The Lone Gamer Reviews: Zombie Gunship Survival

Posted in Action Adventure, Android, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Games, My Stuff, Zombie Games on May 18th, 2017 by thelonegamer


Take on the Zombie Apocalypse from the best seat around.

A few years ago, Flaregames released a fairly unique zombie fighting game on mobile/iOS, Zombie Gunship. It put you in the gunner’s seat of an AC130 flying gunship (you know- that large plane that ‘brought the rain’ in the first Bayformers flick), fighting zombie hordes from the air. The original game had a nice concept, eerily atmospheric if monochrome visuals and very tense gameplay. Ultimately though, it was a matter of being accurate with your alloted guns- usually an automatic machine gun and a couple of one-shot cannons- and waiting for them to reload/cool down even as the hordes converged on the vulnerable shelters you were tasked to defend. Things soon became repetitive, with progression mostly being your earning enough coins to upgrade your ship and armaments.

The sequel, Zombie Gunship Survival, was soft-released some months ago here in The Philippines, but it will see a wider release soon. For all the faults, the original game was a favorite of mine, so when I saw this on the AppStore I jumped in.

Unfortuantely there was a red flag- the dreaded GET in the app’s store entry. Yep, ZGS is a Free-to-Play title (whereas the original was a premium game for the most part, with iAP being mostly unnecessary). Despite that, I installed and dove in. Pleasantly there are quite a few changes to mix things up, more goals and building elements, even if you may find yourself spending a bit to get into the meat of this zombie title.

Zombie Gunship Survival once again puts you as the commander/gunner of the last AC-130 Gunship around. The introductory mission sets up the story as your plane intercepts an out-of-control cruise ship headed for the mainland. A ground team boards the ship as you provide fire support, but no matter your skills, you can’t stop the coming of the apocalypse. The ship eventually crashes onto shore and all hell breaks loose. Lucky for you, you’re up in the air with a bunch of guns and ammo. Lucky bastard!

So the story picks up months after- you and your crew have survived, and have decided to continue your duty to fight the good fight, even as other military units have become self-serving hostiles. Fortunately, you are able to link up with some soldiers who team up with you to provide ground support. Securing an old air base as your headquarters, you continue your fight against the zombie hordes, who are a continual threat as the hours tick by.

Aside from the flying missions where you provide air support to your ground team, there is a base building element to ZGS, where you set up your facilities for storing resources and work towards upgrading them. As mentioned, zombie hordes will regularly attack your base, so you’ll also have to fly your gunship to defend your home turf. To help, you can set up walls and barriers around your valuable facilities, and have actual defense towers with machine guns and mortars to help in the defense. Thankfully, buildings that are ‘destroyed’ in these zombie attacks don’t remain permanently ruined when you return to normal status (otherwise I’d call foul for this game), and you won’t lose any of your hard-earned upgrades.
The bread-and-butter gameplay, where you fly missions and air support for your ground teams, gets some more variety with elements such as buildings to enter and loot, barriers and obstacles like derelict buses to destroy and break through. This is a change from the previous game which lacked any such features. Zombies spawn from ‘nests’ which are basically groves of irradiated trees. Some times there are small bands, sometimes there are huge crowds. You’ll have to manage your guns, avoid them overheating (and thus temporarily unusable) and keep a cool head. Your ground team is also armed though, and you can upgrade their armaments so they won’t be helpless when walkers come too close. Zombies themselves come in several varieties- the usual human walkers or shamblers, hellhounds or zombie dogs, and the giant-sized Titans. The kind of zombie may require specific weapons, so you’ll have to work at getting new gear by winning and opening crates which provide you these new resources.

As a F2P game though, Zombie Gunship Survival has the usual tropes- upgrades are bought with resources that are doled out in small amounts with every accomplished mission. Crates, which are often earned in gameplay, take time to open- time that can be ‘rushed’ with gold (that is bought with real-world money). So either you are patient or you’ll spend a few real dollars or whatever to get your team the gear you want. Still, there is stuff that can’t be bought readily- your Headquarters or main building, which is key to all upgrades, can only be upgraded as your character ranks up, so you WILL need to play the game a lot.

Myself, I will admit to have spent about ten dollars to get my base HQ to Level 4 and my Hangar to Level 5, which basically unlocks three gun slots for my gunship. At this point, further upgrades look absurdly far away, so I think this is where I can quit spending and just play and grind. Which is fine, as despite everything- building a base, gearing up a team and riding on an airborne angel of fiery zombie death is pretty awesome and worth a look at if you have an iPad or iPhone.

