Tag Archives: reviews

Rock Band: Unplugged Review

Rock Band Unplugged

 

Developer(s):      Harmonix

                                    Backbone Entertainment

Publisher(s):      MTV Games

                                    Electronic Arts

Distributor(s):  EA Distribution

Platform(s):        PlayStation Portable only

Genre(s):              Rhythm Game

ESRB:                      Teen

The new installment of Rock Band on Sony’s handheld console does not entirely live up to the standards of Rock Band but serves as a complete entertainment package. It is a great musical game but like many others it doesn’t come without its flaws. I managed to get this game quite a time ago in August and had earned quite a lot of cash, fans and stars and even the van, the bus and the airplane, but I had to update my firmware and therefore the data got corrupted. Now that I completed the game I have reviewed the game.

 GAMEPLAY

Similar to games like Guitar Hero and of course like its Rock band predecessors this gameplay is primarily about hitting a button or sets of buttons while the come near the phrase indicator. Doesn’t seem too fun by just the description but with a blend of intriguing songs it is brilliant altogether. Stars are awarded on how well you play a track. The overdrive system is great gaining power on pressing a series of glowing white notes. The phrase indicator serves well. Playing notes accurately get a higher score and affect the cash and number of fans acquired. At the start of every song the band members are

Gameplay lives up to Rock Band but only to an extent

 

introduced as bass guitarist, drummer, vocalist and lead guitarist respectively. Switching between vocals, guitars and drums is quite comfortable with the L and R buttons. The rhythm of the gameplay completely absorbs the gamer. The world tour is immensely gratifying and addictive. Getting on the road and playing gigs in places like London, Shanghai, Berlin, Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, Rome, Paris and numerous more is simply exalting.

The Extras menu offers Band Survival mode in which one is able to play the instrument he wants through the entire song. The Training module offers sets of interactive tutorials that would explain well to any rock band newbie.

One of the major drawbacks in the gameplay is that the visuals are not as inspiring and brilliant as of its predecessors. The worst aspect is of course is the absence of much expected multiplayer feature. No wi-fi or online feature in the game make it feel empty and exhausted after a short while.

 GRAPHICS

Visuals are just fine

 

The visuals are just fine. All band members have only a small set of moves which become very repetitive after a while. Members can be customized as we like either wearing the heart of bones shirt or pair of funky trousers. Hairstyles have a wide variety. Characters are well highlighted but at many instances flawed visuals and glitches are spotted. The spotlights and transitions are outstanding but a great room for improvement left behind. Band and instruments detailing could be highly improved however I didn’t keep my expectations high on this aspect from a game like Rock Band Unplugged.

PRESENTATION

Game menus, interactive touring, selecting staff members and various offers all add up Rock Band Unplugged’s superb presentation. The player creates a band, selects a logo and starts on the world tour. He faces challenges and innumerable contests with captivating rewards. Any time he can customize his band members or buy a variety of good looking instruments all that is within the budget. With each staff member comes offers, varying fans and cash and so on. The game never feels empty although your money sure can. There’s a lot to do and if someone honestly gets about 40- 50 hours of dedicated play he would be able to finish every gig (very daring ones would show that dedication). Finishing the game can also mean simply finishing the Shanghai Immortals List or attaining Legendary Status (can be achieved by playing all 41 soundtracks consecutively and is worth 205 stars!!).

Difficulties to choose from

 

The Extras Menu features an option of unlocking all songs. Songs can also be downloaded from the PlayStation Network in the Music Store Menu. As one starts the game he has to complete a set of training missions (they are optional however) to have an idea of how the game works. Unlockables include city shirts, instruments of course and numerous spotlight gigs and song marathons.

 SOUNDTRACKS

A musical game one like Harmonix’s Rock Band or the Guitar Hero series has to have some solid soundtracks which are addictive and fun to play. Rock Band Unplugged is to a great extent successful in offering that. The songs are unanimously superb. Great titles like Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down or Jackons 5’s ABC. Even ones like The Perfect Drug, Miss Murder, Float On, Alive, Today, More Than A Feeling and numerous others. All are different in their way with varying difficulties in different instruments. Some songs might seem slow and worth a challenge on Hard whereas several others might serve as a challenge only at the basic difficulty. Soundtracks from some great bands such as Linkin Park, Metallica and Iron Maiden were missing which was truly disappointing. However, with as many as 41 tracks to play, I rarely felt their absence.

 Final Thoughts

Rock Band Unplugged is just the experience for a rock band fan or the one’s looking for some pleasurable and satisfying musical game. It’s not one of the best titles out there but is a great PSP exclusive altogether. The addictive gameplay, awesome soundtracks, few salient features and a brilliant world tour make this game worth play. However disappointing elements such as few glitches and very limited character customization have brought it substantially below perfection.

