New games in the Gran Turismo series often fail to noticeably improve on their predecessors, having nailed the simulation handling model and provided a more than adequate selection of cars since at least GT4. While there were numerous small changes to <b>Gran Turismo 5</b>, they're tough to spot when first booting up the game, and make little impact on the overall gameplay. There's standard and premium cars, meaning that they've only improved a handful of cars from their previous models. Premium cars show damage far better than their standard counterparts, but it's nothing impressive for the times.
There's changeable weather on a handful of tracks, and the Top Gear test track is included though as an actual track it's fairly freeform in terms of navigation unless you're an avid fan of the show. Karts are included in the game for the first time also, along with licenses for Ferrari and Bugatti vehicles. DLC and the purchase of in game credits is perhaps the biggest change, making it now almost impossible to own all of the cars featured in the game without a tremendous dent in your bank account balance, or thousands of hours grinding credits as they've been rebalanced to favour the purchase of credits from the Playstation Store. For players still enjoying the game, there's no way to access any of the online challenges or races which featured in the game either.
Career Mode has been rearranged a little, now featuring levelling up for both the A-spec and B-spec modes, and 5 classes of racing, with 9 series per class for a total of 45 racing cups, in addition to the offline driving challenges which appear. This is significantly less than was featured in Gran Turismo 4, though the online races may well have made things more even whilst they were available. Cars bought or won in Career Mode are no longer unlocked for Arcade Mode automatically, and instead must be saved to Favourites to be accessed in that mode. This means that there's no neat way to sort and access the cars in Arcade Mode, and anyone who wants to enjoy the full range of cars available in Gran Turismo 5 (as I do) won't be able to.
The separation of A-spec and B-spec modes seems needless also; in Gran Turismo 4 players could compete in A- spec mode (where they drove the race themselves) or B-spec mode (where an AI driver drove the race, and levelled up according to experience) and a win in either mode would clear the race. In Gran Turismo 5, all races would have to be completed twice to clear Career Mode, which is not only repetitive, but the option to increase the race speed when the AI driver is racing has been taken away also, meaning longer periods of sitting and watching someone else race.
This isn't the end of the issues with the changes to B-spec mode; there are less options for giving instruction to your AI driver with just 4 commands; Increase Pace, Maintain Pace, Decrease Pace, and Overtake. I can't think of a time when you'd want to decrease the overall pace, and none of the commands seems to have much impact on the AI driver anyway, save for overtake, which he just won't do otherwise. This means that there's little to no enjoyment in B-spec mode, and you might as well just hand the controller to a friend and watch them play A-spec mode as it'd definitely be more exciting.
Graphically the game is good; there's not a huge improvement on Gran Turismo 4 on the face of things, but the premium cars look nice both inside and out, and there are lots of small improvements which aren't immediately obvious. Car sounds are generally good and add to the overall excitement of racing, and the music provided for background entertainment is enjoyable at times, though perhaps not as catchy as the tunes provided in previous instalments.
Overall the racing action in Gran Turismo 5 is as good as ever; there's more licensed series to enjoy, more cars and some new tracks, but it doesn't feel like as big of an improvement as it could have been. For those wanting something past the Career Mode endgame, there's not a lot to offer, and the track editor is particularly bare bones, with only sliders to edit your custom tracks. It's worth a play, but the microtransaction based economy will likely halt progress before all of the race series can be beaten.
# Rating: 63/100
# Grade: C
# Source: http://naysgamereviews.blogspot.com/2016/09/game-review-gran-turismo-5.html
Another entry into the zombie genre which seems to be a little overpopulated recently, <b>Dead Island</b> includes elements of survival horror, a weapon customisation system, the option to play story mode with four LAN players and an RPG style level up system where players can choose which upgrades are made to their stats. The story of the game is almost central to the gameplay, with the player being given quests by survivors of the virus outbreak to assist them in their survival.
Alongside the main quest path there are sidequests which don't need to be attempted but can provide cash, experience and weapons to aid the player in their main quest. Some of the sidequests are a little ridiculous such as collecting teddy bears or champagne for particularly unconcerned survivors. Mostly though, the quests involve getting rid of zombies from places or fixing things to aid a chance at escaping.
In the game there are several types of zombies which the player will encounter. The most common types are Infected which act like those from 28 Days Later, running quickly towards the player to attack and Walkers who amble slowly towards the player but can be deadly in large groups. Added to these are Thugs who are essentially larger, more powerful walkers, Rams, as pictured above, Suiciders which explode when the player gets close enough, Floaters who spit poisonous liquid and Butchers which are essentially Infected with weapons for hands.
