Photobucket

  • RSS
  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Popular Posts

Best Black Ops Loadout
Sony E3 Press Conference
Play like the Platoon

Categories

Thumbnail Recent Post

Category List

Nintendo's E3 Press Conference

Some of the biggest announcements of the Nintendo press conference are listed below: Pokedex: This is a new...

It is Time Again

This is it everybody. It is that time of year again. Next week is Christmas for us gamers. It is time for E3...

Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference

Today is the first day of E3. The Microsoft team started off the day with their press conference. To start out the event, Microsoft showed off...

Sony's E3 Press Conference

Next up at the E3 press conference is Sony. Hopefully, Sony can give us some announcements that can make up for last months PSN outage. The first part of Sony’s press conference was...

E3 Update

Here are some of the major events that have happened at E3 over the past couple of days. The biggest event was the announcement of...

Archive for 2011

About two years ago, Rocksteady taught the gaming industry a lesson. Before Batman: Arkham Island, it was generally believed that to make a game about a superhero that had a deep and involving plot as well as fun gameplay would be nearly impossible. The problem was the characters. They had already been created, and evolving a character would anger his or her fans and destroy the credibility of the game. A good example is Spiderman 2 for the Game Cube. It was generally fun to play, as the movement was extremely flowing and fast. However, the characters were flat and boring (not to mention the voice acting sounded like Christopher Walken with a lobotomy) because there was nothing the writers could do to change and evolve the characters. This problem should have been double for Batman. All he really does is punch things and hit them with Bat-[insert name of gadget here]. But Rocksteady destroyed those notions, by making not just Batman, but every character extremely deep. I’ll go into what made the first Batman game so great throughout this review. Also, in order to make my reviews more organized, I’m going to split them into five (four for this one, as there is no multiplayer) sections instead of just writing until I run out of ideas.

Visuals: Damn, this game looks good. It’s not just the realistic graphics or awesome (more or less) character animations, though. It’s the look of the city. The buildings are dark, sporadically place, and there is junk and clutter everywhere. No matter how many times I play it, when I stop on a high perch and look out, it always amazes me at the detail of everything. There is the destroyed highway that used to connect the buildings that now without it makes the city look like Venice, the fact that some buildings are tilted or just generally in ruin, and there’s even one building that’s on fire on the inside. It has nothing to do with anything, it’s just on burning up on the inside. Well, I thought it was cool.

One thing is for sure, the people do not look as good as the city. There’s still that weird moment after a fight where the last enemy grips his head or body and writhes for a little bit before passing out. This was in the first game too, and it was weird seeing a guy who just got kicked in the head by Batman not get knocked out instantly. Also from the first game, there’s that creepy bug-eyed thing where some people have humongous eyes while they talk to you. Granted, my eyes would be pretty wide at the sight of the freakin’ Batman, but it’s just creepy how abnormally huge they are. It’s a small complaint, but I was hoping for it to be fixed. However, in the end, the sick Joker, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and everyone else all look great. That’s not just a graphics compliment though. The actual design of the characters is original without betraying its roots (what makes this series so awesome).    

Performance: Playing this on the 360, I experienced nearly no problems with the gameplay, which is surprising for a sandbox. Even when I thought I’d get stuck on a dead tree or antennae the game just shot me out of it without breaking the flow of my motion. There isn’t much else to say here, so here’s a picture of some guys about to have their day ruined:
  

Plot: As mentioned before, this is what makes these Batman games truly stand out. The actual plot is a little bit different to what usually happens in Batman movies/games/etc. This time, instead of the inmates taking over the Asylum, the inmates are just simply set free inside of a bigger Asylum. Hugo Strange has managed to section off a piece of Gotham City (luckily containing every major landmark from the Batman Mythos) to make a large super prison where everyone from Blackgate Prison and Arkham Asylum are simply set loose to have some fun. Then Bruce Wayne (along with other political prisoners) is thrown in, where he quickly puts his underwear on the outside and starts breaking other people’s bones (he actually does that last part before he’s in his costume). The overall plot does seem a little bit of a stretch. It just doesn’t seem possible for this sort of unusual system to happen anywhere in America (that’s what Cuba is for). However, the interactions with each super criminal (Joker, Penguin, etc) are really well thought out. Batman seems to have a special relationship with each, and he treats no two villains the same. This was the same in the first game, and it adds to that point I mentioned about each character being really deep and 3-D. Even the side missions help to expand Batman’s character, exposing more of the Man and less of the Bat (listen, I know that sounds stupid, but that’s the only way I can say what I’m thinking, so I don’t care what you think about it).

Gameplay: This is why you should buy this game. Never before has stealth and fist-fighting combat been so perfectly balanced. It never feels like a string of samey, old “Yeah, hide in the rafters and swoop down” or “Punch these guys until they stop moving.” Every encounter is different. Up until the last scripted stealth section or fight, new content gets added to make it fresh and exciting. This was more or less true for the first game, but Arkham City expanded and showed it’s true potential. If you don’t already know, the game controls excellently. Combat is generally just one button for each function, and now those functions have been combined in ways that make each fight a new challenge. Towards the end, it became downright difficult, yet it is just on the line of “challenging fun” and never crossing over into “needlessly impossible to make the game longer than it really is.” Strangely enough, not a lot of drastically new abilities or gadgets have been added to Batman’s belt. Most have been reserved for the enemies, adding to the feeling that you’re adapting to the enemies advances, not the other way around (which would just be strait up unfair, I mean, did you see that picture?).

However, the biggest change comes with the new setting. Arkham City is, as expected, much larger than the old Asylum. Here’s my biggest complaint: It doesn’t feel big. You could access every square inch of Arkham Island. Each building had secrets hidden in the walls and extra rooms with details that made the small island seem like a small part of a bigger entity. Now, in Arkham City, you have access to the same amount of buildings as the first game; however, in Arkham Island, those were all the buildings there. Now that there are a hundred buildings, I feel like I’m missing out on so much. Granted, the buildings you are granted access to have the same appeal as the first game, but I can’t shake the feeling I’m missing something. However, the city itself is still extremely fun to explore, especially with the new and improved Riddler Challenges. Now Batman has to use his gadgets and skills not to beat the environment around the trophy (as in the first game) but specific challenges set up by the little green brat himself. It adds to a feeling of accomplishment, as you feel like your beating the Riddler himself. And finally, the improved gliding mechanics (the ability to dive and swoop back up and to grapple boost to gain more height) make the city much easier to explore and move around in.

