Apr 3, 2014

Bud Reviews: Spotting a Transformers Knock Off G1 Optimus Prime


Found this great deal  for a "Transformers G1 Optimus Prime Re-issue Collection Set MISB Brand New". I was delighted thinking it was the actual reissue for $60.Until the good folks at Seibertron.com pointed out the details. They warned me that the listing I was looking at was fake. Since I've been looking for an Optimus that is the closest to G1 as possible and not spend a fortune, I ordered that knock off Prime.

Well, it's finally here and boy is it fake. I took some pictures to highlight what I think are the fake indications.




 Neanderthal Optimus, large forehead and some..plastic growth? 



Plastic swirls all over the trailer. The plastic feels thin and you can see the framing through it






 Severely scratched plastic and different from die cast color. Die-cast feet have silver bits.

 Not perfectly tight, deformations in body plastic.

 
Bad stickers. Smoke stacks (though full and not cut off) don't have the grooves very clear. Looks like they just painted it on.


Different plastic colors with the cheap red plastic.


Chrome is excessive


 Glass was scratched and hinges were loose.


Trailer stickers were not glossy


More swirls in trailer


 I had no idea these knock off companies would have the guts to fake the Takara print too.

 Pictures on box are not clear and grainy. It felt rough like a detergent box. 


The "UPC PROOF OF PURCHASE" looks bolded and unaligned


Finally, the lettering is horrible. Look at the "t" in sentient, the "g" in right or "the Autobot scout car". Was the printer drunk?

Overall, the joints were tight but got damaged quickly. The toy was noisy, especially when rolling. It looks like the original and will fool many (including me).

To be honest, it's not worth buying at all. The box smells bad, and if you have kids, don't let them near this thing. Who knows what low quality stuff they make this out of. If it's a bad health risk for kids, it makes sense it's bad for adults too. 

VERDICT:
Knock Off G1 Optimus Prime Toy gets a D on the B.U.D scale:
Save your $$$ and put it towards a Year of the Horse figure. Also in hindsight I wouldn't want to encourage knock-offs. I would support Hasbro directly and let them know that their stuff is quality compared to this.

The B.U.D scale:
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Mar 18, 2014

Bud Reviews: Titanfall (PC)


The classic hype vs. reality, does the game live up to the hype? Is it worth it? Find out ...right now.

A simple formula: Call of Duty + giant robots + generic sci-fi = Titanfall.

It's a first person shooter with two different gameplays, human and Titan. It has a semi-single player campaign and multiplayer. It costs a full blown 52.99 Euros, which is about 70 USD. I was going into this expecting a new experience, and Titanfall did deliver that. The game's prakour style of running, jumping and gunning really keeps this fast paced.The game's audio with regards to weapon sounds, foot work, etc really brought the environment to life. I really liked the tutorial where it forces you to use all your tools. The Titan mechs are large, ominous and down right awesome. When playing in a titan, you feel unstoppable. The dash ability was very fun to use. Titanfall excels in customizations and weapon unlock. The weapons are refreshing. Especially the smart pistol, I love that thing.

But where it pushed the envelope in gameplay and balance, Titanfall felt incomplete. The campaign is an incoherent mess where you don't know what the hell is going on . The voiceover throughout the campaign cannot be muted and is extremely annoying. I wanted to yell "leave me alone" at the South African guy who sounds like the bad mercenary from District 9. The campaign simply sucked. Most people have argued that you shouldn't expect the campaign to shine, it just introduced you to the game. Which is fair, but even then the multiplayer wasn't sufficient. Your titans are always under attack. It feels like someone gave a 13 year old a gun and dropped him in a war zone. Everything was running all around me, planes, robots, tanks. I was just following the crowd. It didn't feel like the game wanted me there. They keep referring to us as pilots, but the AI of the Titan can function on its own. Then why am I there? Why are we fighting each other?

When you look at the screenshots and read the other reviews, you get the impression that this game will blow your mind. It didn't. It had new innovations sure, I give it that. However, it lacked cohesion. The maps are small for giant robots. You can't do much with the Titan except shoot, dodge and shoot some more. It was repetitive. It was ...dare I say it...Call of Duty all over again. I've said this about Halo 4 and I'll say it about Titanfall...we've done this already!

The bottom line is that the game restricts you...alot. It feels like an exam. You have to kill more people if you want to earn your Titan. When the titan comes, you're not doing so much different than the human. They narrowed down the feel, but they didn't realize that perhaps we have shooter exhaustion.When playing this game I felt I was running through a maze. The action was nice and all, but it was fake action. I feel that a game that has to introduce AI robots to fight against you and trick you in thinking that your good, has to be compensating. It's trying too hard to win you over. The irony is, if they toned it down a bit, and allowed us to enjoy the Titan before it got blown to bits, I might have enjoyed it.

