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This one’s fairly similar to the last Time Crisis in a lot of ways. It’s got the fun cinematics that you always want to see and has a good soundtrack but the game is just so short and it’s hard to get around that. It’s over in the blink of an eye and before you know it, it’s time to put the game back in the drawer. Still if you liked the second game then you’ll like this one since they’re very similar.
The game starts with the VSSE agents on another mission. They are attacked by another evil group and have to put these guys down real quick. Fortunately they are professional so this shouldn’t be hard. Along the way they meet up with a lady who is here to bail them out of some tough situations. The 3 of them are ready for any danger that comes their way because they know that their victory is inevitable!
I wouldn’t call the game identical to the last one per say but it is similar. The game has 3 levels and each one is divided up into 3 areas. You have to blast your way through every enemy in order to prove that you really are the strongest guy on the block. You have 40 seconds for each mob rush and so you have to blast them all away. Don’t get hit by one of their attacks or you will lose a health point. Lose all 4 health points and you lose a life. You gain a new continue each time you get a game over so eventually you will have unlimited lives. You can’t move so the only two controls are to shoot and hide. Of course you can move your curser though.
Now this game is considerably tougher than the last one. Remember that in Time Crisis 2 I didn’t actually have to wait until the unlimited continues to win. It took me a few game overs but eventually I was able to beat the game. Not this time, I couldn’t come anywhere close and just had to keep on losing until I got the free continues. Only at that point was I actually able to hold my own here. This game was just impressively difficult because there are so many enemies and their reaction times are amazing. I know this isn’t my genre but even so it is no easy feat to get me to have so many game overs.
The game still feels fair all the way through though. Every time I got hit I knew that it was an attack that I should have been able to avoid. Whether I was getting too greedy in getting extra shots off or not ducking when I needed to, each of the hits made sense. It’s just hard to stay super alert and consistent the whole time. The penalty of making even one mistake is really quite large in this game. So focus up and do your best but don’t feel bad if you need the unlimited lives by the end.
Like with the last game we get a good amount of cinematics here. This time you get one for each area in addition to each level which was nice. You also have some returning villains from the first game and the villains all have solid designs. The game is as out there as ever and that’s a good thing. It’s just all so chaotic but in a good way. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next and that’s exactly how you want it.
The soundtrack is also still very exciting. The rock themes just keep on coming and they help to get you pumped during the levels. I had a good time with the story and James Bond could take a few lessons from these games on how to make your secret agent stories as good as possible. This one just had the right formula in order to make everything feel like a win. It’s not as easy as it looks.
There isn’t much replay value here though which is why I have to dock a point from the game again. Ultimately after you spend an hour beating the game there just isn’t a lot left to do. You can do the normal stage levels I suppose and there seems to be some kind of rescue mode but it’s all still very short. It’s a byproduct of being an arcade game but there should be some way around this. In fact, Time Crisis 4 did get around this so stay tuned for my review of that game soon once I complete it.
As it stands, you’ll only want to buy this game if you can get it for a really good price. If you are able to get it for cheap then there is really no issue here. You can play through the hour and have a good time. If it’s expensive though then you may feel like you’re losing out so bide your time and wait until you’ve found a good deal. Then you’re really all set here.
There is one difference though which is that you can now switch weapons. It’s surprisingly not a big deal most of the time as you’ll stick to your pistol but now you can also use a machine gun, grenades, and a shotgun. I mainly would save these for bosses as it can be tough to get the ammo that you need for them but they do help to save you some time there. I would spam them as soon as a big opponent showed up and the grenade can take out half a life bar which is great. I think there is more you could do with these weapons but I understand why they don’t give you unlimited ammo. If they did that then who would ever use the normal gun right? One risk with the other guns though is that you could be having so much fun that you don’t notice when someone is about to fire and take some extra damage. That definitely happened to me at times.
Overall, Time Crisis 3 builds on what worked in Time Crisis 2. It’s virtually the same game just with a different plot this time around. The graphics and soundtrack are similar but that’s a good thing since I enjoyed them in the second game. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to just be a copy of the last game since what worked before will still work now. That said, it really needs to improve the length because you’re done with the game way too quickly. Increasing the difficulty may buy some time there but ultimately it’s not enough. (I am glad they still give you more continues for each game over though. Getting rid of that would have been a big mistake)
I’ve had Time Crisis 4 on the backlog for many years so it was finally time to go ahead and buy games 2 and 3. Well, this one is fun and while I do think it’s a bit too short which takes a point off at the end, it’s still a fun game. First person shooters aren’t typically my favorite games and even less so when you cannot move since this is a rail-shooter but the game has a fun plot with several cinematics so that keeps things moving well.
