Tuesday, April 29, 2008

GTA4 bugs appear to be somewhat confirmed

As an update to the freezing and other bugs with GTA4, there definitely appears to be an issue.

Ruling out my Xbox 360 as the problem, both PS3 owners and Xbox 360 owners are experiencing some of the same problems with GTA4 as myself. PS3 owners appear to be having even more issues because of the HD copy process. Some PS3 owners have it working perfectly, while others haven't even been able to get it working at all. Some have lockups right after the first cut scene. So, this definitely appears to be a problem with GTA4. Rockstar needs to address this issue and fast. If not, this game will likely be a bust and will most definitely not become game of the year, let alone the best of the GTA series.

Considering that Xbox 360 has a way to push updates out, I can see Rockstar pushing updates to Xbox 360 owners. I have no idea if the Sony's online store has a way to do this for the PS3. PS3 owners may simply have to mail away for an updated game disc once Rockstar determines the problem.

It is readily apparent, Rockstar definitely needed to run GTA 4 through a much more exhaustive testing process.


Xbox 360 - Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV by Rockstar

I'm trying a different approach for the Grand Theft Auto IV review. I intend to review this game as I play it. Since games generally take quite some time to complete (especially GTA games), reviews can be incredibly old by the time someone actually completes the game. So, instead, I've decided to create this living review that I will continue to add more information to as I progress through the game. While this review may seem premature, rest assured it is not. I have played well enough GTA games to know their premise and how they work... so, this review is actually especially important for my initial impression of this game. An initial impression of a game is just as valid, if not more valid, than final impressions.

Grand Theft Auto III vs IV differences

The main thing to notice about the differences here is obviously the updated and higher resolution graphics. In addition to these updated graphics, the cars look a lot better. In fact, because it's higher resolution, the whole world is rendered much more realistically. That said, it still has a stylized appearance much like Grand Theft Auto III.

Bugs, bugs and MORE bugs (first 5 hours of play)

  • Spontaneously went into multiplayer mode without prompting (this happened in the first 5 minutes of play)
  • Total lockup trying on a hat in the clothing store. Required power off. Had to redo this mission.
  • Began the 'China store' mission and it went into 'LOADING...' forever. Had to power off the Xbox 360. Had to redo this mission.
  • Twice this happened. Tried to get into a car as a passenger using Y and the game refused to open the door. Then, after walking away from the car and back to it, I ended up jacking the car (did not end up a passenger).
  • Numerous times I've tried pressing Y while near a car to jack it, and it simply ignores the button press. Alternatively, numerous times tried pressing Y to exit the vehicle and no exit.
The problem with bugs, especially lost mission bugs, is that they interrupt your enjoyment of the game. In the worst cases, you lose your saved place and have to redo missions. So, games with selective save locations suffer badly when lockups occur when saves are few. Lost missions are enough to cause me to put the game down and focus on a more stable title. Game developers need to extensively work the bugs out of games for consoles. There is absolutely no excuse to release a title this large with this many bugs at release especially since the game was delayed twice or three times already.

Wanted Levels

The police wanted stars still exist in GTAIV. However, it's not always obvious which areas will lead to a wanted rating. So, you'll want to be careful when you wander into seemingly innocuous areas. For example, if you try to go over a bridge that's blocked by police, you'll get a full 4 or 5 star wanted level if you try to cross. So, 5 stars for trying to cross a blocked bridge? Give me a break.


Here's the crux of it. This game, while it has some decent stories (so far), is just too slow moving. So, you'll quickly find that it takes forever to get weapons and the other fun stuff. Worse, the game is buggy. And, by buggy, I mean very buggy. Buggy to the point that the game really needs to allow you to save anywhere, but you can't. I've started over from previous checkpoints at least 3 times so far and had to lose everything I had been doing up to that point. That included losing some cool jacked and stored vehicles. Rockstar definitely needed more development/debugging time with GTAIV.

