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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Dungeon Siege II PC box Dungeon Siege II. PC Review

A nerd's nirvana!

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Fri, 4 November 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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Do you like Elves and Half-Giants and all those kinds of things? To be honest, I've had more than my fill of them in recent times. As The Office's Ricky Gervais (who, by the way, is much funnier than any one man has a right to be) said "If you've seen one Orc, you've seen them all". But I managed to enjoy Dungeon Siege II a great deal regardless. So, if that's your bag, you'll likely be stoked with this one.

I've never played the original, so I can't comment on that, but Dungeon Siege II has a whole lot to offer for fans of the Lord of the Rings or Dungeons & Dragons type settings, as well as hack 'n' slash lovers and aficionados of quality RPGs.

The game's engine is mighty impressive. Obviously you'll need a fairly modern system to getting it running at full force, but I was very impressed by just how smoothly it ran. Graphically and sonically Dungeon Siege II is up there with the best. But the gameplay felt very old-school to me and in this case that's not a bad thing at all. You've got a party of characters to control, which can be mixed up and changed throughout the adventure. In that respect the game reminds me very much of many old RPGs like Phantasy Star and the system still works very well.

Dungeon Siege II PC screenshot 1
Mr. Sparkle is disrespectful of dirt.
You need to get a balance of different skill types to progress successfully. You'll find your own favourites and probably get quite attached to them as you continually upgrade their abilities and give them better weapons and armour. The point and click control scheme is also highly reminiscent of Diablo. The majority of the game's action is controlled with basic clicks of the left and right mouse buttons. It is a great balance of simplicity of control with in depth customisation.

While the interface is kept impressively straightforward, there's always an abundance of things to keep track of. As such, this title is most compelling if you're the patient type who likes to spend plenty of time with your games.

Despite the large variety of different (quite beautiful) environments you explore and a strong plot (with plenty of back-story that you can indulge in, if you choose. I chose not to. It is a bit too nerdy, even for my tastes) Dungeon Siege II is still essentially a "dungeon crawler" (no big shock, given the game's title). The majority of play revolves around hacking up legions of monsters and collecting loot. I find that genre of games to be fairly tiresome for the most part, but this one kept me entertained. That was due mainly to the detailed customisation/character development I already spoke of. It was also helped by some excellent voice acting they've provided to the many characters you meet. Some of the cast are quite funny at times too, which I always welcome.

The constant fighting certainly gets repetitive before too long, but there's always a sense of something cool to be found just around the corner and you want to keep playing just to see what happens next. The monsters are extremely well rendered and many of them look exceptionally cool. Also, as your skills get better, the battles get more interesting. You keep fighting just so you can use better spells and more devastating weapons. Having such a large range of attacks to access enables the battles to stay fun and far less monotonous than other recent games of this type- like Untold Legends on PSP, for instance.

Dungeon Siege II PC screenshot 2
Go get 'em, jackass!
Since you can have a party of up to six different characters at once, the battles are often quite epic in scale too. If you want to get that many in your party though, it will take a LOT of playing time. You'll need to go through the full 'story' of the game at least twice and that story is not a short one to begin with. I didn't bother with that, but the option is there for those keen enough. Even with "just" three or four party members though, the fights can feel nice and "meaty".

You can also access pets to accompany you. These are different creatures which can be feed various items to make them stronger. This is just another nice little way of adding some variety to the game.

I don't see much need to say a whole lot more about this game. You're already going to have a fair idea of whether or not this kind of thing is your cup of tea. I can't see Dungeon Siege II winning over many folks who wouldn't usually play these types of games. But that's okay, as I don't think it is trying to. It knows and caters to its audience very well and I doubt they will be disappointed. I came into it with a fair idea of what to expect and I was most satisfied with the experience. It is a well constructed Role Playing Game with a very heavy dose of action that will keep fans busy for a really long time.

by: Hillelman

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More articles by Hillelman

Looks a treat, excellent use of a simple control method, depth galore and fun action. It is strictly for fans of the genre, but Dungeon Siege II is a great Hack 'em up RPG.

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More Games

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Which of the following game genres do you like the most?
Role Playing
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Adventure/Action (includes platformers)

ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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