You play as two VSSE agents who have to stop another villain group from setting off nukes and destroying the world. It’s a fairly simple secret agent kind of storyline but one that works well within this setup. There are 3 levels in the game and each level has 3 areas. So you’re going to be completing this game in under an hour but the catch is that there are no save points. If you get a game over then you have to start from scratch. That’s quite difficult so the game does throw you a bone here. Every time you get a game over, you start the next playthrough with an extra life. Obtain 7 game overs and you will finally unlock unlimited continues which is where you can really have fun.
Personally I’d like to have unlimited lives from the jump but I do get the rationale of having it be an unlockable. Ideally it means that you try as hard as you can on the first playthroughs and if you still couldn’t beat the game then now you can at least see the cinematics and everything with no pressure. Or if you don’t want to do that then you can quickly tank the playthrough and get a game over as soon as possible. The game tries to discourage that by making the first level rather easy so you feel like if you’re in that deep then you may as well finish out the run.
The game is very difficult though so good luck trying to get all the way to the end. I didn’t need all of the continues but I wasn’t able to win until I had 7 saved up. With those I was able to plunge ahead. The way the game works is interesting as you’ll always see a lot of people shooting at you but half the time they aren’t actually doing anything. The ones you have to watch out for are the enemies in red and blue since they mean business. When a real shot is going towards you then the screen will flash red so you know to dodge.
To dodge you have to let go of the square button which is what lets you aim. This makes you hide back behind a wall or another object. When doing this there is no way for you to be hurt. The reason you can’t do this forever though is because each minion rush has a 40 second timer. If you don’t beat them within that time then you lose a health point and each health point is crucial here since each life only had 4 HP. The trick is to react quickly so that you keep on firing and then dodge as needed. It’s easier said than done though that’s for sure.
The graphics are pretty good here. This is a PS2 game with a rather decent budget at least based on the looks. I was satisfied here. Then with the cinematics they’re a lot of fun. We’ve got full voice acting and a very intense soundtrack with a lot of rock. Mix in the explosions everywhere and the game went all out in making this as exciting as possible. I think the Time Crisis series would make for a really exciting action series if they ever wanted to make a TV show or movie out of it. In the meantime these games will do.
As I mentioned the actual game length is less than an hour but for replay value you could always try to beat your high score or do some free play. You’d probably need to be a fairly big fan of the gameplay to do that but it’s an option at least. Personally I wouldn’t try getting the game unless you can buy it for $10 or less because there just isn’t enough content. It’s a good game and I got it for a good price but otherwise if I had gotten this on launch day then I probably would have been a little disappointed.
Perhaps it comes with the territory of being an arcade game but even so I need some serious replay value to keep things moving at a high level. Titles like Pac Man and Galaga have a ton of replay value built in so serious fans of the shooter genre may find that same value here but for me it just isn’t the same. This is the kind of game you beat straight through in order to see the whole story and then you call it a day.
My final tip when playing through the game is to just hide as soon as a blue or red fighter appears. Technically you can try to shoot them before they get off the first shot but it’s risky. Your reactions really have to be great whereas if you hide right away then you have a good chance of their not shooting when you return. The game is realistic in that you can’t tell what they’re doing while you hide though. So be prepared to react quickly when you go out there again because if your timing isn’t good you’ll be escaping just to take a direct shot which would defeat the purpose of your hiding in the first place.
Overall, Time Crisis II is a good game. I wish that it was longer but at least it does still make for a complete story experience. You’ve got a serious plot here with quality characters and an engaging story. Full voice acting and cinematics is something that will always elevate a game for me. The actual shooting gameplay is smooth enough as well. It isn’t really my thing so the game felt extremely difficult but it seemed polished for what it was trying to do. If you’re looking for a quick PS2 game to add to your collection then this could work out. Otherwise you may want to pick up one of the newer installments instead.