Checkpoint saves

GTAIV saves your game at random intervals, usually after completion of a mission. However, you can also save your game at your safehouse at any time. But, you have to get back to the safehouse first. Good luck doing that before you hit a lock up bug. Unfortunately, the lockup bugs are far too plentiful to make this save location useful. If a game developer intends to release a buggy game, then they need to allow you to save your game at any point in the game. With selective save locations, like GTAIV, then developers need to be especially careful to work out all of the bugs before release. Otherwise, a buggy release with selective save points becomes a buggy frustrating mess that no one will want to play and will ultimately get bad reviews.

Random quests

While you can swim, there's nothing to swim for. You can walk around all day long and find nothing of interest. I've been driving around Liberty City and have found not one insane stunt ramp. I know some have to exist, but where are they? Also, because of the more realistic crashes, you can end up flying head first out of the windshield ending up in the hospital. So, the insane stunts may not really even be possible in GTAIV.

I'm sure as you progress through the missions, it will open up more and more of the game. But, why aren't there things to find around the city already? Literally, beyond the missions, there's NOTHING to do.. other than beat up total strangers, jack cars, swim, become wanted by the cops and ride the elevated train.

Cab missions

Where are they? I jacked a cab, but had no ability to do any cab missions. In all of the previous GTA games, you could always do cab missions to get extra cash. Granted, Roman works for a cab company, so I guess his missions count as Cab missions (some of them), but c'mon. Taking the cab missions out really makes it a lot less fun.

Love Interests

Thankfully, Rockstar decided to open up the character to the possibility of relationships. But, unless the relationship becomes interlinked in the missions, it will simply be one-off missions. Again, this is a living review and I will update this as I progress. So, as the story unfolds, the love interest combined with the missions may become clear.

Car Handling

While the cars look way better, the handling has gotten far worse. The controls are overly slow and cumbersome to respond to commands. The cars almost constantly back or run into something when you're trying to maneuver them from a parked position. So, on missions where you need to peel out and catch someone, you find you're being slowed by breaking windows or maneuvering the car into position even just to get moving. All of this kills precious time that you need to chase someone. This portion needs more work badly.

Controls / Controller issues

The controller is overall slow to respond. So, you press a button and the game as to "think" about it before it reacts. This makes working with the game tedious at best. Instead of just trying to work the game, you're concentrating on trying to get the game to respond to the controls. This is a bad move by Rockstar. Sluggish controls do not make an award winning game. In fact, this game is overall sluggish. It feels like you're in slow motion compared to other GTA games. Perhaps they added this slower pace to counteract the unrealistic speed in the previous GTA games. But, this sluggishness really detracts from the overall game and makes the game appear lackluster.


When you get into a fight, you use the RB button to lock onto your opponent. The issue is that the accuracy is horrid and the controls are extremely sluggish. So, you press the buttons to do the move, but the game takes up to a second to react.


I don't generally have need of harping on the camera in 3D games, but GTAIV is the exception. The issue with the camera is that it takes too low of a center. So, you can't see what you need to see. If you try to move the camera up, the game moves it back down and centers again. There's no way to move the camera to where you want it and leave it there (that I've found). This is a serious problem. If you're actually trying to see the car you're chasing, then you need to move the camera and leave it in that position. In other words, the auto centering camera needs to go.

The cinematic camera angles are practically useless. Yes, while they are cinematic in quality, they are overall confusing to actually use while playing the game (especially while driving a car). So, I can't imagine anyone actually trying to use these randomly changing camera angles and actually play the game, unless you want a real challenge.

Note to developers. A camera is there to let you SEE the environment. It's not there to be used as a challenge point.

GPS Navigation

This is a MUCH needed addition to this franchise. You could spend tons of time trying to get from place to place, but with the GPS, it leads you there easily and reroutes you when you end up on the wrong road. Even still, having the GPS nav doesn't make up for the sluggish controls and buggy game.


