Sunday, August 1, 2010

GameStop Pick-Ups: PS2 Games from 99c, JiliK Goes Wild

GameStop Pick-Ups 29/03/10

The following recently-finished, four-month-old blog post is brought to you by laziness...

Urgh, as if my backlog wasn't sizeable enough already, I wandered into GameStop last week with €20. Seeing that PS2 games were on sale for as little as €0.99 and that there was a buy two get one free promotion, I knew it was my mission to buy as much stupid shit as possible.

I rifled through the PS2 section, grabbed ten games coming to about €18 and marched up to the counter with my haul. It was a spectacularly low-rent display of extravagance, like waving around wads of dollar bills or speeding around in a Honda Civic. Having thoroughly impressed all the eight-year-olds in the shop with my purchasing prowess, I headed home to check out my big bag of crap.

GameStop Pick-Ups 29/03/10

From Russia with Love - €0.99

The first thing I picked up, mainly because it's one of my favourite Bond movies and I was always curious as to how this turned out. I can't really comment on the game from the nanosecond I had it on for, but the inclusion of the Connery era gun-barrel is pretty awesome and I really like the box art. I think this is the style of Everything or Nothing though, which wouldn't be a good thing, given how much of a chore I found that to be.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 - €0.99

Believe it or not, I've never picked up one of the Tiger games. 99c seemed like the perfect price of entry, so I decided to give this golf thing a go. Rather than being constantly berated for my lack of club-swinging prowess, I made sure to shut the commentary hitting the green - a move well justified as it took me more strokes than you'll see at a masturbation convention to finish the first course. The controls were pretty easy to get the hang of though and this seems like the perfect game to just pick up and play while you're listening to a podcast or something.

Enter the Matrix - €0.99

Oh, Year of the Matrix, where did it all go wrong? From what I've played of this, I'm not especially hopefully that it'll be any more enjoyable than stinky turd that was Revolutions - the camera's jerky, the graphics are pretty poor and the tutorial has you constantly referring to the controls menu to figure out what button does what. A Matrix game could have been awesome, but not like this. (Sorry)

More bargain bin crawling after the jump.

GameStop Pick-Ups 29/03/10

Burnout 3: Takedown - €3.99

The only Burnout game I've played up to now is the first one on the GameCube. Despite being a bit rough around the edges, it was a damn enjoyable racer and I've been on the lookout for Burnout 2 ever since, being a bit scarred off by the increased emphasis the later games supposedly placed on crashes and takedowns. For €3.99, I thought I'd finally give the much-lauded third instalment a go and no surprise, it's a damn fine game.

Weaving your way through incoming traffic at blazing speeds, narrowly avoiding crash after crash after crash is still great fun and incredibly exciting. Rather than ruining the game, the takedown system is quite a satisfying addition, finally allowing you to dole out richly deserved justice to cheating AI bastards by wrecking their car in number of cool ways. And despite my general apathy to the game's love of cars getting trashed, the crash events are actually quite enjoyable, puzzle-based affairs where you judge how and when to crash your car into a group of stationary vehicles to wrack up the required amount of damage to clear the stage. Watching the chain reaction caused by your reckless road use can be quite mesmerising at times, just as it occasionally is during a race.

More often than not though, the game's insistence replaying each and every crash you've played a part in, mid-race, is just an unwanted distraction. It's worse still when you've crashed your own car and all the AI racers somehow gain the power of time manipulation during the replay, speeding ahead of you out of nowhere. I guess, in a way, running the risk of an unskippable replay and being taken advantage of by the AI raises the stakes of every dangerous manoeuvre you take, adding to the thrill of the game. Frankly, I'd rather be thrilled in a less frustrating manner.

For a game that's pushing on for six years old, the graphics still hold up pretty well with some really nice reflection effects on the cars and the road. Though the road one I could kind of do without as it can sometimes make it harder to see what's coming up ahead - definitely not helpful for such a fast-paced, obstacle-ridden game.

The music's a different story though. Were people really still listening to shitty punk pop in 2004? Good God! There's more teen angst on there than a Home & Away / Hollyoaks crossover. And naturally there's a fucking "DJ" butting in every five seconds interrupting anything you were actually enjoying. Oh well, at least it's nice to see Ash get a track in there. Any chance of a Rock Band pack, EA?

The Godfather - €3.99

It may have been a combination of curiosity and the inclusion of a sweet collector's tin that got me to pick this up, but after playing a little I'm feeling a little better about my purchase. They seem to be treating the property with considerately more respect than I was expecting and it looks like the game might even weave in pretty well with the events of the movie. I'm also kind of excited about the 1940's setting, could be a nice change of pace from the GTA games. Still, if all that falls through, that tin is pretty awesome...

GameStop Pick-Ups 29/03/10

Headhunter - €3.99

You know, it suddenly strikes me that I actually know very little about this game. I know it's some kind of third-person shooter, published by Sega in the dying days of the Dreamcast and that's about it. I guess that was enough to have it stick in my head for all these years.
So far, I've played through the tutorial, which makes it look like a third person shooter, with a cover mechanic and I'm guessing, some stealthy bits. Oh, and it does have some very punchable live action newscasters filing in the game's back-story. Looking forward to seeing more of them.

GameStop Pick-Ups 29/03/10

Splinter Cell - €1.99

While I've gotten into the Metal Gear Solid games in recent years, I've been a bit hesitant to give the Tom Clancy flavoured alternative a go. Everything I've heard about the early Splinter Games makes them seem pretty unforgiving in terms of mistakes and given the number of times it took me to pass over an area of broken glass silently in the tutorial, I'm not sure how long I'll last in the proper game before letting the terrorists do whatever they sodding well want.

Jak II - €1.99

I've heard lots of bad things about this over the years, but for €2, it's got to be worth a try. From what I've played, the platforming seems similar to before and it's nice to see them starting off the intro in the colourful, carefree world of the first game before dumping you into into urban dystopia land. The game still seems to have good sense of humour though, so maybe it's not going to be the joyless, "mature" platformer I was expecting.

The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King €2.99

I remember this and The Two Towers got pretty okay reviews way back when, so I picked it up hoping that it'd be decent. I've only had it on long enough to know that the cut scenes are unskippable (always a plus) and that the game's graphics don't quite match up with the film clips (The fairly seamless transition between the two painfully underlines this). If nothing else though, playing this prompted me to go and watch the LotR trilogy again. That's worth at least ninety nine cents, right?

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