The swing control mechanism is just like every other golf game you've played, but the draw/fade control is better, making it easy to curve your shots around trees. Unfortunately, you can't apply backspin or topspin on your ball. Pat O'Brien and Brit Peter Alliss provide commentary comparable to TV coverage, so be sure they are both on. Not only are they very accurate, but their dry British humor is hilarious at times.
In terms of options, you can tweak the gameplay and presentation in just about every way imaginable. VR Golf is fun, but it has its share of flaws. There are only two courses, and there's a lot of loading time between holes. While most of the camera angles are cool, the swinging camera is disorienting, making it hard to tell where the ball is heading. The most annoying aspect of the game is how each player has to press a button after every shot. During multiplayer games, you constantly have to remind the other players to hit their button. Even so, this is an old favorite that golf fans should appreciate. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Like the first Vandal Hearts, the plot is long and complicated, but never boring. The battle system has changed dramatically, and not necessarily for the better. In the first Vandal Hearts you issued orders to all of your characters at the start of each round, and then sat back to watch the battle unfold. In VH2, you and your opponents take turns directing one character at a time. When all characters have been used, the round is over.
The good news is that this adds some strategy, since you have to guess which character the CPU will use next. The bad news is that if you try to attack an enemy who's been activated during the same turn, your character ends up swinging at thin air. This happens way too much, and it always looks ridiculous. I definitely prefer the old battle system.
Vandal Hearts II is still worth playing, and it's more than twice as big as the original. The sprite graphics are largely unchanged from the first game, and the spirited, renaissance-style music is excellent. It's no classic, but fans of the original game might find this hard to resist. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Viewpoint's full-motion video intro looks like a lame Star Wars rip-off, but the audio is amazing. I didn't realize they even had surround sound back in 1996! You'd think this game would be a slam-dunk, but surprisingly enough, the gameplay is hurting. First off, the control is seriously lacking. The steering feels stiff and inexact, so you can't aim with precision. That doesn't bode well when you take into account Viewpoint's insane difficulty.
Worse yet, when the screen gets crowded with projectiles, the action slows to a crawl and the frame-rate goes straight to hell. I was absolutely shocked to witness such a heinous degree of slow-down on a console like the Playstation. A three-letter password is provided, but there's no memory card save capability. I also dislike how the music tends to kick in belatedly during the opening stage. Viewpoint is a good game, but this Playstation translation didn't turn out very well at all. Stick with the Neo Geo version. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Unlike the flat, static scenery of the early Twisted Metal games, V8 has smooth, rolling hills, and you can blow up just about any structure. Another nice touch is how newly-acquired weapons mount themselves to the top of your car. The battlegrounds are fresh and original, including a ski resort, the Hoover dam, an oil refinery, and a ghost town. Despite some clipping problems, the graphics rate is highly compared to Twisted Metal. There are some really funny animations, like an old lady that flies out of the back of the camper!
So what's not to like? Well, most of the weapons are very cheap. The guided weapons require no aiming at all, and since you get about 20 at a time, you can rain down heavy damage on other cars with little effort. Yes, I had the same beef with the lightning attack in Twisted Metal 2, but the problem here is more rampant. V8 was never mounted a serious threat to Twisted Metal, but it does provide a nice change of pace for car combat fans. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.