Category Archives: Playstation 2

A Horse! A Horse! My Princess Is A Horse! – Dragon Quest 8 Review

DRAGON QUEST VIII: THE JOURNEY OF THE CURSED KING (2006) – LEVEL 5

There are very few game series that can command the respect that Dragon Quest does. A colossal franchise in its Japanese homeland, it has remained rock steady in the JRPG genre, and whereas Final Fantasy has always felt the need to adapt and change with the times with each instalment, Dragon Quest is pretty much the same now as it was when the original game was released in 1986 on the NES: turn based combat, text driven screens and lots of grinding. Even the development team has remained the same, with the creator Yuji Horii, artist Akira Toriyama and composer Koichi Sugiyama working on every single game.

The impulse to write this review was provided by an article I read recently on CVG.com that simply proclaimed ‘Why Dragon Quest 8 Is The Best Game On The PS2’. Having read the analysis featured within, I began to ponder about the statement, and the more I thought about it, the more I began to think that the statement may well have some truth to it. Because while Dragon Quest 8 did nothing new or original for the JRPG genre, it does what it does with an exceptional amount of aplomb. Continue reading A Horse! A Horse! My Princess Is A Horse! – Dragon Quest 8 Review

In Soviet Russia, Snake Eats You – Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence Review

METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SUBSISTENCE (2006) – KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS

As a basic premise, Metal Gear Solid 3 should not work. The idea of taking a series that is known for its futuristic war based storyline and plonking it in the middle of the 1960’s was ludicrous. But never count out Hideo Kojima, the genius behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise, to make a game that blows everyone’s expectations out of the water. MGS3 (which confusingly is the first game in the entire Metal Gear chronology) is not just a great game in the MGS series, but it also stands as one of the very best experiences you can have on the PS2.

The original game came out in 2004, but the version that I am reviewing is the Subsistence version, a special edition version that came out later featuring the full game, bonus content, online multiplayer which was absent in the original, and a 3 hour DVD showing all the cutscenes in a movie like format.

One of the strange things about MGS3 is that by putting it in the past and basing it around real events, it made the story surprisingly believable and incredibly engaging…providing you were fine with a sledgehammer being taken to your prior knowledge of History. The game takes place at the height of the Cold War between Russia and the USA, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis. As the game starts, you take the role of Naked Snake, a member of the Fox Unit, who is sneaked into Soviet territory to retrieve Sokolov, a Russian nuclear scientist who was secretly traded by the US back to Russia as part of the terms of Russia pulling out of Cuba. Backed up by an support team, including Snake’s mentor, the legendary solider The Boss, you sneak through a jungle environment,  and Snake eventually manages to find Sokolov. After surviving an ambush by the Ocelot unit (headed by a young Revolver Ocelot), Snake takes Sokolov to the extraction point. Upon getting there however, Snake finds The Boss waiting for him, where she reveals she is defecting to theSoviet Union and supporting General Volgin, an extreme rebel leader who wishes to displace Krushchev as the premier of Russia. After engaging Snake in close quarters combat, The Boss throws Snake off a bridge and leaves him for dead. Volgin then explodes a miniature nuke in the heart of the jungle, placing the blame on the Boss and putting the world on the brink of nuclear war again. Snake is retrieved by Fox Unit, and upon arriving back in America is told that he and the Unit will be given a chance to redeem their actions; but only if Snake infiltrates enemy territory, stops the Shagohod (a giant walking nuclear tank that Sokolov was working on), and kills The Boss. The mission is called Operation Snake Eater…

And that’s just the introduction to the main game. Continue reading In Soviet Russia, Snake Eats You – Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence Review

Wanna Play Blitzball? – Final Fantasy 10 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine On New Years Eve, 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 10 (2002) – SQUARESOFT

Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the boxart doesn't give much away this time
Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the boxart doesn’t give much away this time

When the PS2 was launched in the early dawn of the millennium, it gave game developers a chance to expand existing series that was already on the Playstation. Squaresoft had released Final Fantasy 9 to great acclaim in 2001, and is was expected that it would take some time for the great series to move to its new home on the PS2. In fact, Squaresoft surprised everyone by releasing the new instalment, Final Fantasy 10, only one year later. So did it meet everyone’s high expectations? Continue reading Wanna Play Blitzball? – Final Fantasy 10 Review

‘It Was Acceptable In The 80’s…’ – GTA Vice City Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 9th November 2010)

GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY (2002) – ROCKSTAR

I hope you like your neon lights...
I hope you like your neon lights…

There can be no denying that when GTA3 was released on the PS2, it represented a new major advancement in the gaming industry: the realisation of a sandbox game where you could go anywhere and do virtually anything. The ability to move around a massive area such as Liberty City and do as you please left a tremendous impact on gamers, who naturally demanded more. It would be Rockstar who upped the ante even further with Vice City a few years later. The GTA series is always held in high acclaim, and Vice City is easily one of the finest installments. By taking the revolutionary gameplay created in GTA3 and putting it into an 80’s storyline, Rockstar created an absolute genius game. Continue reading ‘It Was Acceptable In The 80’s…’ – GTA Vice City Review