 Graphics- 7.5

Gameplay- 8.5

Presentation- 8.0

Soundtracks- 8.7

Overall-  8.2/10 (Great)

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Resistance: Retribution Review

Resistance

Resistance: Retribution

Developer: Sony Bend

Publisher: SCEA

Platform(s): PlayStation Portable Only

Genre: Third-person shooter

ESRB: Mature

Insomniac’s Resistance makes it to the PSP but this time the credit goes to Sony Bend. Retribution has brought to us a great storyline, entertaining gameplay and an entirely beautiful experience.

STORY

Retribution has a brilliant plot which is altogether inebriating. The chimeran invasions at various locations, exploring more into the conversion process and somewhat unexpected turns make the game running smoothly at a fine pace. The story has almost all that is needed, however, with a few unintelligent and flawed situations.

The protagonist- JAMES GRAYSON

James Grayson

The Mercenary

This British soldier is clearly a very impressive character and has a lot of effect on the entire game. At times he might seem heroic but a few moments later he is back giving out obscenities and vulgar expressions  not only to the chimeras and his French allies but surprisingly even to himself. Grayson’s hatred for Mallery is quite well defined as, in almost every location that he encounters Mallery we come across the line- “I really hate Mallery.”

So, we really couldn’t have missed that. 🙂 

GRAPHICS

Sony Bend has succeeded in putting up a good looking game however taking this aspect into consideration we come across many glitches which could feel frustrating or rather, stupid.

Detalling is simply too great

The lighting and shadowing effects are undoubtedly applaudable and the beautifully detailed environments cannot be neglected. The cutscenes before the start of every chapter (do not confuse with the in game cutscenes) are immensely satisfying and awe inspiring. The realistic fire, water and other environments and well detailed foes, all add up to it. 

The detailing is like never before on the PSP (however much similar to Syphon Filter series). The weapon reloading and firing bullets are full of realism. The intensity at which the enemies blow up and the blood effects are great. The in game cutscenes (mentioned earlier) especially the characters seriously needed some improvement in detailing. At certain instances in the game we might end up looking at a squint eyed Mallery or even Grayson carrying an idiotic expression.

GAMEPLAY

gameplay 1

Brilliant effects and shooting mechanics provide a great gaming experience

The Gameplay (also includes the Artificial Intelligence and in game physics) is a major component that makes this game even better. The shooting mechanics are simply too great and the wide variety of weapons ranging from carbines to LAARK rockets, the hybrid Razor or the Auger help tackling different enemies. The newly introduced auto aim feature is nicely presented. Before the release of the game this feature was quite controversial and received a critical approach from many gamers as they said that it would make the game considerably easy. However, self exploding Boilers, outnumbering hybrids, mighty and gigantic Titans, frustrating leapers and many more chimeras are always there to compensate and we would hate to think what it would be like without the auto aim.

Defeating the enemies is not quite easy if you’re not ready with a strategy or plan. Switching quickly from the storm rifle for getting a headshot of a Boiler to a LAARK rocket or Grenade to deal with a Titan requires quick thinking. When to use Chaingun and Auger shields, benefits of alternate ammunitions require experience and practice. Pushing crates or pulling down levers is achieved by reaching to the object, pressing the up button and constantly pressing X. Such minigames are interactive and are guided through well.

defeating the titan

Titan!! Get the LAARK!

Controls

 Controls are practically easy. The R1 fires, secondary fire with the L1, the UP button zooms in, RIGHT changes weapons, camera control with the functional buttons (circle, square, cross and triangle) and movement with the analog stick is quite comfortable (non-sticky too). The crosshairs auto aim on the enemies but if we zoom in, in weapons like the Fareye (Sniper) it goes into manual aim. Sitting in one of the hammers and shooting down enemies is great fun. Using its powerful chaingun or missiles makes blowing up the Chimera easier. Walking into tunnels or climbing crates does a fine job getting through. The swimming mechanics are great. Grayson dives and stays and holds his breath either till he dies or till we resurface him. Poor guy.
All of this and more make the gameplay simply amazing.

A few improvements here and there could have been made such as better use of AI and a little more authenticity throughout the game. One thing that is not negligible is the extremely sticky cover system. Whenever we get near a wall, crates or covers Grayson automatically slips into cover. While running for health capsules, two massive Titans behind you and, oops, you get near a cover. What then? It simply attracts you like there is a magnetic pull. This seriously can be is frustrating. However, slight ups and downs do not completely disappoint a gamer and the gameplay nears perfection.

PRESENTATION

This game truly has a fabulous presentation with lots of innovative elements and ideas. Everything from location selects to autosaves, it’s immensely beautiful and well presented.

 SKILL POINTS AND INTEL

The location select

There’s got to be something more than just the campaign and there is. Skill points that the series is well known for are presented in a wide variety for different areas and locations in Retribution. The intel are spread all over the game and are to be collected from secret spots like openings near the end of a wall which lead to a room, pushing crates to lead to secret passageway are few  of them.

Unlockable content

The unlockables especially the l

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Solid Snake through the ages

Our friend solid snake (old snake lately) has always proved to be the hero, be it any MGS game or against any metal gear or foe. Unfortunately, he had to go through accelerated aging. Let’s have a look of snake’s different appearances and ages.

snake-through-the-ages-final

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