Finally, the actual encounters with the super-villains! The boss fights have been tremendously improved since the last game. In Arkham Island, there was one boss: a big, buff dude that you had to doge while he runs into a wall. Now, the level of variation from boss fight to boss fight is amazing. There’s the (spoiler alert?) mind bending Ra’s a Guhl battle, the stealth based Mr. Freeze showdown, and the incredible all out brawl that Joker presents you with. In the end, it adds a fantastic finish to an already amazing game.

In Conclusion: get this game. Seriously. If you like sandboxes, action, adventure, exploration, or Batman, you seriously need to check out this game (although this review is so late you probably already have.) It is an amazing improvement on its predecessor, a game I easily pick as my Game of the Year. Arkham City may even take that title for me this year as well (although I haven’t got a chance to play Skyrim yet).

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Visuals: 9.7 (great looking graphics and overall design that truly gave that Batman feel)
Performance: 9.5 (as with literally every game on the 360, it had texture pop-ins)
Plot: 9.7 (not truly original for a Batman plot, but amazed the gaming world with the evolution of its characters)
Gameplay: 9.6 (incredible balanced and flowing, but the fights can seem repetitive)
Multiplayer: n/a
Overall: 9.6 (a true classic)

Batman: Arkham City
Visuals: 9.7 (almost identical to the original)
Performance: 9.7 (much less problems than I expected from a sandbox game)
Plot: 9.8 (more original for Batman with all new characters that are still 3-D)
Gameplay: 9.9 (vastly improved on its predecessor with more variation and abilities) oHoweveer
Multiplayer: n/a
Overall: 9.8 (It’s truly incredible. Why? Because it’s Batman.)

A couple months ago I heard about Rockstar’s latest game, and being a fan of GTA and Red Dead Redemption, I hopped on board. I hoped for it to combine the best parts of the two worlds, and with the promise of original core gameplay, I had high hopes. Did it satisfy these hopes and expectations, well…

            In L.A. Noire you play Cole Phelps, a veteran of WWII returning to his job as a police officer. The plot is like any other Rockstar game, escape your past and climb to the top; however, you play a cop. Not even a, take off the badge and beat the crap out of the suspect cop, but just a real by-the-book professional. Phelps is even called out on this a couple of times. Anyway, you guide Phelps through the four major departments of detective work (traffic, arson, vice, and homicide), all the while being shown flashbacks of Cole’s time in the war. At first there isn’t really an over-arcing plot; however, towards the end a conspiracy is discovered that was actually quite interesting. But, the way it is presented and the overall complexity of the conspiracy makes it hard to follow.

            The characters in the game are sub-par, especially for Rockstar. Cole himself suffers from a bit of the Issac Clarke syndrome. As I said he’s extremely professional, so when he does anything slightly human, such as reciting Shakespeare, it seems really out of place, like Kratos stopping to giggle at a silly hat he saw on the decapitated head on one of his victims. Unlike the characters, the setting was done well. The music, cars, dress, and overall feel of the game was 1940’s, and it didn’t feel as forced as Red Dead Redemption’s “Look! It’s the final days of the west, here read this paper and see, watch this movie, look he’s driving a car, that must mean it’s the end of the old wild west! See?”  

            However, the biggest disappointment comes with the ending (if you can’t already tell, this is a MAJOR SPOILER ALERT, so skip this paragraph if you feel the need to). If you’ve played the game, you know that towards the end Cole manages to get a fellow veteran of the war (also working as an investigator for an insurance company) to investigate the aforementioned conspiracy. The thing is, Jack Kelso, the investigator, is a much better character, and I felt completely alienated from Cole. This made Cole’s death at the end pointless, as I didn’t even care about him at that point. However, the worst part is, the last words spoken in the game at Cole’s funeral are said by a crooked cop who betrayed Cole. The point of the last few investigations was to expose him and his accomplices, so I hope you don’t want justice while you play the cop-game.

            But the lackluster plot and characters shouldn’t distract from the main reason one should check the game out, the gameplay. While there is plenty of third-person cover-based shooting, car chases, and fist fights to go around, the main focus is on solving crimes with wit and intelligence.

            First I’ll talk about the exciting stuff. I was hoping for a game with GTA’s incredible car driving and fast paced action and Red Dead Redemption’s fantastic gunplay. Unfortunately, both have been cut down a bit. While I wasn’t expecting Dead Eye to return, the gunplay is still satisfying, just not as good as RDR’s. The driving is also harder, with the cars being much more reactive than GTA’s hyper-realistic driving physics, so it will take some time to get used to. However, I have to say that exclusion of the ability to shoot while drive made the car chases more fun. After mastering that skill in GTA most of the missions became a game of “Put the Tires in the Center of the Screen.” Now you have to get your partner close enough to shoot out the tires, or you have to slam into them until they re-enact the car-flipping scene from Casino Royale. The fist fighting is also less sticky than GTA and RDR, and it controls much better. However, for me the most exciting part were the foot chases. You held down one button to run after a suspect, automatically vaulting or climbing up obstacles, and these segments control fantastically, although they can be a little easy.  

            Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your taste, that isn’t just what the game is. Obviously one has to investigate crime scenes and interrogate suspects to be a true detective (not really, if you mess up these you just have tail a suspect or do something more fun, but don’t tell anyone I told you that). Investigating is alright. Clearly you can’t have everything in a crime scene interactable, so certain objects help you and certain objects are useless. You walk around a crime scene waiting for your controller to vibrate, then you press A or X (depending on the console) to bend down and pick up the item of interest. Although must say inspecting a body is unnecessarily gruesome, as turning the head to inspect it makes the neck crack (honestly who decided that at a think tank, “Oh hey, let’s make the victim’s bones crack as you hold them!” Rockstar is full of some sick people, although GTA should have taught us that).

            Next is interrogating. As you’ve probably heard, Rockstar used new technology to more realistically depict the faces of the characters, and let me tell you, it worked. The thing is, graphics in Rockstar games have never been incredible, so the realistic faces can seem somewhat disturbing at times. Anyway, to interrogate you ask a suspect a question, watch them as they answer, and depending on their body language, you can select from truth, doubt, or lie. However, while truth is strait forward, the other two are not. If you choose lie, you have to be able to prove that that they are in fact lying (although if you back out of a “lie” accusation, Cole looks seriously stupid taking back his words). “Doubt” just means that you think they are lying, you just can’t prove it. The whole investigate/interrogate aspect is held together by Cole’s notebook. You can view the notebook to see all the clues, people of interest, and locations for the case, and it actually works very well.

            In the end, LA Noire is original, and that may be all it has going for it. If there was a huge market for crime scene investigating games, it would be unmentionably average. Hardcore fans of Rockstar should check it out and probably already have, but if you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto IV, check those out instead.