Now I'm sure this is a huge hit because so much is riding on the "next gen" gaming. I'm also sure that the majority of the people love this game. I simply didn't enjoy it. It wasn't "fun", it was stressful and unpolished. In an era where we get things on demand, paying full price for a game to have me waiting to play the robot that I paid to play is not fun. Asking people to be patient is not always a good thing.

I commend EA's efforts. They are doing great things like Garden Warfare.They just rushed out Titanfall before Activision releases its COD clone. Maybe the sequel might be better. As things stands modern military shooters are reaching a plateau. Recycling is good for the environment but not for video games. You could put robots riding other robot dinosaurs and it would feel the same.

It was never about adding more things to a formula....it was always the formula that needed to be changed.

VERDICT:
Titanfall for PC gets a D on the B.U.D scale:
Game is incomplete and not worth the full price tag. Doesn't live up to the hype. A mesh of gray shooting at larger gray objects with no purpose. Call of Duty syndrome all over again except with giant robots (which are plenty available these days). 

The B.U.D scale:
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Feb 28, 2014

Bud Reviews: Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare (Xbox 360)


I've got to hand it to Popcap, they made the original PvZ and acknowledged how good of a universe it was. It's like they discovered Plutonium by accident. The PvZ recipe was already unique, but taking it in a whole new shooter direction is a very good move. Calling it Garden Warfare is a punch to Activision by playing on the "Modern Warfare" tag.
It's the plants you know and love vs. the standard zombie invasion. The premise is still great. At a $30 price tag, I went in expecting a multiplayer experience that's meh. I saw the trailer and thought this might be stupid, the soundtrack they selected for all their trailers wasn't of the quality that I was expecting. Naturally I'm expecting an amazing soundtrack, and if the trailer don't got it, does the game have what it takes?

The short answer is an absolute yes. The game lacks the amazing music from PvZ1, but makes up for it with intuitive gameplay that is quirky, funny, and just plain old fun. Coming from a history of shooter games, I felt that I won't like it. That's where I was wrong. This is a pure shooter. It's a shooter killer app (the concept that is). The gritty shooter for troubled teens is no more, especially with the gun debate about gaming being the cause for many of the shootings (which it isn't) .But having an alternative less violent game available that delivers the satisfaction of shooters shows a positive direction. Personally, I'm tired of all these serious shooters that have no spirit. Even when Titan Fall comes out, it's nothing we haven't seen before. Garden Warfare however is completely new.

The audio (sound) is phenomenal, while music is not the best. The atmosphere is right on. The game is very balanced, both teams having their own strategies and still engaging. Each class is exciting to play with. Elements like splash damage and accuracy are well done. Matchmaking menu music was relaxing and very sims like. I enjoyed the revival cam, seeing yourself injured and twitching.
The absence of any dialogue gave the game its perfect feel. Each character has gestures that you can unlock, you can dance, wave, and nod for example adding to the craaaaaaazy fun .


However, there was no replay feature which I would've liked for streaming. The sticker shop has no variety, and my trading cards aren't accessible in a nice way like the sticker book. Nice to have trading cards, but I would like to see my collection on demand. The environments were destructible but didn't have any physics to them except some beach ball, that's it. It would've been better if there was more interaction with the environments.

PvZGW is astonishing similar to Team Fortress 2, and that's exactly why I like it.Popcap/EA rehashed and improved on the TF2 formula. As much as the characters in TF2 are fun, they aren't as lovable as PvZ's cast. Does it mean that EA ripped off Valve and Activision? In Garden Warfare's case, their point is perhaps that we can have the same gameplay and make it more fun. The answer is that Garden Warfare is original and improves on the formula.I'm not as pleased with EA's overall strategies, but I have to call it when I see it. Plants vs. Zombies is a diamond in the rough, since PvZ 1 and now with Garden Warfare, they really raised the bar. It's a franchise that directly competes with the likes of Mario in its own way. Ever adding to the list of great gaming. The $30 price tag is fair, and you get your money's worth. I am so glad that micro transactions are nowhere to be found. Did you learn your lesson from PvZ 2?

All in all, despite its low price tag (a good thing) Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare ranks as one of my favorite games ever, because I had fun playing. It made me want more and rewarded me with dancing plants and soldiers. It's not without its flaws, but the cumulative experience is very positive and unlike any other. As with other PvZ games, the target audience is everyone and that means the game will have a childish tone. Almost all Pixar movies are targeting the same audience and they're amazing. That doesn't mean PvZ is not "cool", it just means you can enjoy it with everyone, and the more the merrier in my opinion.

I still don't know where these zombies are coming from, but they ain't eating my brains!

VERDICT:
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare gets a B on the B.U.D scale:
Loads of fun for everyone. Poison Ivy will love you for it (unless you're the zombie team).

