User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Dead to Rights (Xbox)

74
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3.1
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Written by  :  Daemion Blackfire (16)
Written on  :  Oct 08, 2002
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars
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Summary

Now that's brutal, baby.

The Good

I could sum up this game in one word: BRUTAL. It is hard, and that's a good thing for action games. This is the kind of game that makes you WANT to be challenged. You actually feel significantly rewarded after you get done taking out 20 or so enemies on one screen. The graphics are quite good, but nothing too spectacular. It is on the same levels as Max Payne, however... so, if you liked the graphics in that one, you shouldn't be too disappointed by DtR. I must say that the gun-fights are fantastic and about as hectic as they come for action games. I also like the involvement of Max Payne's bullet time, which comes in very handy in many situations in the game. But, back to the graphics. The character models are done well enough, with animations that seem realistic and not forced. The lighting is OK, but nothing spectacular. But, the frame-rate is solid throughout most of the game (only stuttered a few times when there were tons of enemies surrounding you... and nothing big), and with all the action going on, you won't be too concerned with the lighting effects anyway. One thing I really liked, though, was the blood splatters. I know it may sound sick, but it was so awesome to shoot someone when they were in front of a wall and see their blood splatter on the wall behind them. (Shotguns make HUGE splatters ;) ) Like I said, this game is pretty brutal in almost all aspects. As for the storyline, it's nothing too original (you play a cop who was framed and is now trying to re-right his wronged identity... sound familiar?), but the game plays out the story so well, you won't really care about that either. The voice acting is top notch, for the most part. There are only a few minor characters who sound kind of cheesy (like the guards in the prison), but other than that... it's a fairly spotless, and quite interesting storyline. The sound effects were good... realistic sounding guns, and the characters make fairly realistic pain noises when they're being hurt/killed. The music... uh... well... let's just say it's non-invasive. The only time you're really going to notice the music is when you're in the nightclub, and that is... pretty much it. Nothing spectacular... nothing invasive. As far as long-lasting appeal goes... it'll take you a while to beat this game, just because it's so DAMN HARD. It's not long, but it'll take you a while to get used to killing stuff without getting killed yourself. And it's got a lot of fun mini-games thrown in to add as a sort of "stress relief". Oh... and the helicopter part... is f'ing awesome *big evil grin*

The Bad

Well, after that novel, I can't say that there was absolutely nothing about the game that I didn't like. I liked the fact that it was going to be like Max Payne "but better". But, I wouldn't really consider this game to be better than Max Payne. I didn't really like the fact that, in the gun-shooting scenes, ammo can run out... well... rather fast. And, the overall difficulty of the game added on to that can make some gamers pretty stressed out to the point where they may not even want to continue playing the game. The camera angles at certain points bothered me. Yes, you can change the camera angles in most areas, but there were certain areas where you can not. And that kind of bugged me. Also, there were times when it seemed that my camera was actually STUCK inside of me, often at the most inopportune times, making it REALLY hard to play. The fighting... well... it was boring. Run... block... punch... kick. That's it. There isn't much variation on what you can do when you're fighting, and most of the time, you'll find certain combos that work, and you won't really want to experiment with the limited moves you have anyway. I thought the fighting system could use a lot of work. Yes, it is an action game and not a fighting game... but, if you're going to include it in the game... you should at least make it fun. My last beef isn't really a beef at all... but, more of a minor whine. Initially, I had some problems with the bullet time. I would be hiding behind a wall, or some object, while some baddies ahead were shooting at me... and I would want to do this awesome bullet-time dive while shooting at them ala Max Payne... and when I'd go to execute the maneuver, I'd find myself jumping to the right and not being able to target anything. This was mucho annoying, to say the least, but I think I finally got the hang of things... and the bullet time stuff doesn't bother me as much.... sometimes.

The Bottom Line

If you liked Max Payne, you'll like DtR. If you like action shooting games, you'll like DtR. Hell, if you like playing games that are difficult and require lightning quick reflexes (most of the time), then you'll like DtR. It's a good game. I'll even go out on a limb and say that this is a great game. It has all the right elements to make you want to complete it... and it's hard enough to make you feel as though you actually accomplished something when you finally do. And the faults are only really minor ones which you'll more than likely forget about as you're wiping the sweat off your brow after blasting your way through 12 - 20 bad guys shooting at you from every direction. Definitely worth the money.