Visuals: 8.7 (nothing special overall, but extra points are given for the incredible face animation)
Performance: 8.3 (less bugs and glitches than most Rockstar games)
Story: 7.5 (hard to follow with average characters, disappointing for a Rockstar game)
Gameplay: 8.8 (well done for an original concept, and the other elements are also done well)
Multiplayer: n/a
Overall: 8.3

I might as well start this with a sweeping generality. Get this game. I seriously recommend it to everyone. I think any type of gamer should check this out, as it really is a cooling refresher from all the mindless violence in most games (not that there is anything wrong with violence in games).

Portal 2 has one hole (ha ha, get it?) in the plot. This is kind of a spoiler for the first game, so for those who haven’t played it yet, uh… eye muffs? Anyway, at the end of Portal, you escape the facility. Portal 2 picks up with you being in a sort of long-term hibernation chamber inside the wrecked, overgrown facility, but the game never explains how you get back inside. Besides that the plot is really good. Its more in-your-face than the original (meaning there are large portions of the game dedicated only to the plot, not the puzzle), but it twists unexpectedly multiple times and is hilarious. The characters are also fantastic. You (Chell) and Glados, the evil computer controlling the facility, are back, but they added a new robot helper, Wheately (one of my favorite characters in any game). You are also introduced to Cave Johnson, the late CEO of aperture laboratories (the facility you are trapped in), although he is only heard of through pre-recorded messages. All the characters are, well, characterized through dialogue. The only human, Cave, is never seen, and Chell never does anything. This calls for the need for great writing, and as usual, Valve delivers. Obviously it is funny, yet it does seem to be a slightly unfamiliar sense of humor, perhaps changed to appeal to the massive audience Portal attracted. 

As everyone knows, the gameplay in Portal 2 is centered on the Portal Gun. The gun allows you to shoot a blue and orange portal, and going through one puts you out the other with the same speed and direction you went in with. However, this is a puzzle game, so there are many other elements. Veterans will know the classic ones, such as turrets that lock onto you and cubes (sometimes friendly) that you place on buttons to activate things. There plenty of new ones as well, such as light bridges, tractor beams, lasers and cubes that re-direct them, and gels that propel or repel you. Valve has shown to be quite capable at putting puzzles together, as they never feel too hard, yet still challenging enough to be fun and create a sense of achievement. The later ones get a bit difficult, but most of them are really easy, sometimes too much so. However, a large portion of Portal 2 is spent wandering around large areas (mind-you, they look fantastic), occasionally having to use the Portal Gun to get somewhere. It’s not really a puzzle, and when the plot isn’t getting developed while one of these sections is occurring, they can seriously drag on. It just seemed like an unnecessary tactic for elongating the game. A final, general, complaint: puzzle games have little to no replay value, as there is no more challenge or sense of achievement left after beating them (unless it’s been a long time since the last play-through).   

But my biggest gameplay complaint comes with the @#!$% load times. Excuse my un-holy (ha, I did it again!) language, but there are just too many! They aren’t even that long (20-30 seconds) but there are just so many. After every single test chamber (or puzzle) you have to sit through another. It’s just so horribly pace-breaking, especially at two times. One is during the easier, tutorial-like levels (even though most of the Portal games is tutorial). Sometimes the load time was longer than the puzzle itself.  The second is during some of the plot/walking around sections. One of them involves a long fall (about a minute long) and before you reach the bottom the game fades out into a loading screen. It’s just extremely frustrating when you just want to get to the next puzzle or simply find out what happens next. 

However, one of the better aspects of Portal 2 was the addition of a co-op mode, and in true Valve tradition (Left 4 Dead anybody?) it is truly “cooperative.” Its plot is focused on two robots that are built by Glados in order to test the Portal Gun, taking place after the end of the single player campaign (I think the time is true, as it drops hints to the fact that it may be happening either at the same time as the single player campaign or after.) I used to think of Chell as a robot for showing no emotion, but I have to drop that because the robots in the co-op are awesome. Just through actions and mannerisms, they are characterized as being very different, yet they begin to bond as you and your real-life friend begin to get good at the puzzles.

The controls are also great, allowing for good communication and teamwork, such as being able to count down or mark where you think a portal should be put. But the true highlight of the interactivity comes with the silly, friendly gestures that you and your partner can do, such as waving, dancing, or playfully beating the crap out of each other. Everything is just so happy and friendly (even the deaths made me and my brother laugh), it suits all ages (assuming that they can handle the challenge). The puzzles are also much more complex than the single-player’s, yet they too never seem just plain impossible. Towards the end I simply became blown away by the tasks the game was asking of me and my partner, and even more so when we did it.  However, my original complaint about re-play still stands for the co-op as well (even more so).

Portal 2 is one of the best games this year, if not the best. However, it seems a little dragged out at times, and the long load times seriously break the pace. Portal (the original) didn’t waste anything. It was always business (testing Portal Guns business) all the time, with no wandering around parts. Portal 2 may be longer and have more stuff, but it can seem a little stretched out.

Portal
Visuals: 9.8 (really well done, with great aesthetics to match any changes in tone)
Performance: 10 (although I can’t say for the PC)
Story: 10 (introduced one hell of a bad guy, and was actually bigger than it seemed with
subtle Half Life tie-ins)
Gameplay: 10 (a purely original experience)
Multiplayer: n/a
Overall: 9.9

Portal 2
Visuals: 9.8 (source engine is still holding its own after all these years)
Performance: 10 (but yet again I can’t say for the PC)
Story: 10 (twisting, intriguing, with some hilarious characters)
Gameplay: 9 (no points for originality, but still fun and challenging, also load times!)
Multiplayer: 10 (promotes teamwork regardless of verbal limitations, and has the best silent characters I’ve ever seen in a game)
Overall: 9.8

I had an idea recently. See, I was going to write a top-ten list for PS2 games, but I realized that those are just based off taste. Without a lot of people’s input, it’s just a list of games one person likes. So I made a different list, a sort of homework-assignment. Check out these games, and tell us, Red Platoon, what you think of them. Chances are you may still own or have heard of them, so now’s a time to voice your opinion about them. I won’t say much or nothing at all about the games on this list, that’s for you to tell us. These are in no order, I just named them as they came to my head.  

             Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
           
             Okami

             We  Katamari

 Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando- I chose this one in the series because it’s sort of the middle child (guess who else is).

