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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All (Nintendo DS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice For All (Nintendo DS)
Offered by MICRO LTD
Price: £13.49

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the same, 18 April 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
It's kind of hard to rate a game like Phoenix Wright: Justice for all. The reason for that is, like my title implies, it's VERY similar to the first one. So much for originality...

But is that necessarily a bad thing? The reason I bought Phoenix Wright 2 is, precisely, because I loved the first one and I wanted some more. So if you played and enjoyed the first game of the series, there is no doubt you'll also appreciate this second episode.

Like before, your aim throughout the game is to prove your client not guilty, by investigating and searching for clues but also, in the court room, by presenting decisive evidence to unveil some of the witnesses' false testimonies. The gameplay hasn't changed a bit, so you still have to move from place to place by selecting the appropriate location on the touch screen, to examine items to gather information, and to talk to people by selecting different options with your stylus.

The game's trademark humour is of course back, together with some characters from the first game, and to be honest this is my favourite aspect of the game. While newcomers will be perfectly able to play and understand the game without having played the first one, older fans will be delighted to see familiar faces.

So yeah, like I said above, a lot of this game is just more of the same as before.

The main addition to the gameplay is the "Psyche Lock" system. Sometimes, when investigating, you'll have to talk to people. And sometimes, when talking to people, you'll realise that they are hiding something from you. Your aim will then be to break their "locks", using evidence, so that they open up to you and tell you their secret, which is always crucial to the case you are defending.

While it does sound fun at first, I found the Psyche Locks to be just another way to make the game longer... Because in practice, it is just this: you get to use evidence, not only in the court room, but also while investigating. Yay. Mind you, it's not that bad either. EXCEPT... that while you are in the court room, you KNOW you have all the evidence you can possibly have (the game doesn't let you proceed to the court room if you don't), so all you have to do is figure out how to use it. With the Psyche Locks though, you may, or may not, have the evidence you need. And there is no way you can tell! So you'll have to be much more careful and to think more about your next move, since sometimes the best solution is to give up, investigate some more, and only then come back to the Psyche Lock.

Which leads me to the next addition to the gameplay: the life bar! Each wrong piece of evidence you present, both in court and for Psyche Locks, will cost you a certain amount of life. So you can't just try at random lots of different pieces of evidence when unlocking a Psyche Lock, because each wrong one costs you life. Ok, you can't die from unsuccessfully having a go at a Psyche Lock, but seeing how your life bar is NOT replenished when your enter court (you have the same life bar for each episode), you'll want to think carefully about wasting it away.

To make up for that though, you get 50% of your life bar back for each Psyche Lock you unlock.

So, in the end... I loved this game, but be warned, it's pretty much exactly the same as the first game. As a stand-alone game, I would give it 5 stars, however as a sequel, because of its lack of originality and its similarity to the previous game, it doesn't really deserve much more than 3. Which is why I gave it 4 stars.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hotel Dusk - Room 215, 15 Feb. 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I have played the US version of that game for DS (mainly because I couldn't wait for it to be released in the UK!), and here is what I thought about it...

You play as salesman Kyle Hyde. Except Kyle Hyde isn't just your ordinary salesperson, he used to be a cop but quit a few years ago, after he shot his partner and friend Bradley because he betrayed Kyle. Bradley then disappeared but Kyle is convinced that he's still alive, somewhere, and he just can't understand why Bradley betrayed him in the first place. So, since his job involves going from place to place, Kyle uses it as an opportunity to learn more about the past and about who Bradley really was...

The whole game is set in one location: Hotel Dusk. It starts when you check into the Hotel and ends the following morning, when you check out. There are a number of ther guests with you in the hotel, as well as 3 members of staff. What looks like a normal little hotel with normal customers is actually something quite different: veen though you don't know any of them, every single one of the people you intereact with has a secret, something that happened in their past and that they somehow try to come to term with during their stay in Hotel Dusk.

