Review Quickies, Vol. 11

Soul Reaver 2
(PS2, 2001)

+ excellent graphics
+ great music
+ voice acting is pretty good
– combat is simplistic and easy, but OK
– lots of stops in the pacing for many puzzles

I played the original Soul Reaver quite awhile ago and I found that my taste in action/adventure has changed a good deal in the meantime while playing this game. Being big into fighting games I tend to lean towards games that emphasize action thanks to the changing of the action landscape in the same year this game came out with the seminal Devil May Cry. Because of this change in my taste I found Soul Reaver 2 to be a bit of a bore. I don’t think it’s a bad game at all, just a kind of game that isn’t for me anymore. I suspect if you like the Legend of Zelda series, you may find you like Soul Reaver 2 as well.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 6.0 out of 10

Tetris Party Deluxe
(DS, 2010)

+ plays very smooth
+ single cart multiplayer and online play
+ includes one of my favorite variants: Bombliss
– all other variants aren’t actually Tetris in any way
– presentation kinda sucks

I’ve been a diehard Tetris fan since I first played it on the NES back in 1989 so I gotta (not really) collect ’em all. Tetris Party Deluxe is a fine version of Tetris that plays some standard-ass Tetris very well, but that’s about it. The Bombliss variant that’s also included is one of my favorite too. Outside of those two play modes it is pretty much a bust since the other variants aren’t really like Tetris in any way except that they use the Tetris pieces. The perfect Tetris would be one that is just like EA’s Tetris on PS3, but also includes Bombliss and Push (featured in Tetris DS), but that hasn’t happened yet.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 6.5 out of 10

Malicious
(PS3, 2012)

+ pretty good visuals
– music is bland and forgettable
– combat is anemic
– each stage is a boring slog
– camera kinda sucks

If I’m anything when it comes to video games, I’m first and foremost a connoisseur of action. I love it. I eat action, breathe action, and sleep action. Yes, even in my sleep it’s all action, all the time. Hell, I even shit action! If I’m not kicking some ass, then what the fuck am I even doing? So, it’s especially disheartening when I have the misfortune of buying and playing an action game that is the steaming pile of crap that Malicious is. Everything about the gameplay sucks. You have many moves at your disposal and gain more as you finish stages, but even with all of these seemingly cool moves to use the combat is super anemic. It all feels weak and unimpressive. To make matters worse each stage is a slog to finish. Since each stage is only a boss fight with other minor enemies to complicate things, each boss takes forever to defeat and it’s boring to boot. No matter how cheap this may be, don’t waste your time or money. Play Fighting Force instead (LOL).

RATING: 3 out of 6 / 5.5 out of 10

Devil May Cry 4
(PS3, 2008)

+ excellent graphics
+ combat is of the usual excellent DMC quality
+ both Nero and Dante are a lot of fun to play as
+ lots of great boss battles
– music is only decent at best
– some bosses repeat up to three times
– backtracking can be a bit excessive

In order to get the bad taste of Malicious out of my mouth I had to play an action game that I thought had a good chance of being, you know, good. I decided to play Devil May Cry 4 and I was not let down at all! In fact, I seem to like it more than most. The graphics for a four year old game still look really good today. Combat is really great and Nero is a fantastic new character that I hope we get to see again someday. He was a little too much of a straight-man in this though. I still prefer a more lighthearted, wisecracking badass like Dante or Bayonetta, but Nero was a lot of fun to play as. Some of the bosses repeating for a third time near the end of the game was clearly padding that wasn’t necessary and the backtracking with Dante was a little excessive even if it was a part of the plot. Having said that, the minuses really are very minor and should not deter anyone interested in giving DMC4 a shot.

RATING: 5 out of 6 / 8.5 out of 10

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