 Kingdom Hearts

 Silent Hill 2 (or any of the games 2-4)

 ICO

 Sly 2: Band of Thieves

Final Fantasy X- never played it, but I think I’m legally obligated to put it on this list

Shadow of the Colossus- I just wanted ICO on the list, but the pure greatness of this game overruled that decision

So tell us what you think about those games. You can tell us your opinion from memory of the game, or if you are an over-achiever, (I’m not forcing you to do this, so I don’t want any lawsuits about how I kept you from being able to pay the rent because you bought 10 PS2 games) rent or even buy these games if you still have your old PS2 sitting around.  Post what you think in a comment if it’s short, or shoot me an email at kalphabet111@gmail.com if it’s longer. If you don’t like a game on this list or think that one is missing one, tell us why. Don’t be afraid to be critical. 

I am so sorry about this extremely long lull in our publications on this site. I understand that we just stopped posting after E3, and it's not because we stopped writing (well, it's because of that too), but we didn't know how to properly post articles on the new design. Not to mention the person who designed it didn't help us with it (it's really not his fault). I will try very hard to get much new and better content up after exams this winter (two weeks from now). I also started another blog (that's me AK) called Prosy Camoca. It's really new, but I like it, so if you want it's at www.prosycamoca.blogspot.com. Once again, I am so sorry. Here are some old articles we never posted. Once again, new stuff will go up in tow weeks.

From everyone at Red Platoon (that is me and Sam),
Sorry!

The PS2 was no doubt the greatest console of its generation. Back when the XBOX was taking off its training wheels with games like HALO, it stood out against the competition. While it only had two controllers, it had a TON of games. Like the Beatles had a ton of songs, a bunch of them were bound to be great. If you’re tired of current generation graphics, games, and arguments (PS3 v. XBOX 360 or HALO v. COD), brush the dust off of that old black box and see if you have any of these classics.

5. Sly 2: Band of Thieves
            A sequel (get used to them there’s a lot on this list) that perfected its predecessor was Sly 2. Part of the Trimurti of PS2 games, it took up the stealth part of the three games. It did what a good sequel should, it added to gameplay, fixed the faults of the last, and developed the characters and plot as well. Sly Cooper tells the story of a band of personified animals (Sly himself being the main protagonist) who go around stealing things. They are chased by the law (consisting of Sly’s love interest) and other bands of thieves. The gameplay is stealth focused, and it pulls it off better than most currents stealth games (cough*Splinter Cell Conviction *cough). In true non-realistic, cartoony style, it does have boss fights and plenty of non-stealth segments, but they help to add variety to the experience. It’s actually comparable to the Thief series, lightened up a lot compared to Thief, as it is designed for both the console and kids. Sly is just one of those games that is just plain fun.

4. Star Wars: Battle Front 2
            To me, this game should have been the end of the Star Wars franchise, before The Force: Unleashed and all that LEGO stuff. It painted a nice picture of you being a common soldier. You really did not have a pivotal role in what happens in the battle (unless you play as a Jedi or Sith), and you died a lot (looking back this may just be because I was very bad). The battles were big, almost like a constant-action sandbox. You could be a sniper and stay far away, an infantry if enjoy getting killed, grab a vehicle and fly around, mount a turret, or become an engineer and fix things if you’re boring. It was also one of the few games to have fun space-combat. You could dogfight with other pilots, bomb the enemy’s stronghold, or board it and take it out from the inside. In conclusion, it gave you freedom, made large battles with plenty going on, and lets you kill ewoks, so it gets my approval.

3. Silent Hill 2
            For those of you that thought I was only going to pick games designed for kids: HA, you’re wrong! For those of you that had confidence in me, thank you. The next is Silent Hill 2, a game that showed the world how survival horror was done. The game takes very little from the first SH plot-wise, the only similarity being the town itself, and let me tell you, there is no good side to the town in this game. The game centers on James, a confused, hopeless idiot (well its true) who receives a letter from his dead wife telling him to come to Silent Hill, something most people would assume is a prank. The thing is, while James Sunderland is an idiot, he’s still one of the greatest characters in video game history. You can see how he is torn apart by his wife’s death, and how he is truly alone and has nothing left to live for. He has nothing stopping him from just leaving Silent Hill, so you really get a sense of how desperate this guy is. The focal point of the game is immersion, as the combat is horrible (although it’s supposed to be like that for immersion purposes) and the puzzles have some backwards logic behind them (go find a pin and a combination to open this box, don’t use the axe your holding or anything). You begin to feel empathy towards James, as you feel the same loneliness as he does. There aren’t monsters around every corner, and they don’t even seem real enough to constitute James as not being alone. All the people are either going insane, trying to have sex with James (really just frustrating him in his search for his wife), or may not even exist. There is also Pyramid Head’s introduction to the franchise, a monster who just tries to (sorry for being so blunt) rape other monsters. You get locked in a room with Pyramid Head at one point and all he does is try to kill you for a while and then leaves when he gets bored. When the monsters don’t even care about even killing you, you begin to feel truly alone. In the end, it’s a game that builds the tension without ever truly letting go, all while intertwining a disturbing plot and believable characters.  

2. Jak 3
            The third side of the PS2 Trimurti, the Jak and Daxter series was everything I ever wanted in a gaming series. The variety is huge when it comes to gameplay in Jak 3, and it never feels truly disjointed. In Jak 3, there are two areas, the urban dystopia of Haven City and the outcast, war-driven society of Spargus. In the wastelands around Spargus you drive around an all-terrain four wheeler of your choice while fending off marauders constantly. In Haven you drive around hover cars and bikes, and you are constantly fighting a war against the Crimson Guard’s robot army. Jak himself has two sides, light and dark (literally). The dark side is a werewolf like monstrosity that is just pure power, but the light side has a range of powers from healing to time-slowing to flying. The gameplay itself ranges from races with the two mentioned vehicles, gun combat, melee combat, glider missions, platforming, hover board platforming, and a lot more. As well as stellar gameplay, the plot is interesting, twisting (unexpectedly I may add), and easy to understand. The characters are all well-rounded and likeable (although some can get annoying).  The humor in the game ranges as well, going from immature slapstick to sexual innuendos. In the end it’s a game that’s fun; it’s varied, funny (occasionally), fast-paced (there are virtually no load times), and has plenty for almost every audience.