The B.U.D scale: 
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Feb 27, 2014

Bud Reviews: Halo 4 (Xbox360)...1 Year Later



As with most of my reviews, they're not punctual with regards to the release date. Halo 4 by 343 came out on November 6, 2012. It's Feb 2014.I feel that reviewing a game at any juncture is a valid opinion. It changes our perception of the game. Especially for games, the hype plays a major role.


Prior to this review, I booted it up and played Halo 3 and Halo: Reach. Luckily on H3's multiplayer there were only 149 players world wide. Gone were the days of half a million players :( at one time. Halo reach had a good amount of players.

Onto the review:

Halo 4 brings back the Master Chief and Cortana once again.They are what make Halo...well Halo. To not make games about them is like saying Disney is no longer going to have Mickey as a mascot. I was really glad to see that our favorite duo are back. The chief's armor looks completely different yet you can identify him in a crowd and say, well it's him. Kudos to 343, for making the change seem natural yet maintaining the character's feel. Cortana on the other hand looks like a different person, some might say a completely different ethnic group. Is it part of her AI nature to change shape? or an effect of rampancy? I don't know..

The game definitely feels like a Halo game. The sound bites are the same, the grunts, the Elites, and definitely the human weapon arsenal available to the chief. The story is odd. It feels rushed and unexplained. This Didact villain is never really explained. The protheans... I mean ....the Forerunners are back, and that's all you need to know. Which I thought, after fighting the flood and humanity on the near brink of extinction, we need to know why the Forerunners are evil. Something about a mantle of responsibility and the humans being the top of the food chain. But in reality, the whole story didn't feel as good as it should have. Sure Cortana is dying, and perhaps this is the purpose of the game, to make you feel for an AI. The chief himself didn't feel for Cortana. If there is a "love" relationship between them, shouldn't they show it a bit more. It felt bland. The new weapons are a nice addition, but felt very repetitive. The only "new" vehicle was this walker suit, that frankly feels out of place in a Halo game. Hell, everything feels out of place. There is no cohesion. The same banshee, the same ghosts, the same grunts. It pissed me off seeing them again and again. The stupid Banshee. I hate that stupid ship. It's stupendously slow yet indestructible only when you're not piloting the thing. The second you pilot one, you have 5 seconds until kaboom. That's the problem with Halo 4. It's the same game with just different colored enemies than last time. How many times must we have a scorpion tank level. Or a "cartographer" somewhere in the game's lingo. It lacks the spice it once had. I didn't recommend Halo Reach for the very reason that it offered nothing new. Compared to Halo 4, Halo Reach feels amazing, at least it made you feel something at the end. Halo 4 was just...there. It didn't do anything. It had beautiful vistas, but you didn't do anything with them. Driving the now muscle car of a warthog, across the same paths.
It felt lame. I've been here before, countless times. Those damn grunts. Every freaking Halo game, has to have the covenant. I'm sick of it. Now they have dogs and "AI" enemies that have 4 weapons on them. On the subject of the AI and the forerunners, the similarities between Halo 4 and Tron: Legacy is uncanny, even the colors Orange/light blue. It's ok for them to borrow inspirations from anywhere, but it kills the cohesion.
Moreover, playing Halo 4 felt like playing mass effect, from the "artifacts" to the didact's indoctrination plan.

Did I expect 343 to sweep me off my feet? No. It's their first run. They did an amazing job revitalizing Halo CE in Anniversary, but that success was because Halo CE was an outstanding game.

Halo 4 falls in the mediocre shooter, that rinses and repeats stuff we already saw. The multiplayer maps are not enjoyable, despite having awesome abilities and weapon designs. It is balanced and fast paced. It just falls short. Don't wait too long to introduce innovation 343, you may miss you chance where others will take it.

Cortana better lay off the donuts, she gained some weight. You do look fat in that outfit


VERDICT:
Halo 4 gets a D on the B.U.D scale:
"This year we put a different number on the box", in this market there are many more games providing a more cohesive and exciting experience. It's just missing in this installment.


The B.U.D scale: 
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Feb 25, 2014

Bud Reviews: The Lego Movie


What can I say about a movie that's about Lego? This isn't Lego Star Wars, or Marvel. It's about the brand. The iconic toy from yesteryear. Who hasn't heard about Lego? I wonder if our current timeline is influenced by this child's play system. Can you imagine a timeline where Lego was not invented?
Much of today's creativity was influenced at some point or another by this fascinating company. They're not just plastic toys to amuse children, it's much more than that. Lego's have become legendary. A mantle few can ever reach. The shear impact of this brand is unfathomable.
Lego went all out. And it's expected of them. With their failure in Lego Universe game and the rise of Minecraft, they had to do something.
The Lego Movie delivers 100%, it has a large intricate story that not only stays true to the brand, it even makes you fall in love with it all over again. It will make you feel something powerful, that is a guarantee.
The voice acting is top notch, the visuals are unprecedented, and the themes throughout the story are very human.The characters are interesting, unique, and loveable.