Throughout the 10 chapters that make up the game, your goal is to discover what everyone is hiding. What appears at first like personal and family secrets turns out to be of importance to you, since, without knowing it, all the people share a link and this whole mystery is, in the end, related to Bradley.

The gameplay is, well, at first, it's weird. You hold the DS like a book. On the left hand side, the screen shows you what the character sees, in 3D. On the right hand side, the touch screen shows you a small overhead map, and you use your stylus to control the character's movements on that map. So you move on the map, but you actually SEE stuff on the other screen. Takes a short while to get used to, but in the end it does work.

In this game, there are no fights and no enemies. You talk to people and you interact with items, and that's about it. You must be careful what you say to them, because if you raise their suspiscions you will be kicked out of the Hotel, and that'll be the end of your adventure. For example, if you've just been sneaking into the Hotels' owner's office and going through his stuff searching for clues, asking him questions about something you found there would be a bad idea, since it would let him know that you've broken into his office, and he'll kick you out.

Most of the puzzled require common sense but a couple of them need very specific combination of items which might not seem obvious at first. As a result, you can get stuck trying to solve a puzzle in a way that seems logical to you, but that the game won't accept.

You also have a small notepad at your disposal in which you can jot down important clues that you don't want to forget (you just open you pad and write stuff in with the stylus).

Hotel Dusk is a very good adventure game, which I really enjoyed a lot. It lasted me about 16 hours in total, but there are many different endings so you can play it over and over again. I found that the pace was a bit slow at the beginning, but once it picks up, you won't be able to put your DS down. Just like a good detective novel...

Okami (PS2)
Okami (PS2)
Offered by Digitalville UK
Price: £10.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zelda-esque, 15 Feb. 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Okami (PS2) (Video Game)
If you like Zelda games, then you WILL like Okami. The gameplay, while not 100% identical, is very similar and, just like in Zelda, there are TONS of side quests than will make you spend hours and hours on the game.

The first thing you'll notice are the graphics. They are just gorgeous and I don't think anybody could disagree with that. You have the feeling you're controlling your character inside a beautiful japanese watercolor painting, which is actually very fitting since drawings play a very big part in this game.

At your disposal is a pain brush, that will allow you to manipulate your surroundings. You will learn a total of 13 brush techniques and you can use them to defeat foes or to make the world around you a better place. A tree is withered? Make it blossom. A lake had dried up? Replenish it with water. A bunch of rocks block your way? Slice them up!

Like I said earlier, apart from the main storyline, there are countless quests you can choose to undergo. These will rewerd you with money, items or praise. Praise is a very important thing since it will allow to level up your skills and attributes (eg increase your life bar, give you extra ink so you can draw more, etc). You can also gain praise by returning colours and light to an area, by feeding animals, by making trees blossom, etc.

One thing I did not really like is that the game feels like it could (should?) have ended after about 20 hours of gameplay. Yet it doesn't, but the rest feels redundant, at least to me. It's like the developpers felt the game was too short if it was just left at that, and had to find a way of artificially extending its duration. Good thing about it is, they actually managed to do so while still keeping a link with the main story but still... is there REALLY a need for fighting the same boss several times in the game, in the exact same way (the boss doesn't even evolve or gain new attacks, you basically do the same things as when you first fought him) even though you DO defeat him every time?... Adding any more would be a spoiler, but I just think it gets a bit cheap...

That's the only thing, really, which stops me from giving a perfect 5/5 to this game, but I'd still recommend it to anyone who like good action/adventure games, and definitely to anyone who enjoys Zelda.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS)
Offered by MICRO LTD
Price: £14.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game!, 28 Jan. 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Ok, I must say, when I first heard of that game, I thought "so, you play as a lawyer, riiight...". But in the end I was convinced by my friend to try it, and I was very nicely surprised.

With its very unique cast of characters, lying witnesses, lawyers who aren't always on justice's side, and twisted investigations, you cannot get bored.

