March 2003

[floatleft][/floatleft]I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of Tenchu (which from this point will be referred to as the “Chu”). When March hit and the flood of anticipated games began pouring in; ‘Chu was at the top of my list to pick up. Having played the previous two versions of the game, I really wanted to see how the game would transfer to the next-gen consoles and the new opportunities that technology may have opened up for this sneaker.

I apologize in advance if I repeatedly compare this game to the previous games in the series; you will find out why here if you keep reading. The graphics in this game are on par with any PS2 game. What I mean by that is the character models and scenery are modeled nicely; however the textures on just about everything look terrible. The game takes place at night so the darkness covers up the textures nicely. A great deal of clipping occurs in the game. As you sneak near walls your arm will go through it and when you perform your stealth kills you will often thrust your entire forearm into a person. I am a huge stickler for presentation and ‘Chu does deliver overall, however with the technology that the developers are allowed to toy with; you would think that these issues would be solved or at least not happen as much as they do in this game.

Here we go with the comparisons. The sound in ‘Chu is taken EXACTLY from the original game. The soundtrack sounds almost exactly like Tenchu Stealth Assassins. I didn’t really notice at first, but even when you meet the first boss he breaks out with “Looks like you picked the wrong party to crash” right before you kick his ass. I shook my head in disbelief at this. The developers could have done it because they wanted to touch on some nostalgia from the original Tenchu, but when the whole fucking game mimics Tenchu 1, then it gets fucking lazy…dammit.

[floatright][/floatright]Control for the new ‘Chu was really the only aspect of the game that improved. As far as the fighting control you are now able to lock onto an enemy and circle him. In this mode you can block, attack, as well as dodge his attacks with a well placed sidestep. You will need this mode for the bosses. For some reason your character always walks up to the boss of a level and fights him head on, as opposed to killing him stealth-like as he did with the guards…I guess ninjas like challenges?

The best overall control aspect was the changes with the camera. If you leave the camera at default with out screwing with it you will become frustrated with the camera demons that do appear. There are a few annoying situations when it comes to the camera. For instance, when you come to a ledge the camera will default to a down angle to let you look what’s under the ledge. This can be a problem when you need to make a gap jump or want to scout an area via rooftop. Another issue is with cornering. Do not get cornered into a wall or the camera will freak when it tries to get behind you and has no room.

The challenge in Tenchu has always been tough. This remains true as the levels themselves are set up to make you really scout. Each level has three different layouts to master, each of course, getting progressively harder with more enemies in more strategic positions. That may be the only hard thing in the game; the bosses do not require much effort if you use the combos you acquire throughout the game. The guards couldn’t be freaking stupider. The AI is mind-boggling! A guard can sit and watch a fellow guard killed horribly then after about two seconds give up on finding who did it. Personally I think he should call for help or sound an alarm.

[floatleft][/floatleft]I personally owned this game for less than a week. I think the developers dropped the ball severely in the series and took a step backwards. They negated all the cool things you could do in Tenchu 2 such as drag bodies and stay underwater. Additionally the “power of the PS2” is put to the test when multiple enemies attack. The game will slow to almost a stop. Tenchu 3 is really an exact copy of Tenchu 1 only with better graphics. To be honest I would recommend picking this up as a rental if you have never played any of the Tenchu games because they are very cool games. However if you have played previous installments or hate sneakers then don’t even bother as it brings absolutely nothing new to the table other than frustration and loading times.

[floatleft][/floatleft]Although I’m not a terribly huge fan of golf, I do enjoy a good golf game from time to time. Never having played any of the previous entries in the Tiger Woods series I really didn’t know what to expect from this game.

Since I was about to play this game on the PS2, I really didn’t expect much from the graphics on Tiger Woods 2003. In no way was I prepared for what I was about to see. From the cheesy pre-rendered cinematic with Tiger Woods in the intro to the craptacular background landscapes, the graphics in this game are terrible. Terrible with a capital “T”. The only thing about the graphics in Tiger Woods 2003 that is quasi-acceptable is the character models. I would consider this game to have the worst graphics I have ever seen in any golf game, and among the worst I have ever seen on the PS2. The fairways looked like concrete painted green and the greens look like ponds with some sort of green sludge floating on top of them. In summary, get yourself a 5 year old, give him a green crayon, and you’ll be able to generate graphics better than this game.

[floatright][/floatright]This EA Sports Trax thing has got to go. It seems like whoever selected the music for Tiger Woods 2003 had no idea what the demographic for this game was going to be. The soundtrack is chocked full of metal and rock. That’s right, metal and rock; on a golf game. Insert your own blank stare here. Aside from the soundtrack that seems completely out of place, the actual golf sounds aren’t bad, although there are a few oddities that pop up from time to time. Pickle and I were playing on a course in England and we kept hearing this strange sound in the background. After about an hour of this Pickle blurts out, “Was that a cow?” Strangely enough, it was a cow. This game’s sound wierds me out.

Control is Tiger Woods 2003 solo strong point. It only took me a few minutes to get the hang of the angles and the spin control. I still don’t feel like the controls were very realistic though. You have to tap the L2 button repeatedly while the ball is in the air to get the ball to spin the direction you want it to. I don’t know of any pro golfers who have psycho-kinetic powers and are able to adjust a ball’s spin in midair. Additionally, I don’t think that the PS2’s analog joystick lends itself very well to this type of game. You pull back on the joystick to start your back swing and slide to forward to complete your swing. The PS2 analog joystick seems too “sticky” to do this motion fluidly.