It surpasses all animation movies of our time, for one reason: it brings our own toys to life. Imagine Toy Story on steroids. The 3D experience was great, but can easily be overlooked. The animation quality is enough to be on a regular 2D cinema ticket.

The only drawback, and it is a huge drawback, is that it's a 100 minute toy commercial.I'm sure every parent that brought their kids to see this movie had to fork out $$$ for more Lego sets afterwards.

VERDICT:
The Lego Movie gets a B on the B.U.D scale:
Go see it, take your kids to see it, take your parents too, hell take the whole family. It is a breath of fresh air and a gentle reminder for everyone to have some awesome fun.

The B.U.D scale: 
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

May 19, 2013

Bud Reviews: Plants Vs. Zombies (Xbox 360)...4 Years Later



In anticipation for Plants Vs. Zombies 2, this is a review 4 years later from the game's release on the mobile platform in 2009. I know I should have played it, but I finally got to it, and I'm glad I did.

I arrived late to the PvZ scene, playing it in 2013 on my Xbox 360. I was in awe at the level design this game has. It's so much fun packed in a small game. This may be one of the best games I have ever played. The plants, levels and game play designs are all fine tuned. All the plants are quirky and you grow to love them. They shield you from the undead hilarious terror. But what makes this game a 10/10 is the music and atmosphere. Laura Shigihara excelled in the audio. The music is beautifully composed and executed. The atmosphere is its own unique style. No other game is in the same league. It challenges the player enough while being easy to pick up. A masterpiece of game play. The game complements the main adventure mode with minigames and gardens. The gardens remind you that these are plants. I have no idea where these zombies are coming from. But they ain't eating my brains!

So join the botanic mayhem and have fun

VERDICT:
Plants Vs Zombies gets a B on the B.U.D scale:
Buy it before PvZ 2 comes out and you miss out on all the fun
The B.U.D scale:
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Apr 29, 2013

Bud Reviews: Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)...1 Year Later


Since Mass Effect 3's release last year, I did not get a chance to play it when it came out. I wanted to enjoy the game. As a person who invested multiple iterations and hours of wonderful gameplay from the previous titles. As I was on the go, I did not have access to an Xbox since its release. I finally got back to my Xbox. Naturally I have a huge list of games I gotta catch up to. Bops 2 etc. But ME3 had to be played.
My local electronics store was selling a brand new ME3 game for 15 Euros (about $20 USD). I bought it. I was still puzzled about the low price. And thought that maybe it didn't sell well , and that is why the price reduction.

So I played it. I saw the different endings. I read the damn internet outrage on them.

This was one tough decision folks.

Never was I torn in any review of a game or anything else. The amount of emotion the Mass Effect series invoked was massive. It generated confusion.

I felt disappointed in the endings. The whole issue of choice etc. That this game was built to serve our choice. And the endings did not give us that.  That was my response at first. As I watched people's reviews of this game, and why they think it's a horrible ending to an amazing series. I contemplated more and more. I weighed it from both ends. Heck I even started this blog post at least a month ago, and I kept on coming back to it.

Here is the bottom line:

If I dissect this game , piece by piece, I found out that I will get disappointed just like many others. Because it's not meant to be dissected this way. Many others were deeply hurt by the endings. Why didn't Shepard do this, or why couldn't they deliver this or that. "Damn you Bioware, why did you allow so and so to die or live". Yes there were many things that annoyed me about ME3. Kai Leng for example, was randomly introduced for no reason, made it feel like Metal Gear. The emphasis on EDI rather than the Alien / Human relations. But I cannot sit here and give this AMAZING game a bad review just because I disagreed with their endings, or with their story telling. The delivery was beyond excellent. There were some plot holes, but damn was that ending epic. No matter which one you picked, it was their desire. The team's desire. It's their right. It's their game. Be it EA or Bioware. And take it easy on the EA hate you guys. Yes they are a company and want to make money, get over it. They're not running a charity here.

Story critique aside, this game deserves an award for wrapping up such a rich trilogy. The apparent flaws that people complain about are simply their limits. I understand that now. And I respect them for staying true to their decisions and backing up their staff.

I understand that I have no clue what the catalyst is doing or why. But they have their reasons. They must.

Now if you want to discuss what the ending should have been, I'm all ears. But as far as I'm concerned this is a game worth playing.


VERDICT:  
Mass Effect 3 gets a
B on the B.U.D scale: 
An end once and for all for an outstanding trilogy.


