BIG SKY INFINITY PSVITA REVIEW
Big Sky Infinity is a sidescrolling 2D twinstick Shoot-em-up. Like all other shmups before it, you pilot this lone spaceship against an armada of enemy spacecraft. Unlike most shmups, however, BSI allows you to fire in any direction. I have played many shmups before, but never one that allowed me to fire in any direction. This new concept opens up a lot of playing possibilities and alters the dynamics of the game.
In addition, Big Sky Infinity is literally infinite. Everytime you start a game, the enemy pattern is systematically and procedurally generated. And the randomizer does a heck of a good job keeping the game going. While most shmups are focused on repitition and perfection over practice, BSI throws most things you'd expect from a shmup out the window. Since you never know what's coming next, the game emphasizes on reaction, problem solving and quick thinking (and quick fingers) to destroy everything that comes to you. Or at least evade the hundreds of bullets on screen and navigate the big lasers of doom.
That is, if the technicals don't kill you first. More on that later.
It looks so easy. When it's frozen still. (PHOTO 1)
- When you first boot up the game, you'll be thrown into a tutorial. The tutorial is rather dull, but it gets you up and running. However, I don't know if this is a bug or not, but the game will get stuck in tutorial mode until you switch it off in the Options menu. Once that's off, the fun begins!
- There is cross play, and this title is cross-buy.
- PS3 and PSVita versions look identical.
- PS3 has offline couch multiplayer (no online), PSVita has asynchronous online multiplayer (no Ad-hoc, no network).
- Cross-saves unlock trophies on both versions.
- Scoreboards are Included
- Clean 2D High-Resolution Sprites: Every ship and particle is beautifully rendered on the Vita's OLED Screen. You can see small particles and sparks from every explosion, see the fragments fill the screen as you slice and dice through whole armies using large laserbeams. And look at all the art the developers placed in the background. And maybe spot some hidden messages and comical references as well!
- Epic Soundtrack: Memorable soundtrack complements the game's surreal visuals! High paced techno and trance tunes are rendered in CD quality and is a testament to the Vita's audio capabilities.
- Excellent Sound Design: While simple, the bass is well defined, every sound effect is sharp and well-rendered and important audio cues are well audible over the cacophony of lasers and explosions.
- Good Controls: The Dual Analogs of the Vita shine in this game.
- High Replayability: You can literally play this forever, as every game is different.
- Holds Framerate Well: The framerate of the game tops out at 60FPS. However, more intense battles will cap the framerate at 30-40. In rare cases, it may drop really low to about 5-15FPS but it is not common at all.
- Good Difficulty Curve: Difficulty is structured around your ship. As you upgrade, the enemies get tougher in proportion of the upgrades. This keeps difficulty constant.
- Many Game Modes: You can start in High Difficulty right away, or take it easy on Peaceful Mode.
Beware of Bullets. (PHOTO 2)
- Unbalanced Cascade Events: At random, you get special events (Spike Cascade and a Hell Cascade) that's supposed to kick in when you are doing well. Unfortunately, these special events are very very unbalanced and may end a game very quickly. Details below.
- Hell Cascade - Can't See Crap!: During a Hell Cascade, you are supposed to dodge the hundreds of laser bullets thrown at you. This is highly survivable with the Orbital Upgrade, however it also dims the screen. If you scroll up and see Photo 1, you can see what I mean. The screen is so dark, and while you can see the bright laser beams heading at you, and you can see your ship, you can NOT see the lurking insta-kill asteroids (also colored black) making a beeline for your ship.
- Spike Cascade - Totally Unfair: I rarely go say a game is totally unfair, but this one takes the cake. It can destroy your ship so fast before you even know it. During a spike cascade, the colors turn bright white. You are supposed to hold your fire, because any ship destroyed here will spit out eight spinning blades that will instantly kill your ship. However, the game also throws many enemy ships into the field. This makes them hard to dodge, and if any ship comes too close to your ship, it will pop anyway and emit the 8 spinning blades. Point blank.
- Random Lag: In Ultra-Intense battles, there are cases where the game lags out so much, that your ship becomes as responsive as a sack of flour and the framerate drops very low. It's not gamebreaking, but it may be something to mind if you are sensitive to lag.
This is CHARGEBEEAAAM!!!
Big Sky Infinity is a mixed bag. A lot of it is very good, but the cascades and some lag may put a person off from enjoying it.
I'd give it a 7/10. It's a good SHMUP, it's good fun, it will entertain for a long time, it's a lot of content for the price, but it is somewhat marred by some technical issues (lag) the decision to implement difficult cascades that break the flow of the game.
Thanks for reading my first review!
UPDATE MAR. 6, 2013
A new patch for Big Sky Infinity has been released.
This fixes the complaints I had with the Hell Cascade (asteroids are now white, not black), seems to make the Spike Cascade easier, reduces lag and improves framerate.
With all of my complaints resolved by this update, you are now left with an epic twin-stick shooter with literally infinite replay value, and explosive action at every moment.
I now give this game a 9.5/10.
Sly Cooper: Theives in Time (SPOILER FREE)
What in the word is Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time?
Sly Cooper: Theives in Time is an addition to the Sly Cooper trilogy originally on the Playstation 2. You play as mostly three main characters: Sly Cooper- A mischievous theif, Bentley- The "Brains" behind every heist, and finally The Murray- A strong purple hippo who is only there wreck things. Someone or something is erasing the Thievius Raccoonus and it's up to Sly and the gang to find out what is going on. The game is divided into episodes, each putting you in a different time period. It's up to you to help Sly's ancesters and repair the Thievius Raccoonus before it is too late.
Overall Gameplay/Audio Review:
This game has a different art style than the other three games, but honestly I like it. The first episode in my opinion isn't that great, but the rest of the game makes up for it. Besides the story line, in each episode there are many collectibles for you to come across. Using these can unlock treasures and many other "goodies" for you. The game is pretty straight forward. You will almost always be heading in the right direction.There is however, in every episode a big area for you to go find those collectibles. The sound on the other hand is just great. You get the same voices from the earlier games, but this time they are at higher quality! I haven't found any flaws with this game yet, your opinions may differ.
The controls are very good in my opinion on both vita and PS3 versions. They are easily accesible for the challenges to come in this game. On the vita, you will only be using the touchpad for selecting different costumes, and using your binoculars. But overall, the controls are very responsive and easily accessible.
*No real choices in game; the game is straight forward
*One thing I have noticed, on the vita you may see drop in frames at some parts.
This game is a great addition to one of the best series to hit the Playstation 2 and will leave you playing for hours on end. Even if you are new to the series this game is worth picking up. This game is a great addon to your vita collection.
I hope you enjoyed my review on Sly Cooper: Theives in Time.