The sound is no better or worse than other recent GTA titles. You still have the radio in the vehicles (which is mostly annoying at best) and also the chatter of the people on the street. This time, they have cell phones and they're constantly ringing. Worse, you can hear them ring when you're in the car (seemingly with the windows up). I just don't get that. You normally don't hear a thing from the outside in most new cars when the windows are up.


So far, I'm only moderately impressed by this game. While the graphics and sound excel, the controls and game storyline are overly sluggish. Worse, there's nothing to do or find when you just want to wander around. Also, with this is the level of debugging from Rockstar, then let's hope this is the last game in this series. Enduring these serious bugs to play the games is unacceptable and I simply won't do it again.

Let's hope Rockstar can push out some updates rapidly for this game through Xbox Live. It desperately needs an update to fix these major issues.

  • Sound: 8/10
  • Graphics: 9/10
  • Gameplay 5/10
  • Buggyness: 2/10 (too buggy too early into the game)
  • Bang-To-Buck 6/10
  • Replay Value: $5
  • Overall: 7.5/10

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Xbox 360 - Viking: Battle for Asgard Review

Viking: Battle for Asgard by Sega

Viking is, simply, a third person shooter (minus the guns, add blades/swords). The idea is that enemy 'Legion' have taken over Asgard by Hel. Freya commands your character to battle to win back Asgard.


For a third person shooter, the gameplay is okay, but not great, until you get to the final battle. Then it sucks royally. Basically, on the lesser levels your character, Skarin, has to free troops that have been captured by the legion and add them to your number to win several smaller 'castle' battles. There are three islands and each island has 'boss castle' levels that you must complete before you can reach Hel. The smaller battles, unfortunately, are nothing like Hel's battle at the end.

With the smaller battles, the rules are to take out the 'shaman' who spawn more soldiers. Once you take out the shaman, the legion can't add more forces. So, they eventually concede once you call your shaman to the pillars. Then, your shaman calls an end to the battle.

The rules are simple. There are 5 swords (or something) stuck into the ground around each shaman. First, eliminate the swords, then that allows you to eliminate the shaman. Of course, there are tons of legion soldiers trying to hammer on you as you do this.

Eliminating the shaman (usually three per castle and then maybe another two or three in a bit farther) isn't the easiest task, but it's easier than Hel's battle. Once you eliminate a shaman, you receive a dragon rune. These runes can be used to call the dragons to hit strategic targets (such as the shaman). The problem is, you only get 3 total runes per level and it uses 2 runes to eliminate a shaman.

Player movement

Skarin is slow. And by slow, I mean S L O W. You can't outrun anything. All of the legion soldiers are faster than you. Worse, there's no way to get speed potions or anything to aid in this aspect.

Skarin also has combos. The combos work great in open spaces. Unfortunately, they don't work well in small confined spaces (especially where there are ledges or fire). If your combo happens to lead you off of a cliff ledge or into fire, the AI isn't smart enough to stop you. It just lets Skarin fall or catch on fire. This is extremely annoying. Worse, Skarin must complete the entire combo move before you have control of him again. There's no way to abort a combo once it has started.

Skarin also has no way to target any specific enemy. If you happen to be pointing in the general direction and it's the only enemy there, you'll hit them. If there are three or four enemies in the path, then it randomly picks a target. This is ok, when the enemy is legion, but it completely sucks when you're trying to eliminate one of the shaman swords because the game ALWAYS locks onto a legion soldier over a sword. This can lead to lots of Skarin death/restarts.

Skarin's Deaths

Once Skarin dies, you are taken back to the beginning of a checkpoint somewhere. The problem is, the system doesn't alert you to where the checkpoints are. So, you have no idea where you'll end up when Skarin dies. Sometimes it's only a few steps from where you were. However, most times, you have to traipse over half the level before you get back to where you where. It's just very random and extremely annoying.

Alternatively, when you quit and then start up again, you start up in your 'home city' rather than at the last thing you were doing.