You'll have to investigate, find clues, interrogate suspects and witnesses, find links between clues and cases, prepare your defense carefully and choose wisely when to show decisive evidence to the judge.

While you're out investigating, you can talk to pretty much anyone you want, and you need to look at every scene carefully if you don't want to miss any clues. Sometimes you have to talk to a certain person, or show them a certain item, before you can progress in the story, so you will probably end up a few times going to the same places over and over again until you actually realise what you need to say to someone in order for you to be able to move on.

In trials, your role is to listen very carefully to the witnesses' testimony and to find inconsistencies and contradictions in what they say, thus proving the innocence of your client. You can choose to "press" the witnesses if you want to question them further on a certain point, or if you feel they are hiding some information, and when you think they're lying, you need to show a piece of evidence from your "inventory" to point out that lie to the judge. But be careful! You only have a limited amount of tries, so you'll have to think carefully before showing any piece of evidence.

I really recommend this game to any adventure games fan. If you don't like reading lots of text though, don't pick this one, because reading is pretty much what you do all along. But if you like to think a lot, definitely give this game a go!

The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess (GameCube)
The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess (GameCube)
Offered by Berkshire Retail
Price: £129.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another excellent Zelda, 27 Dec. 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
I'm not sure just how the Nintendo people do it, but they've managed yet again to produce a superb Zelda game. And if you think "it's not on a next gen system so it's not worth getting", well, you're really wrong, especially since there is no difference between this and the Wii version.

The story is what you'd expect for that sort of game, but it's told in such an interesting way that it won't feel that much of a cliche. Your world is in danger, you must save it, and even though at first you don't know much about why, who and how, you'll gradually learn more and more information.

The gameplay is just perfect. As much as I think about it, I cannot find any real fault that spoilt my enjoyment while playing the game. All the items you collect during your quests are used in an intelligent way to help you pregress through the story, there are a number of actions Link can perform, and the fighting system is very intuitive.

As always, the bosses all have a weak point that you'll have to find in order to defeat them. In a way, one might say that it makes the bosses too easy: if you are good at dodging, it is possible to win each boss battle without losing a single heart from your life bar. But I think in this game, it's not about how long it takes to beat the bosses, or how much life they stole from you, it's about thinking and figuring out HOW to beat them, and that can actually take quite some time.

The puzzles are also very good, most of them are logical and make you think "duh!" aftet you've spent half an hour trying to figure them out. All you have to remember is that each item is your inventory needs to be used at some point in the game.

The amount of sidequests is just massive. Mini games, hidden skills, shops, hidden dungeons and many more, there are tons of things to do and to see outside the main adventure. You definitely won't have time to get bored, and you'll probably be doing pelnty of extra things between two dungeons. I beat the game after around 55 hours, so that's a very good value for money, especially since you'll be thoroughly enjoying every minut of this time.

Last point worth mentionning, the music is really good. Of course you'll find all the classic Zelda themes, and all of the tracks are beautiful and fit perfectly into the game.

Conclusion: I definitely recommend this game to everybody. If you enjoy adventure games, games in which you have to think, free exploration, tons of sidequests, or just if you enjoy good games in general, you really should buy this one, I highly doubt you'll regret it!

Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)
Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)
Offered by Gamesbuyer
Price: £10.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carlson and Peeters!, 9 Dec. 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
When Beyond Good and Evil was released, I thought about buying it at first, and then changed my mind. 3 years later, I have finally gotten this game and I must say I do regret not doing so earlier. It is a real shame that the game didn't sell too well since, as a result, many people don't know what they're missing out.

What I liked:

The characters: They are really great and you will get attached to them straight away.

The voice acting: The voice actors are just spot on, and they contribute a lot to making the character's actions more credible.

The design: Even though I have to say that at first, I was a bit skeptical about the very cartoony design of the characters, in the end it work perfectly. The world of Hillys is full of unique creatures and plants that make the adventure very immersive.