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So Many Zombies! The Lone Gamer’s Dead Trigger 2 Review (iOS, Android)

Posted in Android, Dead Trigger 2, DLC, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mobile Games, My Stuff, Shooters, Zombie Games on October 28th, 2013 by thelonegamer


Get your Trigger Finger ready, friend. The Hero from the first Dead Trigger is back for more killing.

More than a year ago, MadFinger Games released the first Dead Trigger, and it was suitably controversial among iOS gamers. For the most part, the game looked amazing- perhaps one of the best-looking games on the platform at the time. It succeeded in making its zombies look amazingly horrible, evil-looking and chunky-bloody fun to kill. On the other hand, the gameplay was repetitive (although satisfying) and there was little depth of nuance other than upgrading guns and your character to be a better zombie killer. Once you reached a certain point, you will most probably be plowing through the undead like a snowplow.

Upgrading your guns is key to surviving in Dead Trigger 2. Of course, more powerful guns means more cash to build (and more time as well- dammit, MadFinger!). So far, my winning combo is the M1 Garand and Dual Glocks.

For the record, I enjoyed DT from day one up to today- as a simple shooter it wasn’t perfect; but as a mobile game you can just pull out and play for short bursts (of machine gun fire and zombie flesh), it’s quite a value. I bought my copy (99 cents) before it became F2P, and spent quite a bit on IAP funds to get a big and freakin’ cool arsenal- which I am still enjoying today.

Now, Dead Trigger 2 is out. How does the sequel stack up, and what changes have accompanied this latest portable plague of the hungry dead?


Your Zombie Fighting Cell is a smooth, cozy operation, complete with NPCs to keep you armed and ready for every mission- is that a chicken..?

STORYLINE
WHOA! Yeah, there’s actually a narrative. It’s no World War Z, but it’s there at least to give sense to all the senseless action. This is a step up from the interstitial text pages of the first Dead Trigger, whose storyline was little more than tongue-in-cheek nonsense (they had a character named Dr. McGuffin, for crying out loud).

You still play as The Hero, that square-jawed male who battles zombies with gusto while mouthing one-liners like a cross between Duke Nukem and Christian Bale Batman. This time though, instead of being just a soldier working for a faction of survivors, the Hero is running his own little zombie-fighting cell- alongside a few NPC workers/shopkeepers, he’s running a cozy little hideout where he can rest between missions and upgrade his gear as they fight a war to retake the world from the zombies.

Listen to Dead Trigger 2′s Radio for the first time and get a John Connor-esque speech. Kinda neat though.

Really, it’s not that deep but it’s appreciated that they took the effort. It’s not so much a story as it is a setting though, and it’s not half bad- kinda like the storyline in Terminator, except with zombies instead of robots… heck, they even stole John Connor’s radio speech. Heheh.


Your missions start off establishing your base in the US, to battling zombies and trying to survive. Eventually though the fight will take you and your crew overseas…

GRAPHICS
Dead Trigger was already an awesome-looking game; it would follow that DT2 would look even, um, awesomer. But well, not really. There’s not as much a step up in quality as there is in variety though. The zombies still look great, and the new look to the rank-and-file walkers plus the addition of new sub-boss zombies makes for a game that’s much more enjoyable to look at. There are several settings and two different campaign worlds/areas to run around in, which is great instead of having to slog around in greenish urban areas all the time. Still, this is one of the most pretty games on the appstore, and it will look better the more upscale your device is. Zombies still look gross and evil and fun to kill, and that’s numero uno on the list of need be’s.


DT2′s zombies are properly hideous and consequently quite fun to kill. Man, check out those glowing peepers.

SOUND/MUSIC
I find myself kinda missing the somber repetitve score of the original game, now replaced by the kinda-jazzy music in your hideout. The music is pretty good, but the sound effects are noticeably not as good as the first game. For the most part, zombies still sound damn scary, and the distinct screeches or screams of the special zombies will surely raise the hair on the back of your neck when they announce the coming big bad.

But it’s with the guns that DT2 falls a bit flat. Your arsenal just doesn’t seem to pack as much punch as before- they really sounded darn awesome in the first game, and here they’re a bit restrained. Not terrible but could have been better. Maybe I just miss the roar of my Upgraded M4A1. Sigh.

GAMEPLAY
As with the first game, the game controls like a dual stick shooter, with one thumb moving your Hero around, the other aiming your reticle/camera. The big change being that the game by default gives you an Autofire scheme- you no longer have to press a fire button to shoot, you simply have to run your crosshair over a target, and if it’s in range you’ll shoot.

On the one hand, this may seem to veteran shoot ‘em up gamers as a dumbing-down of the game, taking away a crucial bit of control from the player. In practice though, I found Autofire to be a boon, letting me concentrate on movement and situational awareness- invaluable when zombies are coming at you from all sides.
The game can get so fast-paced, you will welcome the help having an Aliens-like smartgun functionality. It also conserves your ammo since you only shoot when you’re on target. Another bit of added gameplay is that your character’s melee attack is a LOT more effective and very viable- I suggest you upgrade your hand-to-hand tool as much as you can.