System Map

While there is a map, this map is almost completely useless. The map doesn't show any topography that makes sense. So, when you look at the map, you can't make heads of tails of what's high and what's low. The only point to the map is when you use Leystones to do quick travel. Effectively, there are also two maps (but the underlying map itself is the same). When you press the back button, you get to a map that lets you find out what tasks need to be done. When you reach a leystone and activate it, you get the same map with more limited information (i.e., only other leystone destinations).

I don't fully understand this concept. If you have a map, use the same map for both of these purposes (i.e., show all destinations on both maps). I find myself getting out of the leystone map just to find out where the closest leystone to my next destination. Then, go back into the leystone map just to travel. This is completely inefficient and time wasting.

Couple this with the huge medallions that cover over crucial parts of the map at inopportune times, and it's easy to get lost.

Hel's Final Battle

The final battle is, to say the least, annoying and almost impossible to beat. Just like the shaman, you have to eliminate the swords in the ground. The difference is, tons of legion troops are appearing constantly and hammering on you. On top of that, Hel has set up firewalls between each of the 5 swords in the ground (sort of like a pie). So, even after you eliminate a sword, you still have to hang around in the firewalled section until one of the walls drops (which can take minutes). So, instead of the walls being linked to the elimination of the sword, it's linked to some kind of random timer. Thus, you stand around fighting and losing health in the firewalled section for minutes waiting for one of the walls to drop. The walls go up and down sporadically without any kind of regularity.

Worse, the enemy legion can walk through the fire. Although, it does damage to them, they can walk through it. If Skarin (your character) gets close to the fire, it does damage and blocks your path (can you say unfair?). If Skarin could walk through the fire and take the damage, it would at least let you get through the level easier. Because the firewalls have no regularity, you can't even time when to go into the next area. Sometimes the walls go down for only a second or two. Other times, they go down for 10-15 seconds.

So, all the while you're patiently waiting for the walls to drop to move to the next area, you're getting hammered on by the legion. And they continually take more and more and more health away without any way to restore health. The sole purpose of them is to hammer down on your health as much as possible. So, while the 'castle boss' levels were hard, they were not impossible. Unfortunately, there is no trick to the final Hel level to conserve your health. They just hammer and hammer and hammer. Their AI also appears to be adaptive. So, if you choose a new tactic (like using the blocking move), they also use a new tactic to hammer you down and they never stop.

There was even a point where I had destroyed all 5 of the swords, but the game didn't progress to the next segment with Hel. So, it's also obviously very buggy. There is NOTHING more frustrating than playing through an entire game and when you do the things you're supposed to do on the final boss level, it doesn't work.


I don't often discuss the camera in 3D games because most times they work well. In the case of the final battle, the camera is all over the place. This makes the ending level far harder than it should be. Sometimes the camera ducks through the walls and you can't see what you're doing. So, you have to spend time moving Skarin around just to see what you're doing (and, at the same time, getting sucked down on health). Other times, the camera is not pointing where it should be. Sega needs to work out a better arrangement for the camera. Like, for example, making objects transparent when the camera goes behind it and blocks the view.


The one thing I have to commend Sega on is the choice in music soundtrack. While it's symphonic, it does work to set the mood properly and the scores are quite well done. It definitely sets the mood properly. It's too bad the game itself wasn't regal enough to live up to the soundtrack.


This game tries to be a mini-RPG, but fails miserably. It ultimately ends up as a mediocre third person shooter. The fighting controls are cumbersome to use overall, the controls are slow to react and often react to the wrong thing or in the wrong direction. Coupling this with the buggy behavior at the end, I can't recommend the purchase of this game. I really wanted to see a better game from Sega than Viking, but unfortunately it isn't to be. Save your money and buy Oblivion or Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas which are all better than Viking. While Oblivion may be buggy in some places, it doesn't seem to bug out at critical moments.


  • Gameplay: 5/10
  • Soundtrack: 9/10
  • Bang for the Buck: 3/10
  • Replay: 1/10 (not worth a replay)
  • Overall: 4.0/10 (skip it unless you're really bored)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Xbox 360 - Assassin's Creed Game Review

Assassin's Creed by Ubisoft

At first impression, you might think Assassin's Creed isn't a game that you'd really want to play. In fact, I didn't buy this game immediately when it was released. I only later bought it on a whim. Occasionally, you find sleeper hits and this is definitely a sleeper.