1. Shadow of the Colossus
            Those who do not like the last four games will definitely want to play this. I once heard someone say that video games are the combination of science and art (IGN). If that is true, Team Ico definitely put their emphasis on art, and they did it well. Team Ico’s first release was, well, Ico, a game that showed the world how video games don’t have to be extremely violent in order to be great. In Ico, you played a young man with horns growing out of his head guiding a princess through various levels of a castle. This may sound horrible, and to most COD-loving action-junkies it may be just that, but Ico was a piece of art. The visual effects made the game look and feel alive, and the over-arcing story seemed so much larger than anything the young boy and girl were doing. Then Team Ico released Shadow of the Colossus, the spiritual successor to Ico (so it’s technically another sequel).
In Shadow of the Colossus you play another young man, except this time your girl is dead. His option for reviving her is to ride across the country and kill 16 colossi with a sword that would be hard to kill an armored human with, or he could just move on with his life but then we wouldn’t have a game, now would we? What I want you to do now is think of your favorite boss fight in a game. Got it? Every single one of the colossi battles beats that one. You have to use your horse and the environments around you to climb or leap on top of them, and then you have to stab them as many times as you can before you get flung off (marked by you grip gauge depleting). The design for the colossi is great, with each one looking completely unique to the last, and they feel big as well. They move slowly, make the rector-scale jump with ever step, and their bodies are covered in trees and dirt. The boss fights are only half the game, however. The other half is composed of you riding around on your horse looking for the next colossus. This may sound like a bore, but the environments feel so real, as if they have remained untouched by the hands of humans. The traveling adds to the immersion as well, as you feel the strange need the protagonist feels to kill the colossi in order to save his girl. In the end, Shadow of the Colossus is not just the best game for the PS2; it is one of the best games ever. The real environments, the contrast between the two modes of gameplay, and the incredible battles themselves make it one of the greatest works of art the gaming world has ever seen.                   
  

            Afterthought: For those of you that don’t know what the Trimurti is, it is the name for the group of gods that personify the stages of the universe. It consists of Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. I used it as a metaphor for the three most famous franchises of the PS2: the Sly Cooper series (stealth), the Ratchet and Clank series (guns), and the Jak and Daxter series (pure awesomeness). It’s supposed to be a joke (looking back it’s not that funny), but I know some people won’t understand it.  

Nintendo's E3 Press Conference
Written By Sam Shipp


Some of the biggest announcements of the Nintendo press conference are listed below:
     1)   Pokedex:
This is a new feature for the Nintendo 3DS that will let you capture Pokémon and store their data on your 3DS.  Your goal will be to capture and complete the Pokedex by using several methods.  You will be able to capture Pokémon by passing other 3DS that have Pokémon you do not or even by taking pictures of certain objects. This Pokedex can then be uploaded onto the Internet and shared with your friends. 
     2)   Wii U:
Welcome to Nintendo’s new gaming system. Wii U will utilize a new controller that has a screen.  This screen will have motion censures and will allow for games to be played even when you are using your TV for other activities. Basically this controller acts a lot like a universal remote.  I can zoom in on pieces of the screen by moving the controller around or it can be used for different gaming mechanics.   It is very similar to the second screen of the DS.  It has a touch pad and can display images that might be used for mini games or for puzzle solving purposes.  Also, it can be used like a smart phone for video chat. 
     3)   Graphics and Game Performance of Wii U:
When Nintendo showed off a video of a bird flying through a Japanese city, I was blown away. At first, I thought that that this was a pre-rendered movie; however, Nintendo claims that this is how the system can perform.  After this brief demo, they announced that they will have a new game, Lego City Stories, that will come exclusively to the Wii U and the 3DS. After this announcement, Nintendo showed a video clip of several different developers saying that they thought that the new system was amazing and that they would love to have their games show cased on this system.  These games included Batman: Arkam City, Assassin’s Creed, and the new Trekken game just to name a few.  With these triple A titles coming to the Wii U, hopefully this new system will be able to keep up its promises during gameplay.  Next, Nintendo brought out the EA president.  He asked the audience to imagine games such as Battlefield and Madden Football on two screens.  These two screens will allow more room on the big screen for action instead of the usual clutter.
     4)   Smash Brothers:
The new Super Smash Brothers game will be developed for the 3DS and for the Wii U. Also, these two games will be able to switch back and forth between the systems.

With this announcement, Nintendo hopes to bring back the hardcore game audience that they lost with the Wii.  Nintendo promises that the experience will bring a new level of gaming all together.  Stay tuned to redplatoon.com for even more Nintendo news.

E3 Update
Written by AK


            Here are some of the major events that have happened at E3 over the past couple of days.

            The biggest event was the announcement of Halo 4.  Yes, it’s true. The classic, X-Box exclusive, FPS is back, with Master Chief in the driver’s seat. Only a teaser has been released, and in true teaser form, it’s got me pumped. Will it live up to the expectations and beat its predecessors? We’ll only be able to know around the holidays in 2012.


Halo 4 Trailer-



            By the way, let me tell you that I am angry that I don’t own a PS3.  New Twisted Metal gameplay and rumors about a Sly 4 have me a little angry at my X-Box. These two titles defiantly make the Playstation a must have console.

            Also, new trailers have been released for Bioshock Infinite and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. While the new Bioshock looks great, with the whole unfamiliar-environment aspect that made the first one so much fun, the latter has me worried. It’s still Ezio. I would like to see a new character, and honestly, how old is this guy? However, I am glad to see the plot wrap up, because after Brotherhood, I wanted to punch a wall out of frustration.


Bioshock Infinite Trailer-



Assassin's Creed: Revelations Trailer-



            My major complaint is that the only original game is Dead Island, for which a new trailer was released. That’s it. Every single other game is either a sequel or a reboot. Honestly, is there no originality left in the gaming industry?


Dead Island Trailer-




Stay tunned to redplatoon.com for more E3 updates.

