Forzatography 2




Couple more pics from Forza 4

   – ’92 Honda NSX-R.  I need to do some more painting on it still

 – Honda Integra Type-R

 – Ford GT40 pounding around the Indy Motor Speedway at sunrise

 – Honda S2000



Hey there true believers!  I’m back with another video game, this time it’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.  I’ve had a sort of love-hate relationship with this game since before it came out.  Not because I’m some super Spidey fanboy or anything, but back when I played the demo at San Diego Comic-Con last year, I just wasn’t feeling the game at all.  Fast forward to it’s release and Best Buy had a full copy available to play in their demo area.  After playing a level there I really enjoyed myself and became interested in getting the full game eventually.  It turns out that the full game was pretty much exactly in between my two prior thoughts on it.

In Dimensions you play as four different Spider-Men (Amazing, Ultimate, Noir, and 2099).  Each version has unique abilities and gameplay elements to make each set of levels unique.  Problem is that the Noir universe is the only one that’s truly different, the others all tend to play out the exact same way.  His universe plays out similarly to a less polished version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.  The enemies tend to have guns that can kill you very quickly, so you’ll need to stay to the shadows and perform takedowns without alerting the others in the area.  They’re definitely the stand out sections of the game.  Spidey 2099 features some freefall sections where you generally have to avoid hitting objects while falling down an area very fast.  He also has an Accelerated Vision he can activate that mainly helps you dodge missiles, but doesn’t really seem to slow the bad guys down too much.  The Ultimate Spider-Man can activate rage mode and take out waves of enemies much easier.  Leaving the original blue and red Amazing Spider-Man with no unique abilities.  Each world does have a unique look to them, Amazing is very cell-shaded, 2099 is obviously futuristic, and Noir is black and white with some sepia tones when you’re out of the shadows.

The levels are big and take about 45 minutes to complete, but you don’t do much more than fight off swarms of enemies then fight the boss until they run away, then fight more enemies, then the boss again, end level.  They all don’t play out exactly like that, but that’s how you feel.  There is a selection of different enemy types that each require a slightly different strategy and you can be surrounded by two or three different types at the same time forcing you to try and attack them individually.  As you progress you can unlock more combos or attacks and increase your health or some of the alternate Spidey’s special abilities.  This ability to open up new moves helps in the later parts of the game, not just to make it easier defeating guys, but to give you variety in how you fight.  Since there’s four different universes involved you’ll fight many of the web crawler’s most popular rogues.  Though some are from alternate universes, so they have a different look and feel to them.  Occasionally, in the boss fights, you’ll enter a first person view where you use the analog sticks to punch and dodge attacks.  These really just boil down to pushing the sticks in all directions until the evade prompt comes on screen and are more of a novelty than a great addition.  Luckily there’s only a few of those segments though sprinkled throughout the game.

Bottom line is that Shattered Dimensions has some fun elements to it, it also has a lot of flaws and parts that drag on.  I enjoyed my time with the game.  Something to rent, but no real reason to force yourself through to the end, what it offers in the beginning is what it offers in the end.

I played the PS3 version on normal difficulty.

Mafia II – Made!

I just finished playing through Mafia II on PC.  I had been interested in this game for a while, but never got around to playing it until it was on sale from Direct2Drive.  A friend gifted it to me since it had been a Steam sale the week before and he picked it up and was enjoying it and I had missed out on it.

The game is a lot of fun.  You play as Vito Scaletta a World War II veteran who gets into the life by way of his lifelong friend Joe Barbaro.  The game’s story takes place over a seven year period in which we see Vito go through the ups and downs of the mob lifestyle.  That’s what makes it work to me.  It does a good job of being an interesting mafia movie.  I don’t want to give away any of the story, but I came to like Vito and even feel for him a little.

The game is a sandbox game, but without as much emphasis on the open world stuff as a Grand Theft Auto.  Sure there are side missions, but they aren’t really brought up again after you’re introduced to them.  The main story waypoint is always mapped out for you, so when looking at your mini map while driving around it’s always directing you to the story elements and none of the side stuff.  That’s okay though since I can only recall two different side jobs you could partake in anyways.  The thing about that though is it makes it easy to have blinders on and just focus on the main game.  It’s easy to not really explore the city of Empire Bay, but the game takes you pretty much everywhere through the course of the story.  The shooting works well and it’s cool to see bits and pieces of cover chipped away as it’s shot at with machine guns.

Mafia II took me about thirteen hours to complete and was enjoyable the whole way through.  I definitely recommend this.  Now I just need to get a copy of the soundtrack and I’ll be set.