12 Apr 2007 Posted by JOCELYN


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Nor will you need to worry about using a spinning blade to play connect-the-bombs, which was part of Darksiders' less appealing puzzles. You also needn't constantly fiddle with menus to switch between items and abilities, which is just as well, considering the sluggish menu performance. Given the sheer breadth of abilities, you still do a bit of controller micromanagement; you might need to switch between an ability and your revolver often in a particular level, for instance, though the related ability wheel is easily accessed with the D-pad. Nevertheless, managing your abilities and equipment is smoother than it was in the original. Naturally, the Mark of Mastery exam doesn't quite go according to plan, and the pair soon find themselves tangled up in yet another villain's dastardly plot to rule over the world of Kingdom Hearts. Cue nonstop blurry flashbacks, wavy visions of the future, and dialogue worthy of the campiest of B movies, and you've got yourself a plot. To go deeper would be to give too much away, but suffice it to say, it's an ambitious, almost Inception-like tale that gets very complicated very quickly--and not always for the right reasons. You're left in the dark for so long, and characters do so little to explain things throughout your adventure, that when the big reveal comes, you're as confused as you were before--perhaps even more so. The next dimension you gain the ability to enter and exit is the slow-motion dimension. Here, time slows to a crawl; lasers that normally shoot forth at imperceptible speeds can now be outrun, and you can give yourself ample time to leap onto that footstool you just threw over a chasm and ride it to safety, which feels like a spectacular feat. Slow motion is common enough in games, but this is slow even by slow-motion standards. You can toss an object from one room into another, slow down time, and then run into the next room and have seconds to spare before the object arrives. The numerous enjoyable applications of this dimension will have you wishing you could carry it with you out of the game and back into the real world. In the campaign, you play as the ghosts, a four-man team of elite soldiers. Cutscenes and mid-mission dialogue combine to create a nice sense of camaraderie among the crew, and hackneyed archetypes are downplayed in favor of more understated characterization. Personalities are colored in during small moments, like a song streaming out of earbuds, a fleeting facial expression, and a conversation about used trucks. Interactions with other military personnel reveal how isolated the ghosts are from the soldiers they break bread with and ho

The resulting abomination may be covered with multiple wailing heads, but more importantly, it commands the attention of nearby ghouls or guards. Given the opportunity, you can then mow down the resulting crowd of mercenaries with your shotgun, since it damages enemies adjacent to your target. (But be warned: it damages adjacent friendlies, too.) In the meanwhile, a supporting mage can improve your chances of landing shots, or grant you an additional action point per turn, while your decker rushes through the matrix, flinging energy at cyberdemons. On normal difficulty, Shadowrun Returns isn't hard, but the skill system is involved enough to give battles variety and momentum. Sadly, the transition to the PlayStation 3 controller hasn't been without issue. Accurately aiming at enemies is much harder than the mouse-supported PC version, because the aiming reticule floats at a fixed distance. This means you have to be much more accurate with your aiming. A lock-on feature that allows you to auto-aim at selected enemies has been included, but in frantic engagements, using this is often more hassle than it's worth. The awkward button combinations required can cause you to fire or throw your weapon without intention, which--considering how easily you can be killed--is less than ideal. It's not enough to entirely ruin the experience, but when you're on a high score streak, the last thing you want is for the the controls to get in the way. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, there is no success too small to celebrate. The townsfolk happily congregate whenever a lamppost or scarecrow is erected, never showing a hint of irony as they welcome a new landmark into their town. Letters flood your mailbox, pouring out prodigious thanks for the common pear or ordinary seashell you sent to your anthropomorphic neighbors. And that happiness isn't limited to your friendly animal companions, either. Their unrestrained yearning for material goods and basic relationships is infectious. Just try to withhold a smile when you snag an endangered coelacanth from the icy depths or receive a silver fishing rod from Celeste. New Leaf transcends its simplistic nature to offer a deceptively absorbing and rewarding experience. Every character has a standard lineup of combat skills, but each also has a one-time-use signature skill that can turn the tide of battle. It should be used only in dire situations when a conventional victory doesn't look feasible. One of the coolest is an ionic plasma strike that scorches everything in a huge radius. Another buffs the entire team with invisibility and grants the caster more striking power. The inclusion of these super abilities sets Battle for Graxia apart and adds a constant layer of tension to each encounter. After all, even your strongest, most well-coordinated assault could be stalled at the press of a button. Or, knowing your enemy just wasted a signature move, you might be emboldened to attack in a way that you weren't attacking before. The setup to EOIV mirrors that of the previous games in the series. You control a guild of explorers (all named and chosen by you), and you are new to the city of Tharsis, a bustling hub of trade and exploration. In the distance towers the great Yggdrasil tree, which has remained inaccessible for centuries and hides some manner of secrets lost to time. The routes to Yggdrasil aren't clear, and the lands are dangerous, with monsters and terrifying beings roaming the skies, the underground, and everywhere in between. It seems as though some of the world's labyrinths contain secrets pertaining to Yggdrasil, and it's up to your guild to brave the dangers of both the overworld and the underworld to find the truth behind the tree's seclusion and the legendary Titan. After installation and several updates, the client greets you with some cinematic, Final Fantasy-esque fanfare. You're deposited into a seemingly never-ending online abyss after clicking "start." Once an arbitrary amount of time has passed,