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Posts with tag gamezone

Smackdown returns, do the load times still suck?

Smackdown is out today. I was originally going to do a Metareview for this game, but I decided: why not focus on the one crucial flaw of last year's game? The load times. As you may remember, WWE SmackDown! 2006 got smacked down by the gaming community by having quite possibly the worst load times of any game in recent memory. Is this year's iteration of the popular wrestling franchise any better? Let's find out:
  • Gamespot (79/100) - "Load times are still a big issue, as well, though not quite as humongous an issue as they were last year. Prematch load times are still long and annoying, especially when you have entrances set to on; menu transitions, especially in season mode, take longer than they ought to; and creating a wrestler can still be a time-consuming process, thanks to the loading. Again, Yuke's did improve this aspect somewhat this year, but load times continue to get in the way of the game."
  • Games Radar (80/100) - "The developers remembered this, too; they made a focused effort to drastically reduce loading. And it worked: the loads aren't lightning quick, but they are far faster, now measuring in double-digit seconds instead of minutes."
  • GameZone (85/100) - "On to the bad news, the game suffers from heavy lag that just doesn't pertain to the Ad Hoc multiplayer mode but throughout the single-player mode as well. This, of course, is a major annoyance that often leads to missed punches or choke slams. Secondly, the long load times are back, although - on a lighter note -they're not as frequent as the first game."
The critics say the load times have improved, but are they tolerable yet? I'm placing an open challenge to all readers: if you own this game, please make a similar video, for PSP Fanboy fame, and maybe even a little swag, or something.

Continue reading Smackdown returns, do the load times still suck?

Valhalla Knights details in lengthy interview


GameZone recently interviewed Jimmy Soga, Assistant Localization Producer of the upcoming PSP-exclusive RPG Valhalla Knights. Like in most RPGs, the main hero seems to have lost his memory, and must go on a journey to find out the truth behind his past. And also like in most RPGs, his destiny will most likely intertwine with the fate of the world. Pretty dramatic, no? The interview is very, very long, so for those of you that are too lazy to read it all, here are a few excerpts:
  • Character customization is key: you can customize the main character, and all the playable characters that join your party. "You are able to select the race, gender and job class of additional party members you hire (create)."
  • Each character can carry more than one weapon: "Backup weapons can also be equipped on a character and can be switched out almost instantaneously during battle. For example, if your thief starts running low on HP during melee combat with a sword, you can back him away and switch to a bow and arrow to continue with ranged attacks from a safe distance."
  • The game features a relatively unique leveling mode, where your physical strength and class skill level are independent of each other. So, if you switch classes, you won't lose any of your physical strength. (Read the full interview for a good example.)
  • "Valhalla Knights offers a 2-player versus mode as well as a co-op mode... The co-op mode features 30 co-op missions exclusive to the multi-player mode."
So what do you guys think? It seems like the game's going to be loaded with features. The game was one of IGN's favorites at Tokyo Game Show, and I can see why.

Metareview: Gangs of London

Gangs of London is the biggest release for PSP this week. Sony's been hyping the game through extensive advertisements and elaborate contests. They even printed tons of demos so that people would pick up, play and think "man, this game is a winner." Unfortunately, the plan backfired as I got tons of comments from readers trashing the game. Chris Powell asked me what I thought and I called it "laughably bad." It looks like our negative first impressions of the game were right as the game has been ridiculed by critics the world over. Let's check out some reviews from all over the world:
  • Pocket Gamer UK (40/100) - "Don't put Gangs of London on anyone's Christmas list. Whether it's stealth, driving or shooting, the game feels limited and unengaging, is hampered by unresponsive controls and completely lacks the necessary polish of a modern production."
  • Sydney Morning Herald (60/100) - "With such clumsy controls, the limited intelligence of both friends and foes, and a lack of mission variety, most players would have a lot more fun with GTA Liberty City Stories."
  • GameZone (50/100) - "Gangs of London is a pretty dull game that can border on frustrating due to the clunky controls, lame missions and weak AI. Definitely more 'Swept Away' than 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'."
I'm somewhat disappointed at how this game turned out. If Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories wasn't around the corner, I'd be pretty upset.



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