Tiger Woods 2003 presents little or no challenge whatsoever. It took me less than an hour to get good enough with the controls to win my first tournament. The putting in this game is the only thing that presents any sort of challenge at all, and that is only due to the fact that you have no grid or any other type of device to line up your putts with. The only thing you have to work with is your “caddy tips.” Your caddy tips will be something ridiculous like “5 ft. 4 in. long and 4 in. right.” This would be great if you had any point of reference. You spend a lot of time asking yourself “Does that look like 2 feet?”

[floatleft][/floatleft]To be honest, Tiger Woods 2003 just isn’t very much fun. There are several mini-games included in the game, but none of them represent any real challenge. After about an hour or so into this game you’ll be wondering why you’re still playing. It doesn’t take long to master the controls, and Pickle was holing out from 30 yards less than 30 minutes after we started. A visit to the dentist for a root canal or two would be more entertaining than an afternoon playing Tiger Woods 2003. If you’re looking for a fun golf game I would recommend Outlaw Golf for the XBox.

My best advice would be to avoid Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 altogether. Don’t rent it, buy it, or even borrow it from a friend. This game is just the icing on the cake from a series of sub-par games from EA Sports as of late. It just seems like they are rushing everything and not taking the time to make the game quality. Hopefully they will fix these issues soon because in the past I have been a huge fan of EA.

Well, I will begin with a brief history of the game. The game was originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in November of 2000. The game was hailed by many to be one of the best games for the system, not to mention one of the greatest RPG adventures on console to date. It was released for the GameCube on January 29, 2003. With its release comes the release of the GCs first really epic RPG experience. With that I will get to the review!

[heading]Graphics – 8.0[/heading]
The graphics of the game are some of the most amazing RPG graphical elements seen in any RPG, unfortunately with RPGs that can get to a visual achievement of games such as Morrowind or Dark Cloud 2, this game seems a bit out of date. If you are very big into getting eye candy, this game still has its moments, but in today’s day, they are few and far between. Everything runs in real time, and as such there are no rendered FMVs or anything, but with the quality it has, there is no need for having pre-rendered animations. Fortunately the game still looks great in comparison to some of the A

Yes folks the rumors are true, EA Games has released a slue of titles for the Medal of Honor series for all platforms. EA released the title of two games for the PC, MOH Allied Assault Expansion Pack 2, and MOH Pacific Assault both games have not been given a release date as of yet. Earlier this past Monday, EA announced the release of MOH Rising Sun due this coming fall for the Xbox, PS2, and GC. This game will take place in the pacific theater of World War II and will continue to its sequel in 2004.

EA reps expressed the desire to move on into the war to give players a wide range of diversity in game play. EA felt that it was time to move from the European Theater and move towards the Pacific for a different adventure. Rising Sun will have an enhanced multiplayer mode compared to its MOH Frontline multiplayer. Rising sun will have team play, deathmatch, and also cooperative play during the missions. EA is beginning Rising Sun with a pivotal point of the war. Instead of Omaha Beach like in Frontline, you will go through the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Marine Corporal Joe Griffin experiences the invasion of Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Singapore, Burma, and the Philippine Islands. You also begin the missions with your brother who you fight with side by side until battle separates the both of you. The search of your brother will take you to the sequel of Rising Sun. With new weapons, missions, cinematics, and game play, I am excited about what EA is going to do with the MOH series. Here are some of the rough screenshots and artwork developers displayed at the EA conference:

Our very own Snowcone humbly notified me about the EA Game Life Mall Tour that was kicking off this passed weekend which started in my current hometown Houston, Texas. I was kind of excited because I have never actually been to a gaming event before. As Saturday rolled around I got myself out of bed and made it to the mall. I expected the place to be filled with people just crowding around and killing each other to play the demos, fortunately it was not that bad. The demos were set up with 2 islands of TV?s. One island had 6 TV?s on each side and the other had 3 clusters of 4 TV?s. All TV?s were 27″ and every one had a console hooked up and a different game to be played. In the front of the main island were two massive Alienware computers set up for the demo of Rainbow Six Raven Shield. The bad part about that was that the systems kept crashing.

The demos being presented were as followed: The most anticipated Def Jam Vendetta, Rocky, Smugglers Run: WARZONE, Zone of The Enders, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Tiger Woods Golf PGA Tour 2003, Ghost Recon, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, The Sims, Rayman 3 Hoodlum Havoc, Splinter Cell…and many more. I had the opportunity to play most of these games for about 20 to 30 minutes a piece or until I finished the demo. As you can see, some of these games have already been out for other consoles. This tour enabled viewers to experience the game on consoles it had not previously been released on. I spent most of my time playing Rocky and Def Jam Vendetta, which let me tell you, were the best games at the tour. If it wasn?t for the damn computers crashing then Rainbow Six Raven Shield would’ve won the award. The tour reps were so busy playing, they really did not answer anyone?s questions or comments which I thought sucked. The tour reps also did not have much to give away either. Delta Force: Black Hawk Down and Nightfire on PC were among the only demos being given away including some stickers and posters as well. If you are in any of the cities that the tour will be held at I suggest stopping by and checking it out. The EA Game Life Mall Tour Takes will continue on through the month of March and will hit ten cities in seven states. For info on the tour stops check out the EA website.

Scheduled Tour Dates:

    March 1: Houston, TX – Willowbrook Mall
    March 2: New Orleans, LA – The Esplanade
    March 8: Miami, FL – Aventura Mall
    March 9: Jacksonville, FL – Regency Square Mall
    March 11: Panama City, FL – Sun Spree Resort – Spring Break
    March 15: Baltimore, MD – White Marsh Mall
    March 16: Washington DC – Tysons Corner
    March 21: Philadelphia, PA – The Gallery at Market East
    March 22: New York, NY – Roosevelt Field
    March 23: Boston, MA – Natick Mall
    March 29: Los Angeles, CA – Glendale Galleria
    March 30: San Francisco, CA – The Hillsdale Shopping Center