The B.U.D scale: 
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Oct 5, 2012

Bud Reviews: Black Mesa (PC)


Wake up and smell the ashes


Ok so I admit, the  TF:FOC review was long and the verdict was harsh. But I had to be honest. I must be honest. As a reviewer I can't allow my bias of Transformers influence it. High Moon Studios are big boys now, they can handle criticism. The length was because it was Transformers and I had lots of points to say. But I'll try and keep it straight forward with Black Mesa.


I kind of hate the breakdown from graphics, gameplay, etc. I know it's easier for the reader to go through categories, but I think it's best if I do it sporadically. And if you want to read quickly through it , then just go to the summary. So as this is my 3rd or 4th review, I will adjust the format, until I find something more comfortable. Now let's get to the good part.

Half Life 1 is referred to as Half Life, there is no Half Life 1, only Half Life 2, and perhaps when the world ends we get 3. (lol)


The Review

Holy feta was this game refreshing to play again. You see, there are two schools of Half Life. Source and Gold Source. Those are the names for the different engines. GoldSrc was Half Life's original Quake engine, that was changed by valve and augmented to become what it was. And it was a spectacle. The spine for all FPS games we now know and love. Perhaps the gaming industry as a whole. Half Life set the tone. HL was the solution to the equation. It was supreme. I got to play the game a bit later after it was released, but just before Halo was introduced. Luckily I had a friend who had a copy. But Black Mesa isn't Half Life is it? It's a full conversion mod on the Source engine from Half Life 2's. Oh Half Life 2, how beautiful. But enough about HL 1 and 2. So there 2 engines, and each gave the player a different feel. But to combine both? And to do it with such care and finesse is mind blowing. That's what the volunteer team did to give us Black Mesa.
I'm putting story aside, since I'm not reviewing HL.

Looks
"They should've sent a poet."
Looks are hot. They may seem out dated because it's Source, but it had a balance between the old and the new. A platform of sheer awesomeness. Character models, facial expressions, FX, were all top notch. They breathed life into a game that was full of life. Now you have double the amount. The level design matched with the original, and improved upon it. My tear ducts were hanging in there when I zoomed through an all too familiar radioactive environment. There is something to see in every single corner. Blackboard drawings, easter eggs, nods to the fanbase. It's like visitng your old house, after fairies had been living in it. The colors...just...stunning. The Houndeye's bluish flare. It just blew me away. Some people may argue it looks old and repetitive, but for a mod? come on guys? This competes with modern games. For example, towards the end, when you are done turning the pumps on for the Lambda core, you have to move to where the teleporters; and just right there, when you are inside a blue coolant, is a scene that is beyond words.

Feel
The enemies, guns, audio, and environments made me feel awesome. I was enjoying every piece. Maybe because I was playing HL and the nostalgia was kicking in, but that doesn't remove the credit to BM for doing such an amazing job. The AI was a bit difficult, maybe too difficult. With the old health system, it was hard to manage, and needing to quick save was a problem. I died a lot. Especially in platforming areas.
The title is Black Mesa, and that is exactly what they did, they showed you what a research center of this scale would look like. The music was appropriate and hinted a scary tone, perhaps it even foreshadowed the demise of humanity in HL2. Weapons responded quickly, and accurately. I felt I was firing a weapon. They didn't miss a thing. I miss playing the game. Love the turrets.

Meh
What I didn't like?
It seems that what I don't like about BM is what I we don't like about the old HL gameplay, and not entirely their fault. I'm sure the question whether to fix it or not popped up to the designers. So the game was long, enemies were really accurate. Some voice acting wasn't very clear. Where to go was also a bit misleading. I remembered what needed to be done, but if it was someone else, it would have been harder. Loading times were severely long. Some glitches of course. Enemies knew exactly where I was, and didn't give me a chance to react. It was hard to see the soldiers firing at me from afar. Later on when the alien grunts show up, they were difficult to deal a blow to. No multiplayer. I would have loved to see their take on the multiplayer level. And it's incomplete. Need me some Xen. I wanted to see how they handle the Gman.
Gman was hard to spot.

Summary

Good
- Play Half Life like you've never played it before
- Looks great
- Plays great
- It's free
- Not many bad points, no really, had to think about it

Bad
- A mod of a really old game using an old game's engine
- Enemy AI are vicious and difficult
- Lo.....a...ding


As an entire package, this game is excellent. It wears the mask of Half Life like a boss. It has all the ingredients of a successful balanced game. It took the game a long long time to develop, and I don't know how the scheduling works, but it was a long time. Should I have expected more? Maybe, maybe.....but I have yet to see one who can outsmart bullet.  Still didn't stop them from delivering an amazing experience.