Play Time 7h 16m
Game Completion 57%
Play Time 37h 22m
HP Level 29
Psypher Level 41
HP Level 25
Psypher Level 34
HP Level 36
Psypher Level 41
HP Level 31
Psypher Level 37
HP Level 31
Psypher Level 37
Now this is the kind of game I’m talking about when thinking about hidden gems on the PS2. This one is similar to Oni and Eve of Extinction in that I hadn’t heard of the game before randomly seeing it at a video game store. Then after playing it, the game turned out to be great. This title has a superb cinematic story with several different focuses and then a final chapter that brings all of the characters together. It’s something you don’t see too often and it works quite well here. I don’t have very many complaints at all.
In general the plot here involves the Demon King Odin who is trying to use the Cauldron for his own evil ambitions. He’s not the only one though, every faction on the planet wants this from the Underworld, to the Fairies, and even the fire demons. There are 5 main stories so you really see the POVs from just about every side. The fire team is the only one who doesn’t have a champion to represent them. Each character is ultimately fighting for different things, honor, love, revenge, etc. At the end of the day they will have to decide whether their mission is more important than saving the world as a whole. It won’t be an easy decision.
The gameplay is a 2D beat em up. An interesting angle here is that all of the levels are in the shape of a full circle. So for example if you run to the right then eventually you’ll be back where you started. Each area has a bunch of enemies to defeat or one mini boss. After beating them you can go to the next area. You have shop areas where you can buy food and other items, and then a big boss at the end. Defeating the big boss will end the chapter and move you to the next stage. If a boss is too difficult you can click to go home where you start the chapter again but you keep your EXP and items.
You’ll find yourself needing to do this quite a few times. This is one game with a heavy amount of grinding so definitely be prepared for that. This is a very hard game and the level ups are absolutely needed in order to move forward. There are two kinds of levels that you have to increase too. First is your health level and then you have your psypher level. The latter increases your attack while the health one is fairly obvious. You increase health by eating food and the psypher by absorbing energy from villains. That energy is what grows the food though so you always have to decide which area to level up.
For the final bosses you want to have each character close to level 40 in psypher and 30+ in health. You will have to use every character in the end by the way so make sure you level them up and have a lot of food before beating their story. This leads to the only annoying part which is that if you did end up beating the game with a character (And why wouldn’t you right? That’s the whole point of playing in theory) then you are penalized by being sent all the way back to the first chapter. So if you aren’t strong enough at the end then you have to beat the game again with each character. I had to go to the end with all 5 again in order to train which took a lot of time.
In the end this bumped the play time almost all the way up to 40 hours which is really long. Most of that time is earned but it did feel a bit iffy to have to replay so much of the game. They should have had a stage select or something. So if you know this ahead of time maybe you’ll at least be able to plan or something. Also, be warned that the game has multiple endings. If you beat the final chapter in the wrong order then it won’t work out and you’ll need to try all over again. It’s not as long a replay as the others but with how difficult the bosses are, it could be a bit annoying.
So in the end what this game is missing are some quick quality of life updates. With those then this game would be even better without a doubt. The graphics are really nice and fit the game’s style. Each design is memorable and the world designs are cool. I also thought the soundtrack was pretty good. You will hear a lot of the tunes repeat themselves as it isn’t a huge amount but they’re solid which is what counts. There is full voice acting here as well and a lot of cutscenes which is a winning combination here.
It’s got a true RPG plot and a lot of the characters are great. Gwendolyn and Oswald tend to steal the show here. You’ll definitely be drawn in to the story right away so no matter how hard the grinding is, you’ll want to see it through to the end. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a really fun game with a great story. The game is just very impressive and you’ll be glad that you played it.
Overall, Odin Sphere is a great game that you should check out. Just be warned that it is no walk in the park. This is a game that will test your focus and combat gameplay skills throughout the whole adventure. You won’t be able to just coast by here as you’ll die very quickly. Using your abilities at the right time and carefully approaching your opponents is absolutely crucial. Once you’ve got that down then you will really be ready. Use the first character story to get the hang of things are there are a lot more to the mechanics than what I’ve mentioned above.
I’ve never played a full Tomb Raider game before so with this I got to finally say that I’ve entered the series. That said, I can’t say that I was a big fan of it. The dungeon experience wasn’t the best and the way the auto save points worked would actually harm you at times. I think this game could have used a bit more polish which would have helped a great deal. Ultimately it’s not a bad game but it’s not really a good one either.