The story: You are in charge of discovering the truth about a recent alien invasion, and you soon become an agent for a rebel network who wants the population of the planet to open their eyes.

The animation: Jade, Pey'j and all the other characters they encounter in their quest move very well, and the game is full of little details that make the whole experience more pleasant (like when Jade takes an item, you actually see her take it, and when she doesnt need it anymore, she puts it back in place).

The gameplay (well, most of it): very intuitive commands, you won't have any difficulty learning which button does what. The fighting commands, I thought, are particularly good since you can seamlessly target multiple ennemies in the same fight, depending on the direction towards which you press the left stick. In the game, you'll have to explore, fight, take pictures, move around in a hovercraft, a spacecraft, shoot, race against competitors, use stealth and avoid being seen, solve puzzles and much more, so the gameplay is very varied.

What I didn't like as much:

The gameplay (a tiny bit of it): The controls are context sensitive, meaning that in an "exploration" context, the X button will be the action button, but in a "fight" context, the same button will be the attack button. Which means that as soon as a fight starts, Jade can't do anything else than fight, which can be problematic at times. Also, if you want to use the inventory, you have to keep pressing the analog stick in a given direction while you make your choices with the X button, and it's sometimes a bit confusing.

The duration: The game is extremely short. There are only 5 "dungeons" to complete, and even though in some places you will have to stop and think about how to go to the next area, it is likely that you will complete the game in a weekend.

The "exploring": Yes, the game is set in quite a big world, and at first, you will probably think, like I did, that it means you'll have a lot of exploring to do. Well, yes and no. There is only ONE sidequest in the game. By sidequest, I mean a quest that you do not HAVE to do to advance in the story. Therefore there is no real free exploring since you will HAVE TO visit all the areas of the map and you will HAVE TO find their treasures, otherwise you will not be able to advance in the story.

The camera angles: Most of the time they are brilliant, but at times they can be annoying, especialy during fights and some stealth sections.

All in all, I definitely recommend this game to anybody who likes adventure games, I really enjoyed playing it and its few bad points were not enough to spoil the experience.

Suikoden V (PS2)
Suikoden V (PS2)

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suikoden V, 26 Oct. 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Suikoden V (PS2) (Video Game)
I decided to buy this game and give it a go even though I have never played a Suikoden game before. On the whole, I really enjoyed it a lot, but a few things spoilt a game which otherwise would have gotten 5 stars.


1) In this game, there are a LOT of things to do. Apart from the main quest, which on its own is long and complex enough, there are countless side quests. Well, actually, since you can recruit 108 characters in your party, and in order to get the vast majority of those characters you need to complete a side-quest, this gives you a pretty good idea of the sheer amount of mini quests the game has to offer. You can visit and revisit towns to get different items and pieces of armour, you can become a trader to try and earn huge amounts of money - but then, if the risks you take aren't calculated, you can also LOSE all your money, and, if you recruit the appropriate characters, the castle you aquire later on can be turned into a proper little town, with your own shops, inns and so on.

2) I really liked the characters. They all have a great personality and story, and it's really quick and easy to become attached to them. Even though the Hero is another one of those "mute heroes", this time the way he looks and the way he reacts make it that you can't help but like him. The character design is nice too, apart from maybe a couple of people, but on the whole, that's a great cast you'll play with.

3) Since the last RPG I played on PS2 was "Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King", I must say that, with Suikoden V, I was HAPPY to have a serious story at last!!! The story is also very realistic when compared to other games of the same genre: no monster, no need for you to save the world, no ennemies that suddenly turn into massive creatures for whatever reason. In Suikoden V, you are a prince who, for a certain number of complex reasons, is now viewed as a traitor. Your aim is to gather allies and slowly fight your way to rid your homeland of the usurper. Of course there are a certain number of twists in the plot, and it never gets boring. You know most of what happened since the beginning, but WHY did it happen? And did it really happen the way you THINK it happened? Most important, who can you trust among all those so-called allies?...