Black Mesa left more of an impression than many modern games. It was fresh, new, exciting, and innovative. It is long, you have been warned. I would have liked to have a complete campaign and better AI. But I cannot have my black forest cake and eat it too, or else it would be a lie. Black Mesa is a beacon of hope to the gaming industry. It stands out, and I salute the modding team for their bravery to finish such a project. This truly will be one of 2012's top. If you've never played Half Life before, pick this up you head humpers. I approve this game/mod.

VERDICT:  
Black Mesa gets a B on the B.U.D scale:  
Buy it free and invest time in it

The B.U.D scale: 
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Oct 4, 2012

Bud Reviews: Transformers Fall of Cybertron (PC)


Aaaaaaaaaalrighty then!

So the game has been out for a while now. But I still choose to review it well after it is released. It is not that simple. I need time to make a proper assessment. Also, there are tons of other reviews that are available during release time. So it's not like you guys are waiting for me to approve the game for you. I like to build credibility this way, and depending on demand, then I may review games right at release. Also I have to pay for the games I review, so it really depends on that.

2 points before I begin:

1- I internet speak on purpose, this isn't English class, yes it's the language, but it's my blog so...adios
2- I am a TF fan. Maybe not tatooed or have the entire G1 collection, Armada, Energon. But I qualify
3. I know I said 2 points, but I am the Decepticon PR manager and I will try to be as objective as possible.

Disclaimer:
I take my hat off to High Moon Studios. They put trumendous effort in the game, and you can tell they loved what they were doing. This review is critical, and is not intended diminish their efforts in any way, but in hopes of sheding light on overlooked points. I love the TF franchise, and what you have done is light years, no seriously, light years better than what Bay brought to the table.

The Review:

Runs on Unreal 3 and Havok physics. Out for Xbox 360, PS3, PC.
I am reviewing the PC version on steam. Had WFC on xbox prior

War for Cybertron....WFC
Fall of Cybertron ...FOC
Now that it's out of your system, on with the review

General:
After the events in the previous title WFC, we join Optimus Prime and his crew just as Cybertron is under complete Decepticon control. The energon reserve is low, and the Autobots are losing. They have commissioned an Ark to leave Cybertron in search for resources. But Megatron doesn't want them to leave the party. So Decepticons Attack, etc. The story progression is different from WFC, instead of splitting campaigns into Autobot and Decepticon, you play one giant chronology of events from different views and characters. Levels are designed for each character and complement gameplay elements accordingly.
For example, Jazz's level has platforms and sniping and so on.

Graphics:
Stunning textures. Amazing design. They really did excel in translating the different metals and materials in the game. Just looking at the plating on Optimus, you could see the crisp red metallic color. A vast improvement over WFC. Environments are large and rich.

Gameplay:
New weapons are nice to have, melee is reduced, and transforming is very smooth. Level design still remains linear, but follows story nicely and I don't mind it. If you played WFC, this game will seem natural to you. They tweaked some stuff and removed different abilities in favor of balance and simplicity. You really feel you are a Transformer. They nailed that one. A.I. are difficult and interesting. Sometimes all levels look the same. As if someone threw up on your screen. You notice it prominently in the multiplayer. It lagged sometimes, especially in the Bruticus levels and towards the ends. But not sure if that's my computer or the game.

Story:
The story follows the Exodus/ TF Prime timeline. It fits nicely. Optimus was true to his character and Cullen excelled. Nice seeing all the characters, Combaticons, Metroplex, Grimlock, and the lot. But it was too short, and too spread out. I felt lost at times and I wanted more. It felt incomplete. The insecticons are massive, and don't have their distinctive echo voice. Sure kickback repeats a few words, but damn, it's the Insecticons! Game ends on a cliffjumper...oops I mean cliffhanger. At times, the game felt like a blurr. I had fun playing it, because it was Transformers. But I didn't care much about the events. It's like I've been desensitized by all the environments looking the same, and not spending enough time on Cybertron to care for it. Maybe it was the way they split the story up, they wanted a story about the fall of cybertron and not one faction or the other. Which after thinking about it that way, makes sense. So I'm neautral on this point. They have tons of amazing content that needed more time to explore. The details in the sea of rust, are just amazing. The classic Megatron vs Optimus fight was epic to see and experience.
So I'm on the fence when it comes to story, that's because I'm heavily invested in Transformers mythos. So to me it feels repetitive since I'm always involved in Tf  in one form or another. Minus my minor pet peeves when it comes to story. It was logical, interesting, sad, and true to the conflict. When the game was announced and the entire coverage was on the characters, I wish all that coverage was explained in the game, so others can see how deep they had to go. For example, Grimlock's inability to speak properly due to Shockwave messing with his head, was such a strong theme. It was overlooked by the events around him. But each character is studied well. I feel sometimes, that they needed a better personification. Swindle, wasn't selling anything, or as we know him. The Combaticons were great to see, but I wanted FULL CONTROL over Bruticus. See the problem with this game, and many others, is they don't understand that we fantasize about being these giant robots. Don't limit me with invisible walls. If I'm Starscream, I want to go anywhere I want. Or I want to fly as Bruticus and bring havoc to the world. Not go through repeat animations of turrets breaking. And why did you give Bruticus a flamethrower. It's like impounding a Nissan Skyline GTR. Bruticus is a Combaticon, he is the entire team. Powerful! Flamethrowers are strong, but they lack a certain aspect when used on metal robots. You needed a cannon that erased everything around him. It's Bruticus. Plus why isn't Bruticus's voice the same as in G1.