When I began playing the game, it was obvious that Ubisoft had a winner in this game. A winner not so much in the gameplay (we'll get to that), but the overall storyline. The mixing of old world and high tech works quite well to bring the story across and compel you to play the game just to see how it unfolds. For the same reason that the Half Life story was so compelling, Assassin's Creed is even more compelling. In Assassin's Creed, you play two characters at the same time. In the present, you play Desmond Miles. Desmond has been captured and held prisoner by the biotech company Abstergo in hopes of using a mind viewing device to view genetic memories and determine the location of a device from the past.

The genetic memory amplifier allows both you and the room participants to watch. It also pulls memories from past ancestors and lets you relive their lives through the amplifier. The only problem is that you must become an Assassin in order to fully integrate into the memories.

In the past, you play as Altair who is an Assassin who follows the assassin's creed. Unfortunately, Altair has fallen from grace and must regain his assassin's privileges. That's where the player comes in. You must help Altair regain his honor, privileges and equipment.


The game starts in the lab, but very quickly gets you into the amplifier and begins reconstructing the genetic memories. Each level unlocks a specific set of genetic memories getting you closer to unlocking the target memory.

For most of the game, you'll spend playing as Altair in the past doing assassin missions. This portion of the game is the meat of the game. You can exit out of the past at any time and get back to the present. But, you'll quickly find out there's very little to do in the present. So, in order to progress, you need to complete the past missions.

Playing as Altair


There are basically four types of mini main missions for each level: Eavesdropping, Pickpocketing, Intimidation and timed assassinations or sometimes flag recovery. These 'mini' missions unlock the final boss assassination mission. You must complete a certain number of mini missions before you can do the final boss mission on each level. There are additional unrelated missions in the cities as well such as rescuing citizens, climbing towers to open up your map (views), capturing city flags and assassination of Templar Knights.


The Cities are divided into usually three or four areas. As you complete the game, these sections open up on later missions. So, you might have to visit the same city several times, but in a different section for different missions.


For the first portions of the game, you'll need to get a horse and ride to each of the cities. Once you have visited each of the cities once, you can 'fast travel' to cities and avoid traveling by horse (unless you really want to). Note that there are really no main missions on the roads when traveling between the cities. There are, however, side unrelated missions (flags, climbing towers and templar knights).

Playing as Desmond

When you're in the lab and not on the table, you can wander around and do a small amount of detective work. As you progress through the game, you'll want to talk to Lucy as much as you can. She reveals a lot of information about Desmond, about the company and about what's really going on. But, even as much information as you can gather, it only gives you background information. It is not intrinsic to finishing the game, which is unfortunate. But, if you want to get all of the challenge points on the Xbox 360, then you'll need to do everything in the lab.


Assassin's Creed is another game with stunning 3D visuals. Altair's wardrobe (and that of the other assassins) is top knotch graphic design. The robes flow pretty well, but can be a bit stiff at times. However, there is simulated wind against the fabric which is quite convincing. The most realistic is Altair's climbing abilities. This is where this game excels. The amount of time they put into Altair's jumping and climbing is amazing. When he climbs a tower, it looks like you would expect someone to climb. Obviously, Altair is quite adept at climbing and can obviously do so without slipping or falling no matter what he's climbing.


The audio effects and soundtrack work quite well to move and pace the scenes. There are few cut scenes, but there are some in the games (specifically at the beginning of each level). You can't skip them, so if you're playing through a second time, you have to wait them out.


Assassin's Creed is a bit repetitive. After you have done a few of the four types of missions (listed above), it's pretty well been done. What you do doesn't change, you just do more and more of it. The only refreshing change is the timed assassin missions or flag capturing missions. These are really the only challenge missions in the game. They do change, but again get repetitive. Even above the repetitive nature of the game, the story is still compelling.