4) The gameplay has a lot to offer as well. The battles are turn-based, but not in the same way as, say, Final Fantasy. Every time you fight a standrad battle, you need to first enter a command for each character (attack, use magic, use an item, defend, etc). But your characters do not act until all the commands have been entered for your whole party and you have validated your choice. Once that's done, the enemies and your characters start fighting, then a new turn starts, and so on. After each battle, you gain experience (the higher your level, the least experience you receive, maing it necessary to constantly look for more challenging ennemies), as well as SP. You can then use these SP to level up your skills: choose to level up your Attack and you'll hit harder, level up your defence and you'll resist better to physical attacks, etc. This means your characters can be customized in any way you want, since even though you are free to level up all the skills if you want, you can only equip a maximum of 2 skills, so you need to choose them carefully depending on what you want your character to become.

Apart from the normal random encounters and boss fights, there are 2 more types of battles: war battles and one on one duels. I think that's a great idea since it brings a lot of variety to fighting. In war battles, you are at the head of an army, which you need to use to the best of its ability to crush the ennemy's army. Easier said than done if you are largely outnumbered, which is almost always the case, but then again each army unit has its own strengths and weaknesses. Use the correct units to fight the ennemy and the war should be won.

In the one on one duels, you need to listen carefully to what your ennemy says at the beginning of each move, then you have 3 seconds to decide what YOUR move will be... If you think your enemy will attack, you need to use youre special move. If you think your ennemy will defend, you must attack. And if you have reasons to think the ennemy will do a special move, you must defend.

5) The game is LONG! I just finished it after about 75 hours, and I know for a fact I haven't even completed half of the side quests.

6) The game offers a New Game + option! So if you kept all your good items and runes and armour in your inventory, you'll have them available when you start a new game. If only Final Fantasy games had the same....


1) The cameras are not very good. Even though they get the job done most of the time, there are frequent occasions when you'll find yourself walking around with strictly NO idea of where you are, because the view is obstructed by a wall or a building. It would have been much better if you could actually control the camera.

2) The graphics are not very impressive. They are not BAD, but considering this is a game released at the end of the PS2's life, it chould/should have looked much nicer.

3) The main quest is very linear. Interesting, yes, but very linear. Most of missions will be like "go to next area - come back to HQ - get next mission", etc, ad nauseum.

4) Your party keeps changing all the time without a warning! Let me explain: say you've been out in the woods to level your best characters, and when you feel you're ready, you go to the HQ to start the next mission. And then, all of a sudden, your party changes! You don't have your best characters anymore! In the best cases, you need to go to a certain person in your HQ, talk to her, change your party again, reorganise everything, and after all that, you're ready to go. But it also happens that sometimes, you are NOT given that chance! So that for the next misison, you're stuck with underlevelled charcaters, which is even more annoying if you've left all your good equipment on the characters you had before! So yeah, the sudden changes of party are VERY annoying sometimes.

5) This game SERIOUSLY needs a tutorial. Suikoden V assumes that you have played other Suikoden games and that you know already how things work. For example, yeah, there are 108 people to recruit. But the game itself says NOTHING of that until half-way through the game, at what point you've already permanently missed heaps of them! Also, the game's manual mentions nothing about them either. It is not NECESSARY to get them, of course, but still, it means that if you didn't know that, you can never have a single chance to do everything on your first playthrough.

There are other things that are not explained at all and that you just have to figure out yourself. Throughout the game, you will find books that are supposed to make you raise your skills even more. But then when you go to the skill Trainer, you finf out you can't! And it's explained NO WHERE that there's a special way to use those very useful items. Little things like that do get very annoying after a while.

All in all, I still recommend this game. If you have already played a Suikoden game, you'll know exactly what you're doing, and even if you have never played any Suikoden game before (like me), you'll still enjoy it alot, you'll just get a bit frustrated sometimes because you don't know straight away how to do thing.