Sony E3 Press Conference
Written By Sam Shipp

Next up at the E3 press conference is Sony. Hopefully, Sony can give us some announcements that can make up for last months PSN outage.
 The first part of Sony’s press conference was Sony’s apology.  Basically, Sony made a broad apology to everyone and then subtly directed the apology towards each of their audiences.  Then, they moved on to promise that they will do better in the future and that they will never allow this type of situation to happen again.  Finally, Sony tried to redirect their PSN outage to the fact that PSN is the one of the best online experiences and that it is FREE. 
            Here are the other announcements made by Sony.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception-
               The Naughty Dog team showed off a demo of the new Uncharted game, Drakes’ Deception.  Drake started out on an old cruise liner as it rocked back and forth in the middle of the sea. As he moved into the main compartment of the ship, Drake had to sneak around the ever-moving environment in order to invade the inner workings of the ship. Once Drake moved down into the bowels of the ship, he was able to showcase his acrobatic moves right before he was ambushed.  During his escape, Drake throws a grenade that tears a hole in the ship.  As the ship slowly floods, Drake is forced to retrace his steps in an attempt to make it out without drowning. However, his task is made even more difficult as the walls crush in from the pressure of the water. After the demo, the Uncharted team showed a new trailer for the game that demonstrated its cinematic scope.  This should be the game that validates to the world how much movies are like video games.
Resistance 3-
                  The next installment in the Resistance franchise picks up the action four years after the second.  In the demo, the player had teamed up with a rebel group in Saint Louis.  At the beginning of the demo, your character is ambushed in a tight alley and is forced to defend off hoards of aliens.  After this short sequence, the demo skipped ahead.  The main character captures an alien object and has to run for his life through crumbling buildings.  This demo showed that the action sequences in Resistance 3 are going to be fast and action packed.
Remastered Titles-
                   Sony announced that they are going to remaster the two God of War PSP games so that they can run in full 3D on the PS3 gaming consoles. They also announced that Shadow of the Colossus and Eco will also be remastered in 3D for the PS3. Sony also announced a new Playstation certified 3D TV. This new TV will be available for $499 and will feature a new technology that will allow two players to see the entire screen through their 3D glasses.
NBA 2K12-
                  The 2K team showed off the technology for their new NBA game. They announced that the new NBA game will support Playstation Move. Basically, the player simply points the Move at the character that they want to pass to or block. The player will simply pull a trigger on either side of the Playstation Move to perform the action.  NBA 2K12 will be on the markets this fall.
Medieval Moves-
                  The next game to be demoed was Medieval Moves. The Move allows the player to quickly switch in between weapons as you try to defeat the enemies.   Instead of having to pause the action and switch weapons, the Playstation Move allows you to switch the weapons on the fly as you a fight off enemies and solve puzzles. Hopefully, this does not turn into a childish fantasy.
Infamous 2-
                   Sony showed off a new trailer for Infamous 2. Infamous 2 comes out today.  I can’t wait to try this new installment.
Sony’s Guarantee-
                   Sony guaranteed that they will update some of their major games such as Little Big Planet 2 and Infamous 2 in the future so that these games can  be played with the Playstation Move.
Starhawk-
                   Here is the new trailer that they showed off for Starhawk, the sequel to Warhawk.



This single and multiplayer game looks to be something that I am going to be playing on PSN for a very long time.
Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time-
                   Next, Sony showed a trailer for a new Sly Cooper game, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time. Though this trailer showed very limited gameplay, it demonstrated gameplay that looked very similar to other Sly Cooper games.
Dust-
                    The developers for Eve Online announced a new persistent shooter known as Dust. You may be wondering what is so cool about Dust? Well, the players of this game can directly interact with players of Eve Online. Basically, Dust plays a lot like other first person shooters, such as Call of Duty.
Bioshock Infinite-
                    Next, a new gameplay trailer for Bioshock Infinite was previewed. This trailer is able to show the massive scale of the game.  I might choose to jump off a building and when I fall, I could land on another building and keep fighting.  After the trailer, the creative director from Irrational Games came out and talked about how he thinks that the Playstation Move could actually be good for Bioshock and other hard-core games.
EA Announcements-
                    Sony announced that the new SSX game will have an exclusive mountain, Mount Fuji, that no other game systems will get.  They also said that the new Need for Speed game will have seven exclusive cars to the PS3. And, that the new Battlefield game, Battlefield 3, will come packaged with Battlefield 1943 exclusively on the PS3
Playstation Suite-
                    The next big announcement was the Playstation Suite.  The Playstation Suite will give certain phones and tablets the Playstation experience by making them Playstation certified.
Playstation Vita-
                    After that, Sony made the big announcements of the night, the NGP.  Or should I call it the Playstation Vita. This new portable system has dual analog sticks, front and rear touch pads, front and rear cameras, and Wi-Fi or 3G.   The carrier for the 3G is AT&T.  This new device will also support voice chat over games. Then, they announced Near.  This new service will allow players to recommend games, compare their trophies, and much more with their friends.

PSVita Games:
Uncharted: Golden Abyss-
                    The first game was Uncharted: Golden Abyss.  This game looks incredible for a portable game. It does not look as good as Uncharted 2, but just like the first Uncharted, which still has incredible graphics.  In the gameplay department, it plays a lot like other Uncharted games; however, it has a lot more touch controls. Though these controls are great sometimes, I cannot see myself taking my hands off the controls constantly to touch the screen. Hopefully, they will tone back the touch controls before the release.
Ruin-
                    Ruin is an action RPG.  This is a top down action game that looks a lot like Diablo.  However, there is a twist.  Random players can become your rivals.  You can even attack hideouts of other players.  The players will form bonds as they either attack or defend their hideouts with their friends.  After I get home from a vacation with my PSVita, I can pick up Ruin on my PS3 exactly where I left off on the PSVita. 
Modnation Racers-
                    They showed off a new Modnation Racers game for the system.  In the track creator mode, you use the back and front touch pads to create tracks.  This is one of the first times that I have actually thought that a developer has used the touch pads in a good way.  It allows for a more interactive experience that really draws the player into the game. 
               PSVita Announcements-
                                  Sony announced three new features that could really change portable games. They announced that the PS3 and PSVita can share cross platform gaming, cross-platform content, and cloud saves.
             Little Big Planet-
                     This new LBP will feature all of the major innovations of the Vita put into one game.  The vita’s controls allows for a more in-depth Little Big Planet experience.
Street Fighter X Tekken-
                     Then, one of next year’s biggest fighting games, Street Fighter X Tekken, will be available on the Playstation Vita.  Also, they announced that Cole, from Infamous, will be in the new fighting game.  Hopefully, this will bring the great experience of fighting games to the handheld experience.
Price Point-
                        Finally, Sony announced that the price of the Wi-Fi only model of the PSVita will be $249 and the 3G and Wi-Fi version will be $299.

Stay tuned to redplatoon.com for more E3 coverage.
            

Microsoft Press Conference 2011
Written by Sam Shipp


Today is the first day of E3.  The Microsoft team started off the day with their press conference.
To start out the event, Microsoft showed off one of the levels of the new Call of Duty game Modern Warfare 3.  The revealed level demonstrated the massive scale that the new COD game will operate. It begun as the player was swimming underwater in the New York City bay.  The goal was to take out a submarine and to make it surface.  Once the sub surfaced, it was your goal to invade the ship and take control of the missile system.  Once the sub had surface, the special ops team invaded the ship and had a very Call of Duty experience.  If you have played Modern Warfare 2 you know the basic set up.  After you have done your job on the sub, the player had to drive a boat around the harbor in an attempt to get back to your helicopter alive. If you like COD, you are probably going to like this game.
Next, the new Laura Croft game was revealed.  Though it is titled Laura Croft, it more resembled a survival horror game. At the beginning of the level, you were trapped upside down in a cave and had to escape it before Laura is killed.  The player had to use a mixture of wise decision-making and quick action in order to escape from the cave.  Laura’s new adventure is set to release in Fall 2011
After Laura’s adventure, the president of EA sports came out to announce that four of EA sport’s new games will support Kinect.
The next game that was introduced was Mass Effect 3.  As many of the readers probably know, I loved Mass Effect 2.  In order to make their game even better, Bioware announced that they will have kinect voice support for the game.  Instead of using the regular speech wheel, you can simply say the command that is issued on the wheel and it will choose that dialog point. Also, the Kinect voice control is going to allow you to give orders to your squad during the battle instead of making you pause the action to do it.  This, I believe is one of the biggest advances in video games in a very long time. Hopefully, over the rest of the show, we will be able to see more of this new technology.
Below we have posted the next big announcement, the new ghost recon game trailer.