The present day lab feels a bit like Half Life. I wish that there had been more to do in present day. In fact, the story would have been even more compelling had there been an equal number of things to do between the past and present to move the story along. But, that didn't happen.

According to a website that I found, there will be three games in total (a trilogy of games). But, I've also read that there were to be a trilogy of books, but were canceled because of some issues to do with some of the material they based the game on. I'm concerned that this may limit, change or even cancel the final two games in this series. It is clear that the end of Assassin's Creed is a cliffhanger. It's also clear that there are planned to be more games. let's just hope they happen.

Ubisoft set up an incredibly detailed and well thought out world. The problem is, they didn't put that much thought into the missions within this world. The missions are too structured, rigid and limited. So, they end up repetitive and banal after a while. If Ubisoft wanted to take this to the next step, this could easily turn into an RPG.


  • Graphics: 9/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Gameplay: 6.7/10 (a bit too repetitive)
  • Bang-for-the-buck: 8.5/10
  • Replay Value: 2/10 (not enough to do after game is finished & too short)
  • Overall: 7.5/10 (again, due to its repetitive nature)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

PS3 - Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune by Sony

Drake's Fortune for the PS3 is a mostly Third Person Shooter. However, it does share a little in common with games like Tomb Raider. However, Drake's Fortune ended up a tad on the short side, but the story line and questing were very good, but not perfect.


The PS3 can deliver quite stunning graphics. It's unfortunate, though, that even though this game is visually appealing, it just wasn't quite up to the same standards as a game like Mass Effect.

However, even though the graphics weren't as stunning as Mass Effect or Halo 3, the game still plays well.

Controls and Gameplay

This game mixes gameplay styles. In some levels you're questing in a free roaming fashion. In others, the camera angle is fixed and still others, there's the button sequence style. I'm not a fan of timed button sequence play, but this style of gaming is limited to only a few levels in Drake's Fortune. So, I can overlook this style of play.


The soundtrack worked well to move the game forward and keep the action steady. The game felt more like an extended movie than a game.

Cinematic gaming

I believe this is where game developers need to head. This allows for a more cinematic experience with a good storyline. However, this doesn't mean interlacing every other scene with a cinematic. Limit cinematics to level opens or not at all. A game is supposed to be a game, not a movie even if it plays through like a movie. In this way, Drake's Fortune really set it up as a cinematic type game, but easily keeps the gaming aspects fun and exciting. So, you aren't sitting and twiddling your thumbs waiting for a cinematic to finish.


I enjoyed the playthrough on this game. It's not a perfect game, but the little subtle touches they added to the Nathan Drake character gave the characters much more realism than most games. For example, then the characters get wet, they actually appear wet. Then, they dry slowly over time. When the characters stand still, they don't stand like statues. They are given slight realistic motions to simulate a human. When turning or jumping, the characters act in realistic ways.

So, the story and the game system combine to produce a realistic system of play. I could have done without the timed button sequence portions, but I still enjoyed the play through. However, I played this game through in about 3-4 days. Very short by most questing standards. Consider that I played Oblivion for over 3 months.


  • Gameplay: 8/10
  • Audio: 9/10
  • Graphics: 8.5/10
  • Story: 7/10
  • Replay Value: 2/10 (too short / nothing new to do after you play once)
  • Bang for the Buck: 6/10
  • Overall: 7/10

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wii -- Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles by Capcom

Several years ago, I played Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube. I really enjoyed this first person shooter. The controls worked well, the environments looked great and everything just worked well together. So, when Umbrella Chronicles was first announced, I was excited. When it was released, I was hoping and expecting a similar experience to Resident Evil 4. Unfortunately, it is not here.


The graphics are fluid and work, but....


Umbrella Chronicles goes back to the old style Resident Evil gameplay which I really dislike. It uses fixed camera angles and stilted moves to get through the levels. So, instead of exploring the game, you end up fighting with the controls and your character ends up dying many times just to find the exact sequence to get through each level. Overall, I don't like sequence levels where your character dies over and over just to find the proper button sequence. If I had wanted to play Simon, I would have bought Simon.