A very good RPG!

Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
Offered by Click4entertainment Limited
Price: £34.95

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragon Quest: the Journey of the Cursed King, 16 April 2006
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Dragon Quest: the Journey of the Cursed King is the first installment of the series outside Japan. Seeing its huge popularity over there, I'd recommend buying it anyway, if you are an RPG fan, to at least experience it once in your life.

I quite enjoyed playing the game, even though a few thimgs bugged me. Graphically, it is impeccable - beautiful environments and characters, all made in cell shading. Very colourful, the game is a pleasure for the eyes.

The gameplay is very easy to get a hang of (basically a turn-based RPG) so there's no way you'll get confused due to loads of information to remember in order to be able to use the basic commands, and a quick overview of the menus will teach you anything you need to know. The battles are very traditional: your party hits, then the enemies hit, then yout party hits, etc, but you can choose from a variety of spells and abilities that make fights interesting.

However, there are a few things I didn't like as much. First off, the story is very (too?) simple. Your king was cursed by a jester, you need to find that person. Full stop. Also, I find the character design and the musics very naive, not to say silly. You'll have the feeling to be watching a Disney animation most of the time, either because of the music or because of the characters, which to me is a shame because I couldn't really identify with them very much because of that. The voices also sounded quite silly to me, but that's only a matter of personal taste and it doesn't make the game bad.

Last but not least, in this game, levelling up is a CHORE. Even more so than normally! Of course, as you level up, your stats increase, you gain new fighting abiloties, new spells, as well as "skill points" that help you customise your character. But to gain even one level takes AGES, so be warned: it's going to be very repetitive.

All in all, I find Dragon Quest: the Journey of the Cursed King a good RPG, with an excellent gameplay and an OK story, but too repetitive and not "serious" enough for my liking.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Burton
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.47

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Final Fantasy Advent Children, 11 April 2006
I have watched the Japanese version, and graphically, it looks stunning. Remember when FF: The Spirits Within was out and everyone was amazed at the graphics? Well, this one looks way better. The animation is great, and everything looks great.
Even though it's much better to have played FF7 before watching Advent Children, it is not necessary.
The plot is, well... to be honest, seeing as the whole movie was absolutely NOT necessary at all (FF7 needed no sequel, it looks more like a marketing move to me, especially if you look at all the spin-offs that FF7 recently generated), the plot, as I was saying, is nothing great or very deep. However it does have everything fans expect, and even though you'll sometimes be wondering "wait, what exactly just happened?", you'll still be hooked until the end.
If you are a FF fan, don't even hesitate, get it, but be ready to be a tad disappointed if you expect something along the lines of FF 7.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (PS2)
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (PS2)
Offered by APE-GAMES
Price: £10.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tomb Raider Legend, 11 April 2006
At last a TR that feels almost the same as the original one! After several episodes that drifted farther and farther away from TR1, this one gets closer to its origins and it is a very good thing.
Tomb Raider Legend will give you everything you expect if you're a fan of the series: puzzles, fights, lots of jumping, sexy outfits, swimming, snow, and of course the Croft manor. The levels are well designed and quite varied. Sometimes you'll have to think hard to solve a puzzle, but you can never get stuck for good, there is always a way, no matter how twisted it is! The graphics are very good, and there are lots of small details that make the game even more enjoyable. Lara's animations are very nice as well (she gained a few new ones).
A couple of things I didn't like are the underwater controls (a bit messy at times, which is a problem since she runs out of oxygen quite quickly) and the aiming system (it should either 100% automatic or 100% manual. At the moment it's somewhere in the middle and even though it works fine most of times, it gets frustrating at times). Also, the game is very, VERY short :(
All in all, if you are a disappointed fan of the series, this game should bring a smile back on your face, and if you are new to TR but like adventure games, you should also get this game.

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