This trailer shows the completely tactical ability that the new ghost recon game gives. Ubisoft then demonstrated one of the most in depth gun customizations I have ever seen.  You can change everything from the barrel down to the scopes and stocks. All of this can be done by using kinect. This demo has almost changed my mind on the kinect experience all together.  I finally might join the kinect bandwagon.
Then, the Xbox live team showed off their completely redesigned experience.  They have changed the way that the Xbox live menu looks and how it interacts with the user. Now, all you have to do is to talk to you Xbox and it will do what you say. This will probably lead to alot of people looking really weird as they talk to their televisions. Also, they have added television to the Xbox.  Along with TV, Microsoft also added a partnership with UFC that will allow for a more interactive UFC experience.

 From this point on, we will categorize the games on Exclusive level
Exclusives:
            Gears of War 3-
                        The demo opened with the Gears cast being trapped on a ship as a giant sea monster attacked. The new graphics that the Unreal Engine made possible looked amazing, the fires looked real, the textures looked great and when you shot at the monster, it looked real.  In order to destroy the monster, you had to shoot its eyes out and wait for the other members of the army to drop bombs on the monster. This is going to be a fun game.

            RYSE:
                        This is a new Crytex game that is a warrior, sword-fighting game that uses Kinect to tract your motions.

            Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary:
               This is a revamped version of the classic game that utilizes the Xbox live to bring back the game to its full glory.

            Forza Motorsport 4: 
                All I am going to say about the graphics is Wow! I mean these are some of the most impressive looking cars that I have ever seen in a game.  Hopefully, this will pass on to the entire game.

            Fable: The Journey:
                              If you have played the last Fable, you will know how the game looks. However, you will not recognize how the game plays. It is much more of an on rail shooter than I would have expected. Basically, the player uses Kinect to conjure spells and to destroy your enemies.

            Minecraft:
                 Minecraft is finally coming to home consoles. That is all that needs to be said.

            Kinect Disneyland:
                  Basically, you walk through Disneyland and then when you get to the rides you play mini games. So, this is really revolutionary idea, a Kinect game where you play mini games. I know Wow.

            Kinect Star Wars:
                   Dude.  That is my first thought. You use Kinect to move around the world and to take out your enemies. The player has to swing his arms like he is actually controlling the light saber and move around in order to defeat your enemies. You will even have to jump in order jump over your enemies. You are going to feel like a Jedi.

           

Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster:
                               This is Tim Shafer’s new game. It is going to be the Kinect new video game for kids. So Yeah.

            Kinect Fun Labs:
                 This is just a place where Indie games can be put and played on Xbox.  Now any developer can put his or her games on the Xbox for everybody to play. Three of the new innovations that they showed off were finger tracking, scanning in people, and scanning in objects. So now, I can take my favorite object and can control it using Kinect. Also, I can make my Xbox avatar look exactly like me.

            Kinect Sports: Season Two: 
                Basically, this is an updated version of the past Xbox game.  All the developers did was to update the game with a couple of new sports, including football and golf.

            Dance Central 2:
               In this sequel, they have updated the game and allowed for multiple players on the same screen.  Also, they have expanded the music library of the game.

            Halo 4: 
              This is a new Halo Game.  So, every one get ready to spend 60 dollars.

This year at E3, Microsoft pushed their Kinect experience even more.  Hopefully, this does not turn the Xbox into a mini game playground.

Three Things I’m Looking Out For at E3
Written By AK



            The Electronic Entertainment Expo is right around the corner, and the gaming world is once again waiting in anticipation. I’m clearly one of those people, so if you care, here is what I’ll be looking out for.

            1. Those who visit the site regularly should know that I wrote a preview for a game called Dead Island. I would go into how I feel about that game but I already did, so check out the article. Any more insight into this game would be great, as it seriously looks to be like an awesome survival-horror title.

            2. Batman- Arkham City: Need I say more?

            3. Originality: Yeah, that makes my last point hypocritical, but I don’t care what you think. Batman: Arkham-Asylum was incredible and a game that expands on that should be awesome as well. Anyway, I’ve noticed at E3 most of the huge announcements are just re-boots (Twisted Metal) or sequels (Silent Hill: Downpour). Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that, but the developers only do that to rile up the fans. I want to see a completely new game with interesting core gameplay elements and an original plot. I know that’s asking a whole lot, but I think it’s possible. Dead Island nearly reached that with its fantastic-looking melee-combat and extremely sad trailer (I nearly cried), but the concept wasn’t too original (L4D anybody?)

            Either way, there are bound to be a few things that surprise me and the rest of the gaming world. However, the best way to keep from being disappointed is to keep high hopes and low expectations, so here’s looking at you E3: 2011. 



It is E3 Time Again
Written by Sam Shipp
                                  

          This is it everybody. It is that time of year again. Next week is Christmas for us gamers. It is time for E3.
          Okay, I know some of you are thinking, 'What is E3? Why should I care?'. Well E3 is one of the biggest gaming conventions in the world. It is the event where publishers and developers unveil what their new prodocts. Developers will give us more news about already announced titles, such as Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, or they will tell gamers about new games. If there is a new game, game system, or game technology that you will be using next year,  the chances are that you will see a demo of it at the show. 

         Since E3 is such a big event, all of the editors here at Red Platoon have decided to writen  pre-E3 articles about what they, and you, should be looking forward to at the show. Make sure to check back in to redplatoon.com over the next three weeks for complete E3 coverage.     




Realism in Games
Written By A.K.