This game was a disappointment. This really is more of an arcade style game designed to waste lots of quarters and time. It isn't a first person shooter. So, don't expect anything like it. I've heard that Resident Evil 5 may be more like 4. So, if you're wanting a first person shooter like RE4, wait until 5 and skip the Umbrella Chronicles.


  • Graphics: 8/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Story: 5/10
  • Gameplay: 4/10
  • Replay Value: 1/10
  • Bang-To-Buck: 2/10
  • Overall: 4/10

Xbox 360 & PS3 - The Darkness

The Darkness by 2K games

The Darkness is one of those games that seems like it should be a taboo subject. In reality, if you can ignore the semi-demonic aspects of the main character and what you have to do, the story is really pretty decent. However, this is a first person shooter through-and-through.


The graphics in this game were always fluid and functional (unlike Mass Effect). The Darkness gives you everything you want to see in a first person shooter. You have a first person view, you have special powers, you can pick up weapons from just about everywhere. So, there's no lack of weapons in this game.


The sound quality of this game, while not a masterpiece, certainly fits the mood properly. The key story moments offer more compelling soundtrack themes while the background music is kept to a minimum. This leads to a good balance of music to gameplay. The music also works quite well to enhance the gameplay.

Story Line

The Darkness is effectively about an orphaned kid who was taken in by a fictitious mafioso-type family. Then, this family turns on him later and effectively wants him (your character) dead. In that light, we come to find out that this character also has the power of 'The Darkness' (when he turned 18) which is a demonic creature that gives certain powers to the inhabitant. These powers give you the ability to kill much more efficiently than with a gun alone. As you progress through the game, these Darkness powers grow and expand giving much more powerful Darkness powers.

The way the game unravels is well done. The romantic encounter is a bit stilted because there was little setup. But, it kind of worked in an awkward kind of way.


Overall, the character is easy to control and the darkness powers are easy to switch between. The hardest part of this game was knowing when you can and can't use the darkness powers. For example, if you're standing directly under a bright street lamp, you can't use them for long. By the same token, you can either shoot out the lamp or use a darkness power to break it. Once it's dark enough, your darkness powers regenerate and can be used. Also, so long as it remains dark, you can regenerate the powers continually.

The guns in the game are reasonably decent. Mostly small handgun varieties and a few semi-automatic and automatic weapons. They're reasonably efficient to use. But, the real benefit is in the darkness powers. This is really what the game wants you to use.


The Darkness is kind of like Grand Theft Auto (review coming soon) in that you get assigned quests by specific individuals you meet. So, you have to roam the game in order to find these people in order to complete their quests. Some of the quests are intrinsic to moving the story forward and others are side quests that you do just to get extras. The game doesn't force you to move in a linear progression specifically. If you choose to wander around and do all side quests, you can leave your main quest activity hanging until you're done. So, in this way, it is kind of like an RPG style questing system.


This game does offer an Xbox Live multiplayer component. So, if you're looking to get all Challenge Points, you will have to play the multiplayer portions. Note, though, that you are required to basically set up your own server in order to host games. Most times, people aren't hosting games on Xbox Live, so you're likely the one who will have to host them.


The game was lengthy enough to be well worth the money. The Darkness powers work well to get you through the game. The 3D performance is stellar when compared to some other recent games. The 3D detail is reasonably decent, but not nearly as detailed as some more recent games.

Overall, I'd recommend this game if you like this type of genre. If you're not into the demonic aspects and the killing of the game, then you might want to skip it. Note, the replay value of this game is low because if you've done nearly everything, then going through it a second time less than thrilling as there's not much else to do (other than look for more bonus things).


  • Graphics: 8/10
  • Sound: 9/10
  • Gameplay: 8/10
  • Story: 9.5/10
  • Overall: 8.5/10
  • Replay Value: 4/10