor twists, despite some issues, it is well made and has a few great moments. While much more than simply a demo of Crytek’s impressive engine, Crysis 2′s gameplay won’t change the gaming landscape.

8/10

Portal 2 (Xbox 360 (Version played), PS3, PC)

Portal was a fantastic but short game. Portal 2′s single player element manages to expand the concept to a game of around ten hours. I was worried just stretching Portal’s gameplay out would make quite a dry game but Portal 2 is wonderfully paced. The puzzles are excellent and almost always strike the right balance of intuitive and fiendish, bar a couple of annoying borderline “pixel hunt” puzzles. The addition of two player co-op is a great extra. The multi-player campaign is a little relentless and falls into the trap of being a little dry that single player game avoids so well but has so many great puzzles that’s not really a problem. The extra permutation of options added by a second player is a great twist to the Portal formula. Portal 2 is an absolutely outstanding game.

9/10

Mortal Kombat (Xbox 360, PS3 (Version played), PC)

This is a reboot of the long running fighting series. All the gore you would expect from a Mortal Kombat game is here. The main single player component is the story mode which retells the the plot of the first three games. Unskippable cut scenes are extremely frustrating and the frequent switching of the character you play gives little chance to learn how to play any. One of the boss enemies demands an incredibly cheap and unsatisfying strategy to beat. A challenge tower mode gives you a mix of esoteric challenges. With 300 stages there’s plenty to keep you busy but it wears out its welcome long before it is done.

Despite some flaws in the framing of the core game Mortal Kombat is a great back-to-basics reboot. While lacking the finesse of other major fighting games the action is solid. Mortal Kombat has a lot that will be instantly recognisable to anyone who remembers playing the early game, but more than just empty nostalgia it’s a satisfying and accessible fighting game.

8/10

Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection (PSP)

The Complete Collection bundles the original fan favourite, the recent “Later Years” episodic sequel and a new chapter in-between. While Final Fantasy IV’s story remains excellent, in some ways Final Fantasy IV has not aged well, particularly some elements of gameplay and the simplicity of story telling. Despite this Final Fantasy IV stands up as an enjoyable game helped by improved graphics and audio. The “Later Years” is an interesting follow-up story but feels a bit like fan-fiction rather than a necessary extension. The “interlude” chapter feels even more pointless and mostly consists of a tour of Final Fantasy IV’s most annoying dungeon crawls.

Final Fantasy IV is still a great game for reasons other than pure nostalgia (this is actually the first time I’ve played FFIV through) and works well on the portable format. While the extras are great it’s the enhanced version of this gem from early in the series that is the star of this package.

9/10

Hardware

Razer Onza Tournament Edition, Wired Xbox 360/PC Controller

The adjustable resistance thumb sticks are more precise than those found in the official pad. The switch based face buttons are wonderfully responsive. There are two extra re-mappable bumpers, particularly useful for mapping face buttons for shooter. They take some getting used to but can be a great help. The D-Pad is segmented into separate buttons, ideal for use as a selector. The Onza D-Pad is not good for precise, rapid inputs like Street Fighter special moves. The shoulder triggers are underwhelming, not being especially ergonomic or really any more precise or responsive than those of the official pad. Despite these buttons, the pad is overall more comfortable than the official pad and has a rubberised surface for improved grip. It is only available wired but it does have a very decent length of cable.

Primarily due to the D-Pad this isn’t quite my ideal pad (I would have loved the D-Pad of Street Fighter IV pads) but this seems like a design choice to optimise handling in shooters. The biggest problem is the price tag. Retailing £50 in the UK, this price feels particularly steep compared with its $50 US pricing.

If you are looking for an improvement on the official pad, the Onza does deliver but for a steep price.

Posted by Wukung on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

1 comment

  • Steve wrote:

    There are currently at home xbox 360 portal 2 and I have played crysis 2, Mortal Kombat will play as soon as possible.

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