            As graphics increase in quality and realism, developers seem to feel the need to make their games realistic as well. I feel that realism takes away from a video game, but it can also add to it. Here are a few examples of realism in Games.  
Homefront: THQ’s Homefront tells the story of a united Korea taking over the USA. This kind of realism really adds to a game. This could really happen and you may be getting a glimpse of what the future could hold. It can really add to the experience, as you could picture your own neighborhood overrun and you and your family enslaved. This adds to the sense of anger you, the player, are feeling. But realism in shooters limits the gameplay. It gets kind of boring just running around with an assault rifle that is exactly the same as the last one you dropped. You can’t get the ridiculousness of games like Duke Nukem or Painkiller. These shooters know they are here to entertain you, so they give you ridiculous characters, guns, enemies, and basically everything else. Homefront’s plot will pull your anger strings, but realism still limits the gameplay.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent-  Survival Horror (true survival horror, not Dead Space action-horror) is all about immersion. Immersion adds to the tension, fear, and overall experience of the player. Amnesia pulls this off perfectly. While the story is about as realistic as me making the varsity soccer team (I write game reviews for god’s sake), the gameplay is where the player is pulled in and never released. It feels like you are actually there. If you were stuck in a dark castle by yourself, with no memory of why you are there, I am betting you would not find the nearest improvised weapon and start swinging or stabbing. If a monster came, you would not stick around long enough to see it before you ran away and hid in a closet. Amnesia has no weapons. The only way of preventing yourself from becoming the monster’s tea-break sandwich is to run like it’s a Pink Floyd song (I hope someone gets that) and hide. You actually feel like you are there, not in the shoes of a veteran space marine, or engineer, with enough ordinance to take over South America.
GTA IV: You would swear the reviewers got a different version of this game, as they all loved it like it was their own child. Their version must have come with 500 dollars, a box of chocolates, and a DVD box set of the X-Files. But, I just got a game, a very disappointing game. GTA is all about pure, evil, mother-upsetting fun. However, GTA IV made me keep up with old friends and take them out dancing every day otherwise they would resent me. The worst part is, when you went to pick them up, the game forced you to drive semi-normally, otherwise they would begin to dislike me. I should be able to run over a boardwalk of old ladies, shoot a couple of cop cars, and make a stunt jump all while hearing the terrified screams of Niko’s cousin, but not be punished for it. Besides the escorting, the game was alright. The realism allowed you to do many other things, the only problem is that they were all boring. Pool, darts, and watching TV are just some of the games. I mean watching TV? I am playing this game on a TV! If I wanted to watch it, I would turn off my XBOX and watch TV. I simply felt that it took away from the overall ridiculous fun aspect of GTA that made it famous.
            Realism is like a political party in gaming. It has divided the gaming world into two groups, with the other party being those who appreciate a game that can break a few of Newton’s laws. What do you think is the best? Post it in a comment below and I will be sure to tell you that you are either wrong or partially correct (but probably just completely wrong).  
   

Activision’s Decision
Written By Sam Shipp


Recently, Activision ended their long franchise Guitar Hero.  This game series introduced the world to the plastic guitar and it has been a love-clutter relationship ever since.  However, in Guitar Hero’s last iterations, it has recently been performing poorly.  But, if Activision ends their music game, what does it leave them with? 
Looking at Activision, it is plain to see that Activision does not have many other major Franchises.  There only other major game is the Call of Duty series.  Without Guitar hero, Activision is going to have to rely on their developers to make surprise hits.  On the other hand, other publishing companies, like EA, have multiple longstanding game series.  Battlefield, Mass Effect, Half-life, Left 4 Dead, and Madden are all apart of the EA family.  Compared to EA, Activision is lacking. 
This does not mean that I am going to count Activision out.  They have enough production studios to make tons of games. Some of them are going to have to be really good. Also, Activision still owns Blizzard, the guys behind games such as Diablo and World of Warcraft.  However, Activision is currently in a much weaker position than their competitors. 
Hopefully, Activision will be able to come back from this franchise shift.  Though this announcement brought bad news for Guitar Hero fans, this could be a big step forward for the game developers of Activision as a whole.  They could have a chance to get their game out and let it replace Guitar Hero as one of the premier gaming franchises in the world.


Folklore Review
 Written by Evan E.



Folklore, developed by Game Republic, is an action-adventure video game that incorporates a few aspects of RPGs.  It came out on the PS3 in 2007.   Folklore centers around two characters, a college student named Ellen, and a journalist named Keats.  Both of these characters go to the village of Doolin, Ellen in search of her mother, Keats in search of a story for his occult magazine.   When they arrive, they find that they have the ability to travel to the Land of the Dead, or the Netherworld.   The Netherworld is inhabited by beings known as Folks, who are the common enemies of the game.  When a Folk is defeated in battle, it is possible to absorb its Id, or soul, and then use the Folk’s powers.  Ellen and Keats travel the Netherworld, trying to discover the mystery of Ellen’s past and attempting to resolve a war in the Netherworld.
The looks of this game are amazing.  There are many different realms in the Netherworld, each with their own unique and detailed designs.  Even the backgrounds of the menus are works of art, and each enemy has a detailed design, made to match the realm it is in.  The cut scenes are excellent in quality.
This game’s storyline is the best of any game I have ever played, in fact, it is better than most books or movies.  There are two central storylines.  One is about Ellen, as she tries to discover her family’s past.  The other involves a huge war in the Netherworld, between the Faerys and the Rebels.  Both storyline’s come together in a climatic finish, and after the game is beat, several open-ended revelations are made.  The story of this game is told in three ways: through the amazing cut scenes, through an animated-comic-book manner, and through dialog with other characters.  Letters and books are also often used to tell about the past.  The story is revealed piece by piece, through flashbacks and conversations with dead souls.  In the end, it makes up an extremely intricate and exquisite tale.
Players have to sit through very long loading periods at frequent intervals.  Also, when some actions are performed, the game freezes up for a few seconds, which can be very annoying.  There are a few glitches which can also cause trouble.
Ellen and Keats both possess different ways to use their Folks.  Ellen summons the body of the defeated Folk, and it fights for her.  This allows Ellen to summon multiple Folks and to run away from danger, but the Folks can be killed and cannot be easily controlled.  Keats, on the other hand, uses the Folks power instead, with the ghostly image of the Folk appearing in front or around him.  This makes it easy to direct attacks with no chance of fail, but can put Keats in danger.   Once enemy Folks are defeated, they can be either killed, or their souls can be absorbed.  Soul absorption utilizes the often-forgotten Dualshock3/Sixaxis Playstation motion sensing capabilities (not to be confused with the recently released Playstation move).   The gameplay is sound, but of the seven different Realms, despite appearing different, all but two possess the same style of gameplay, unaffected by the others.  Gameplay is also fairly linear, and the camera is not the best.
Overall
Folklore is a beautiful game with an excellent story, although the frequent load times and the linear gameplay can be annoying.  Sadly, its sales were mediocre, with the Japanese version being the best selling.  However, due to the fact that a sequel would probably ruin the franchise, perhaps things are better this way.  I would recommend buying it (if you can find it) as long as you are prepared for a huge amount of story time.

Visuals: 9.8
Story: 10
Performance: 7
Gameplay: 8
Multiplayer: NA
Overall:
 8.7