The story starts with Lara being tasked with finding an ancient Atlantean relic. Little does she realize that this will put her right in the mix of an ancient feud among 3 gods. One of them wants total global annihilation and there’s a whole group of mercenaries after Lara. She will have to outwit all of them if she wants to stay alive here, but that shouldn’t be a big problem for a professional like Lara. She is ready to do whatever it takes in order to win here.
First off I have to say that the story is excellent. It’s considerably better than what I was expecting going in. Battles with gods? Count me in! The story is very engaging whenever the cutscenes show up and it started off on the right foot too with a big T Rex showing up early on. That really set the stage for how this game was not going to be afraid to go supernatural. Things just kept on escalating.
We even got a serious plot point with Lara having to decide if she was willing to take a life in the process of saving the world. The villains were really solid and there were also a lot of quick time events for all of the bosses. Now this was a nice touch and really made the whole game feel a bit more cinematic. I’d give that a full thumbs up all the way, that was really impressive.
Unfortunately a video game cannot survive on the story alone. That may be easier for a movie or a show where it can survive poor effects and graphics if the story is good. Gameplay is the top factor in any video game so if that isn’t good then the rest of the areas will have a very hard time keeping it afloat. That’s exactly what happened here. A lot of areas in the game are good but the gameplay isn’t and that’s the whole point of the title.
On the surface level this is just another classic 3D platformer. You run and jump through the levels as you use your gadgets to get to the end. Each dungeon has a ton of puzzles to solve so you have to get past them in order to get to the end of the game. Once you’ve pulled that off then the sky is the limit. The level endings are really smooth with the transitions so you’ll just be walking when suddenly the level is over. It’s a fairly long game as well so don’t expect to coast through this one. The puzzles are much too difficult for that.
You may jump in the wrong direction once or twice but for the most part there isn’t anything wrong with those mechanics. Lets talk about the first issue which is the auto save feature. It’s as it sounds, when you move somewhere the game will auto save so that you respawn there. Sounds simple enough right? Here’s the catch, lets say you’re going through one of those long platforming sections and you fall? You better hope you die because if Lara clings to the wall and you land safely then it’s going to auto save you from down there since there are almost always checkpoints by the entrances. Now you have to do the whole platforming angle again but if you die for real then you respawn back on the ground.
This made one level take super long because I had to keep running over to where the complicated jumps were and the time added up real quick. This seems like a quick quality of life feature that just didn’t go the way the devs intended. I love auto save but maybe it just shouldn’t work backwards or you should be able to warp to other quick save locations. Those are just two quick ideas I would have on that subject.
Speaking of jumps, some of them can be a bit iffy. There’s a certain jump where you have to swing around on a cable and then do a reverse jump. This is really difficult because the camera angle has to match exactly or Lara won’t jump the way you want her to. This should have been cleaned up since jumping should be based on direction and not the camera work. That just makes a lot more sense.
Finally, a lot of the puzzles are difficult but in an annoying way as opposed to being endearing. So as a result you just feel like the game is grating on you. The combat sections are a lot of fun, I liked fighting off the bad guys and doing the quick time events but the exploration parts were no good. Sometimes you could be playing for an hour or more and nothing would happen because you’d be on the same puzzle for ages. Some of them barely even give you any direction. You just have to go in and hope for the best which is not what you want to see in any kind of puzzle adventure.
The graphics and soundtrack are good at least. Really, the game shines in every area that isn’t the gameplay. That’s an area where I’m sure the modern games have cleaned it up a whole lot. Now if you want to play the game for the story then that’s still not a bad idea because the story is really good. Just brace yourself for the actual gameplay because there will be several sections where it just isn’t fun. You’ll be plugging away at the levels but more automatically as the dungeons break your spirit.
Overall, Tomb Raider: Anniversary is still a nice milestone for me because it was one of the biggest video game series that I hadn’t started yet. Now I can say that I really know how it goes but I would say the Indiana Jones games are winning for now. Those are fairly similar in some ways but it’s a more simple game design so no big quick time events but the puzzles weren’t so bad. I can’t say I would recommend this one too wholeheartedly but you know what you’re getting into. So if you like puzzles then by all means you should jump in.
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