Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Review #2: Mortal Kombat (2011)

Hello all! It is I, Retro again and this is my second review on this blog. I have thought about my last review of Sonic The Hedgehog, and thought that maybe it needs some improvements, for instance, perhaps I should change the rating system by concisely elaborating and rating key aspects in the game. Anyway, today I am reviewing Mortal Kombat, the 2011 reboot that is, which is also known as MK9 unofficially. Now, you may be pondering my choice of this game in the series. After all, this is the series' latest entry, why would I review it first? Well, first of all I wanted to review a game that I could include some criticism to, as this could show everyone both sides of the spectrum, you know? I chose this specific game in the series because I played it much more extensively than the classics, which honestly I don't think I have much ground to cover right now. Also, this review will perhaps project my opinion on the series as a whole. I'm honestly not the biggest fan of the MK series, and I have some reasons to this but I don't dislike it anyway.
But I digress, it's time to talk about the game. Now, MK9 is a reboot to the series. It starts with the conclusion of the previous game, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, in which Raiden sends a message to his past self, warning him of the disturbing conclusion. The game's story is specifically a retelling of the first three games in the series. The Story mode was interesting in the gameplay respect I think - in each chapter you play as one character for two fights I believe; however, I must say that while interesting, this order is to my dislike - I'd much prefer the chapters be spontaneous, and I think some characters should not have had their own chapter, but that's just my view. Onto the actual Story, as mentioned it is a retelling of the first three installments. Simply put, the Warlord (I think he is a warlord?) Shao Kahn of Outworld (this dude is the main antagonist if you didn't know) wants to become ruler of The EarthRealm, but the Elder Gods have ordered that Khan cannot take over unless he beats the EarthRealm in Mortal Kombat for 10 times in a row. Simply put, the warrior of EarthRealm, and Raiden, a Thunder God, must stop the tyrant. I honestly don't care much for the story, I mean it is ok, maybe a bit ridiculous but still. The plot (the events linking the story events, don't get the plot and story mixed up) is good though. The Gameplay itself is just like the classic Mortal Kombat games, for it returns to it's 2D roots. This I appreciate as I think the games work better in 2D, but I prefer 3D fighters overall I must include. MK9 has decent controls in all honesty. The characters control very fine, nothing flawed, and thus means nothing else to say about it. Playing the game is quite fun. This has to be said - if you enjoy fighters, I assure you that you will have some degree of fun playing this game. The online multiplayer expands upon this, as I can say that I spent multiple hours playing either online with friends for casual fun or with strangers for a competitive experience. Fatalities return and are bette than ever, each character has two cases of HD gory-ness that will put your enemies to shame! Despite this, there are aspects of the gameplay that I highly criticise; the game is far too simple for a fighter. What I mean by this is in comparison to other fighting games such as Street Fighter and Soul Calibur (both of which require a lot more strategy), the gameplay is very easy, simplistic and, frankly, quite unfulfilled. The simplicity is due to for one the lack of combos - the game has about 9 combos per character on average, 3 of which will be the short combos such as Y,Y,Y. This is a ridiculously small amount, and keeps the gameplay limited - games like Tekken and Dead or Alive have a large quantity of combos, which adds more training, memorisation and deviation to the games. The combos themselves are lacking - the most complicated ones are very short and so shows a lack of innovation in development. It's not all about the combos though. Strategy in gameplay is also important. Street Fighter is a game that doesn't have that many combos in command list, but the game is more dependant on good strategy and creation of your own combination of moves. MK9 lacks this, and so the game is even easier and this means that it is very button-masher friendly. These points make the game need little skill to play. I'll give you an example of an even that occurred. One of my friends, who has been playing for years, was beaten in a newcomer's (my other friends) first match online, for the newcomer just button mashed or 'spammed' if you will. This is present online too, I remember seeing a guy with a 20 win streak, just by using Jax's 'Falcon Punch-esque' move.
But let's move on from the gameplay. The game has 27 playable 'kombatants' (28 on PS3, along with 4 DLC characters). I prefer large rosters, but this roster is actually quite good, as the characters are all different too some degree and there isn't really any 'clones' like in Super Smash Bros. The graphics are really good as expected. As mentioned above, the game is 2D, but I must extend this point by saying that it is 2D in a 3D environment. The visuals are great, not much else to say about it though. Music? Meh, nothing special, it's not like Super Mario where tunes get stuck in your head for days. The music is forgettable, but isn't important in this genre. Now I think it's time to FINISH HIM, and by him I mean this review (I apologise to everyone for this por joke :D). I have said everything that must be brought up I think. The overall gameplay is fun to play both offline and online but is far too easy and simple for a fighting game, bordering un-innovation I think. MK9 has a decent but pretty far-fetched story, and the story mode is good but could be improved upon in the respect of characters and ordering. The aesthetics are good in visuals but forgettable in music. With a nice roster that works quite well, Mortal Kombat is a fun experience for any MK and fighter fan, despite it's quirks and bumps.
Verdict: - 'The Fun Factor' - 9.1 - Gameplay - 7.5 - Story - 7.2 - Graphics - 8.3 - Character Roster - 8.5 This gives an average score of 8.1 - a decent score overall. That concludes this review, I hope you have enjoyed it and I hope you enjoy my new method of scoring and general reviewing. Thanks for reading :D

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Review #1: Sonic The Hedgehog (1991)