High Moon, you have access to one of the best intellectual properties in the world. I'm sure Hasbro had restrictions, but at least you could make Slug say "excuse me" in the cute way he did in the original "real" animated Tf movie. In this game he sounded like a freaking accountant. Slug/Slag, had a persona. They all had personas. And we remember those characters as such. You kept Grimlock's persona right, maybe his voice work should have been better. Sure you had engine limitations, graphical, time, and deadlines. But if you wanted to introduce Grimlock. Don't show all his footage in trailers and interviews before the game is launched. You showed almost everything before the game was released, not a wise move.

Multiplayer:
Game is great so far, until Multiplayer shows up.
It is not customization if it's only a handful or bots to choose from. Don't advertise it as infinite combinations again. I was misled. I can't create my own Transformer, if the vehicle mode is not modified in anyway. And the damn colors suck. Really they do, give us more options. Look to Forza for their amazing car painting etc. The multiplayer character voices need more variation, they get repetitive and a bit annoying. They need more character, Decepticons can't sound the same as Autobots, give us some more ominous voices. I want to be able to choose always Decepticon.
Biggest issue with Multi on PC is the inability to communicate with the other players, even in Escalation when it is needed. I understand it's a port and that's why I'm not too picky about this. But it should be fixed hopefully.
Putting these annoyances aside, the multiplayer is difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it, it evolves into a Prime. Unbelievable fast paced gameplay, with smooth transforming. I like it even more than WFC. It's fast, and it requires skill. Transforming always helps you. You die too fast though.
Escalation is fun, but without teamspeak, it's difficult to enjoy it. Need more characters to play. Can we also use our own "custom" Tfs in escalation?

2 amazing trailers for the game set the tone

Summary 
*choose your verdict, guilty or innocent*

Good:
- The best Transformers game to date
- Mechanical design is flawless
- Concept and setting are unique
- Great voice acting for key characters
- Lots of characters and you get your TF fix
- Strong story
- Transforming gameplay truly unique
- Michael Bay is nowhere to be found

Bad
- Add more voices please, not the generic voice
- Multiplayer on Pc does not support chat or voice
- Too short
- Jets are still limited ( invisible walls), maps huge, but need to be bigger (skyward)
- Need to make me feel more for Cybertron
- Can't play Bruticus in multi
- No full control of Metroplex
- Multi Matchmaking is slow
- Super annoying countdown timer sound in multi

Sadly despite this game's amazing features, I think it's the same argument for Halo universe. If you like TF and you are a fan, this game is a must have. It gets a B on the Bud scale for a Tf fan no questions asked. But I fear for the average Joe, the average gamer, who just wants to COD. It might be a bad idea for him/her. The multiplayer is not fully sustainable. The single player is gorgeous and deserves to be played. But the entire game is not worth 69. It has not much replay value, unless you want to hear more of Cullen's voice. Audio in multiplayer needs more variety. Game is great, don't get me wrong, or hate on me, but it needs more. It's not there yet. Close but maybe third iteration will be the better fix. It feels like WFC rehashed, definitely improved, but not a standalone game that I can say go buy. Spend you hard earned money on the toy line, might get more bang for your buck. Think of it like this, does TF FOC, offer you the same bang for your buck as Halo? Halo is way more engaging than this. or even Counter Strike GO. I'm talking strictly multi. If the Single player campaign was longer, then perhaps. I explained before, I'm a Tf fan, and because I'm a Tf fan, I have a very acute requirement from a Tf game. This review will not affect many and cost High Moon the franchise, and that is not my intention. I have to say this. The franchise is healthy and needs critical input to continue to improve. The multiplayer management is sub par. And it is because of that I give the final verdict below. Nonetheless, I'll still be playing this awesome Tf game that I bought, and posting pics of it, but I'm not so sure the rest of the masses can handle Tf too much.

If you had to choose between this game and Bay movies.This game.