The controls are well laid out and weapons are easy to wield and throw, there's a powerful kick available to the player and you're able to upgrade your selected player to stomp the heads of zombies in order to kill them faster. There's a stamina bar which limits the amount of consecutive attacks a player can launch, and each selectable character has a special 'rage mode' which can help to cut through hordes of zombies.
There are various weapons available in the game, most of them melee style blunt or sharp weapons such as baseball bats, wrenches and machetes but there are also firearms available to the player with limited ammo. Vehicles can be used to run over zombies too and there's also fire based weapons such a molotovs available to players. To further increase the weapon selection there are modification blueprints hidden about the map which allow players to customise their existing weapons into ultra- powerful destructive machines.
When melee weapons are used in battle, they lose durability and need repairing at workbenches throughout the map to be effective. All weapons have their own stats based on the current level of the player, which decrease if they become too damaged. All of this means that players must be careful with how much they use their best weapons and need to keep a stock of weapons in good condition on them at all times.
The gameplay is generally similar to most survival horror games, in that play alternates between 'safe' areas and areas infested with zombies. It's possible to evade most types of zombie by running past them, and in escort missions and other types of quest this can be advisable. While there's not a truly limited amount of weapons in the game, the damage system works well and there's still a fair amount of difficulty in getting through hordes unscathed.
The story is good in most places, becoming a little anticlimactic at the end of the game in a lot of ways. It's also affected by the game's strong suggestion that you play with others online in co-op style. If you play alone you'll only see your player when you have control of them but in cutscenes, all four selectable players are present and it tends to challenge the immersion somewhat. It's a shame they couldn't have rendered different cutscenes based on who was selected and/or playing at the time.
From developers Omiya Soft and JAMSWORKS Co. Ltd, along with publisher NIS America, Culdcept returns Celebrating its 20th anniversary with Culdcept Revolt on Nintendo DS. From its origins as a Japanese only release on the Sega Saturn, Culdcept is the first title in the series to make it to our shores.
In Culdcept you will take on the role of Allen, a young Cepter found in the streets of a city under the rule of the tyrant Count Kraniss and his army. Alone and with amnesia, you find yourself with little choice but to work alongside the free bats - a group of cepters hoping to break free of the tyrants grasp and escape to freedom.
From what I experienced the story falls on par with the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh and other card games on handheld devices, with a story imaginative enough to not put you to sleep but not not breaking any boundary's in terms of originality. Told mainly through a visual novel style, the story is easy to follow going into appropriate detail to fill you in and help with the worlds lore without bogging it down with heavy text segments - overall flowing well from story progression to gameplay.
Gameplay in revolt I would describe as a cross between Magic the Gathering and Monopoly, only less tactical or fun. Using the abilities of a Cepter you must take part in card battles that require traveling around a board in order to get a target amount of mana before reaching a checkpoint/gate. My main gripes with this is not so much the execution of the battle system, but the fact that A) there is a system in place that recommends the best course of action for each turn to the point I never once failed, and even won rounds by doing nothing but following a what the little golden arrow told me to do and B) Its slow as hell. Now both of these can be offset by changing some options both to speed things up and to remove your trusty arrow, however even that does not add any challenge or excitement into the battles as you mindlessly travel around the board to pass go in order to acquire the majority of your mana.
To top this off, even against multiple opponents I found that that they hindered each other while helping me succeed more often than they caused any sort of problems for me - ultimately only making me wait longer for my turn to come round as I stroll mindlessly around the board with little to no resistance. While this is likely fine for younger audiences, most teen and up players will likely lose interest relatively quickly unless they have fond memories of the Saturn.
And the card battles? I here you cry. Sadly once more I found this aspect somewhat lacking (more so with the arrow of hope). In a battle of 50 turns and 3 opponents, 150 moves in all, I won with 9000 points and my foes a joint score of 5000 with a huge total of 15 monster skirmishes taking place. While I doubt that there is no audience for these types of battles, given the card battlers that we have now, sadly I cant say that Culdcept is even close to being on par in terms of excitement or challenge - given the choice 99% of the time chances are I am going with, well, anything else.
Visually I'm not 100% sure what happened. The 2D model of the main character reminded me of those from Final Fantasy Tactics, well done and fitting the world we find ourself in perfectly. This is the same for most other cast members I have met thus far. Then we have the character sprites that, for reasons I cant seem to understand, don't look as good as those of Culdcept 20 years ago on the Saturn - making dated a somewhat underwhelming term to use here. To add insult to injury on this one, Even the menus are overly bland and basic, mostly consisting of white screens with text and little to nothing more.
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