Hello all. Retro here, and I thought that this is a good time to start this blog by posting my first actual review. Now I had a few ideas on what my first review could be on, and I thought, what better way to start than reviewing the first game of my favourite series? That series is, as you can see in the title, Sonic The Hedgehog! Since Sonic The Hedgehog is my favourite series, you can probably expect that I will review quite an amount of games in the series eventually, but for now, let me just have a look at this classic. The original Sonic The Hedgehog was released for the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive if you prefer) in 1991 as Sega's attempt at creating a mascot to rival Nintendo's
Mario, and for a time, he certainly gave Mario a run for his money. This game introduces us to Sonic The Hedgehog, an anthropomorphic Hedgehog known for his speed and attitude. We are also introduced to Dr. Robotnik - the game's antagonist and the main villain we shall see throughout the series. The plot is very simple, as expected since it is an old platform er (so no HD cut scenes, duh) - Dr. Robotnik has captured all the animals on South Island and has turned them into evil robots, known as 'badniks'. He also is trying to take the Chaos Emeralds (however this isn't a large plot point as it is in later games). Because of this, Sonic wants to stop him and save his friends.
Now let's move on to the gameplay. As you may know, we control the aforementioned hedgehog in a series of levels. Sonic must move through the level from the left side of the screen to the right, defeating many of the badness in the process. The game commonly consists of Sonic using his high-speed throughout to emphasise his speed of course, this indeed is part of the fun as there is nothing as exhilarating in these games as running so fast that you start going off the screen. The zones in the game are covered with 'rings'. These rings are collected and used by Sonic as his health system; if Sonic gets rings, he will get health, well, in a way. If Sonic is hit with rings, he will lose them all. If hit again, Sonic will lose a life, and you will have to restart from the last checkpoint. This premise has been present throughout the series. Sonic can also obviously jump, which is the traditional way of defeating enemies (jumping on their heads, just like in Super Mario Bros.). The other way of destroying Robotnik's badniks is by holding down while running to make Sonic curl into a ball, and so crashing into the badniks and defeating them. This spinning motion can also be utilised to manipulate physics; you can use it when running down a hill to go even faster down, among other physical uses. There are certain power-ups that the player can attain in the game - you can destroy certain boxes to get these power-ups. The respective power-ups are Invincibility (obviously gaining you limited immunity to badness and spikes, but you're still vulnerable to being crushed and falling down pits), Power Shield, which gives you protection from a hit, Hi-Speed Shoes that make Sonic run even faster and finally a box that grants us 10 rings, simple. Overall, the gameplay is simple but very fun, the physics is fantastic and so the game is very fun. The game consists of 6 zones (or levels); each zone is structured with 3 acts each, with the final act having a boss fight against Robotnik at the end. The zones in this games are Green Hill Zone (Classic), Marble Zone, Spring Yard Zone, Labyrinth Zone, Star Light Zone, and Scrap Brain Zone. There is technically a seventh zone, Final Zone, but this is just a boss fight and is commonly considered the boss of Scrap Brain. The zones themselves have great level design and there isn't anything overused or clinically unfair elements present in the levels. The zones also make great use of the fantastic physics and amplifies it greatly. Another stage we see in the game is the 'Special Stage' - here, we control Sonic in a strange place where he constantly spins in a surreal setting; you must navigate Sonic to the Chaos Emerald at the end. There are 6 of these emeralds in the game, and you can get them by getting 50 rings and jumping into the giant ring at the end of a zone, but I should add that the emeralds don't have as much use as they do in later titles, and really are only used for the slightly-greater ending. Sonic The Hedgehog also has an astonishingly catchy soundtrack, with some tracks that stick in my head for hours on end. Classic examples are the music to Green Hill Zone, Spring Yard Zone, Star Light Zone, The Boss Theme, and of course, the main theme. Graphically, the game certainly shows off the Genesis' engine I think, with very crisp 16-bit sprites and colourful settings; the game's graphics are great for their time. Despite all this praise, there are some cons to this game: for instance, the game is rather short as it could easily be beaten in just a few hours, however, this could be excused as it is an old game with limited memory. Another thing that must be noted is the boss fights - the boss fights are very unimpressive and ridiculously easy in this game;
all of them are just fights against Robotnik with a small modification to his 'Egg Mobile', such as a slow-moving wrecking ball. The only decent boss is the final one, which is a little hard the first few times. I should also point out that gaining momentum is hard in the game - speed is earned, and so you will commonly find yourself back-tracking to gain speed, but this isn't a big problem I must admit. I also dislike the lack of any good use of the Chaos Emeralds - sure, it is an early game but come on. And so to conclude, Sonic The Hedgehog is a fantastic platformer that I can guarantee you will enjoy playing. The game is very simple and thus very fun, this is one thing that later Sonic games lack as Sonic Team have begun focusing on silly, complicated gimmicks rather than the fast, fun of the Genesis titles. The game is limited for being an old 16-bit title, but who cares, it's fun anyway :p For all of you who have not played this gem, yes, all two of you, please do so as you are missing out. Overall, I rate this game a solid 9/10. Please, watch out for more future reviews, see you all later :)

Monday, 18 November 2013


Hello! Welcome to my review blog. I'm Retro and some of you may know me from various forums. This is just an introduction to this blog, please, do read!

I have created this blog to express my opinions about various video games, both old and new. Now, I plan on reviewing quite a lot of games, so I hope people stick around. I will try to review mainly games I consider good and be as positive as possible, as reviewing bad games may not be as enjoyable.
Of course, be my guest and comment your opinion in my reviews, but please, if we don't share the same opinion then don't flame me for it, everyone is different after all!

I try to review a large range of different genres to appeal to all people. Again, I'd prefer to review games that I like or find interesting, however, if anyone has any suggestions then go ahead and tell me and I really will consider reviewing whatever game you wish.

I hope you all enjoy this blog, I will post maybe 1 or 2 reviews a week, so please stick around. Thanks!