VERDICT: 
Transformers Fall of Cybertron gets a D on the
B.U.D scale: 
Do not buy (spend your $ elsewhere)


The B.U.D scale:
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Sep 30, 2010

Bud Reviews: Halo Reach (Xbox 360)



Remember Reach you guys?

well I sure don't, that was a lame ad campaign. I don't care enough about Earth's problems to care about a remote planet in a story arc that I have yet to play.



The main reason why I review it this late... I like to give games the longest time to sink in and give my judgement.Be on the lookout for Pac-Man the review, years and years of sinking in!

I hate freakin reviews from IGN and all those popular websites, they all give you the impression that this is the best game ever. Of course, if it wasn't for Gampespot's leak that they got paid by the game to advertise and have a score, I'd would be trusting those crappy websites full of ads and Chobots. Simply, I don't trust their scoring. Every single game that is new and is a blockbuster is rated above 7. It doesn't help me make a decision on buying the game.You gotta have balls to review games, and be brutal, YES! brutal. Not because it has nice graphics and "omg that looks amazing".



Onto Reach.

For starer's, if you are a Halo fanboy or fangirl, you are obliged to like Halo, you can't but not say good things about Reach. Yes fanpeople, you know what I mean, that feeling of the battle rifle, or DMR, the accuracy, the feeling where when you throw a nade, you know it's gonna stick that guy....only true Halo fans know what I'm talking about. That crack feeling of Halo, and I love it, no game has that feeling. When you go watch Red vs Blue you get that feeling too, where it puts you in that mode, remembering the maps, the corridors, etc.
I dig Halo's gameplay, nothing like it. It's solid, fast paced, and you can actually improve your skill.

The campaign:
Beautiful scenery, characters are ok, voice acting is lame (all of them have accents). I just didn't feel the connection to Noble. I liked the main character, he was silentish, and represented the player, Bungie always excelled at allowing the player to feel that he is the Spartan. So characters, meh, nice design and all, and you do feel sorry for them and such, towards the end do you actually feel all the connections develop. But that's with anything. If I was playing a story about a bottle of coke for 10 hours, I'd feel for it by then.
The Multiplayer:
So customizable, so full of action and you can improve your skill. But too many options can mean too much confusion, the veto/voting system is better, but I prefer a game where you select what map and gametype you want and you keep playing over and over till you decide to change, how many times do I have to play rocket firefight, they take all the kills. The Counter Strike model works better for this. Plus matchmaking takes so long. I'm not a fan of the STUPID Credit system. We go to games to escape our realities and the memory of money and its worry, WTH, and this is again where I feel the Halo component fails. Keep playing, get more credits and you can unlock this visor that goes on top of your helmet.Firefight: is pure awesomeness, and finally they made it into matchmaking, again I wish we can choose the waves (I know we can in custom, but I wanna play random pple, and not have to invite pple to my own game everytime).
Although there is much more to talk about, the addition of powers is great, and removing of dual wielding was a nice touch to remind us chief is the best (and I think they have to, as far as I'm concerned I didn't want to see any other spartan ever again, Master Chief is the only one and he's so badass).

Halo Reach excels in amazing environments, balanced gameplay and the highest replay value I have ever seen. If you are a Halo fan, and by fan I mean you are currently wearing Halo underwear / pyjamas, you must get Reach, but the story doesn't go further, just so that you won't feel left out when every one is good at the new game and you suck. So I rank Reach as a B on the BUD scale for the fans(B= buy it, U=useless or neutral, D= don't buy it) simple scale right?

For the non fans, I rank reach as a D. It's basically halo 3 done again with the same sound bites and aliens. As a non fan boy who is probably familiar with other games, this is not the game for you, campaign is not worth it, you're better off picking up Halo 3 if you want a good campaign. It's just an extension of the same thing, same enemies, same AI, same everything. Just different packaging. You don't need another Halo in your library, don't waste your money.

VERDICT:

HALO REACH gets a D on the B.U.D scale
Do not buy, it doesn't live up to the hype, play Halo 3 and Halo Reach in sequence and it will feel like you are playing the same game.

The B.U.D scale:
B= Buy
U= Useless (Not recommended)
D= Do not buy

Oct 16, 2009

The BUD scale explained



Bud's Industrial Review Scale

This is my scale for reviewing things, anything, be it games, computers, movies, books, etc...

This scale meets the ISO standard and has been widely used in the modern world today.

It's very simple.

B
A mark of B is given as the best direction possible, as in "Buy", this is the green light, if it's worth your money .

U
Stands for Useless, this rating is used to indicate if an item is "meh" and a neutral response, so it's up to you to choose. So if Bud rates U, then you should think twice about buying it and do more research.


D
Stands for DO NOT. and it means the lowest of the lowest. If Bud rates something D, it's horrible, disgusting, and you should stay away from it. Trust in Bud's judgment. Just don't buy it or invest any of your time in it.This is the Red light. This item is not worth your money or your time.