Wait for the crowbar.

Mixing up the gameplay is the addition of Special or Boss Zombies. These each have their own trait, attack style and weakness, which you will have to deal with as they appear. Early on you may be frustrated as your dinky gun won’t do much against them, but as you upgrade the fight against these monsters will get easier. Really. Still, I suspect these creeps are just a wee bit unfair. But then, all the more easier to hate them.

Aside from a somewhat brief Story Mode campaign set of missions, you can also do side missions which can be replayed as you want. And you WILL, since you will need to grind for the tons and tons of cash needed to upgrade your weapons and the experience to make your Hero tougher. It will take hours and hours, but if you’re okay with grinding and are one of those gamers who love upgrading this will just mean a lot of replay value and gameplay time.

FREE TO SLAY
Dead Trigger 2 is one of the better Free-to-Play (F2P) games. Once you download and install it, you can play it to your heart’s content. You can even grind as you want to earn your cash and buy your upgrades with your own sweat. IAP is limited to gold which can either be used to buy bonus and temporary upgrades (double firepower, double money earned, etc) or used to cut down on waiting times for upgrading items/technology. Basically, it’s there for impatient but monied gamers to use. Otherwise you’re perfectly welcome to not pay anything and just play and play. Me? I have since paid for a ten dollar gold pile to hurry up upgrading. I want my gear. Sadly the permanent character upgrades from the first game are nowhere to be seen- man, I miss my Speed Boost and Health Regen…

LOTS OF THOUGHTS
Just like before- nay, even more so- I am enjoying Dead Trigger 2. Killing zombies this meaty and chunky never gets old, and the way you get better and upgrade your tools of destruction is satisfying. I like the ‘Global Resistance’ storyline and how your Hero and his chums move from country to country, battling zombies. Supposedly MadFinger will update the game with additional territories to fight in after release, so that should add more variety in locales, zombie skins and perhaps added new guns and equipment.

The Special Zombies have both good and bad aspects- I love the fact that they add quite a bit of challenge given how much more dangerous and deadly they are, however it is grossly unfair of the game to throw these things at you at times where it is basically a sure death. Early on you will simply have NO WAY to kill or defeat these things, and if they get too close you are almost surely dead meat.
The most annoying thing that I’ve experienced was during a Defense mission, where you’re basically waiting out a timer while limited to a small area to move in. The game waited till a couple of seconds left before throwing a Rager at me- the muscle-bound bruiser jumps into my little nest, where I was trapped, and proceeds to kill my ass a second from me finishing the mission. WHAT THE EFF? REALLY? In actuality, this happened TWICE.
I just thirst for the day when my upgraded guns can off these bastards in a few bursts. I THIRST.

Lastly though, I do NOT like how Dead Trigger 2 is ONLINE-ONLY. Yep, that’s the one big caveat; you WILL need an internet connection to play the game, as if missions were streamed in from MadFinger’s servers to play; it kinda feels like a single-player MMO. Ordinarily this would mean me turning away immediately, but damn- I’m already hooked. This is the reason why, however, that I keep the original Dead Trigger (which can be played offline) on my devices even now. Plus my guns and Hero in that game kick ass more.

For the most part, this is yet again an awesome zombie-themed shooter, and the online-only aspect aside, it is well worth looking at for iOS gamers who enjoy quite a bit of blood and gore. It’s up to you if you want or need to spend on the IAP, but even without it the game is a solid shooter and well worth checking out. If you don’t mind the grind, this is a keeper.

GOOD
• Still the slickest, prettiest-looking zombie shooter you can bring on your mobile device (iOS or Android).

• Free and playable as much as you want from the get-go; IAP is not necessary (but makes the game’s best gear easier to get) so if you don’t wanna pay, you don’t have to. But I recommend paying a bit for good stuff. And support the game makers, really!

• Auto-fire is pretty good and overall gameplay is fast-paced and exciting. New Boss Zombies are challenging and fun to fight, even if they can be damn cheap.

BAD
• Requires an Internet Connection to play

• Waiting time can take DAYS. Like, WHAT THE HELL? I paid real money and I can’t even play until after two days???

• If you didn’t like the first game, you probably won’t like this one.

WE NEED MORE ZOMBIE KILLERS. ENLIST NOW! THE WORLD NEEDS YOU!!!

Dead Trigger 2 Hands-On, Release Imminent!

Posted in Android, Dead Trigger 2, DLC, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, Mobile Games, Shooters on October 21st, 2013 by thelonegamer


AppSpy shows off a lengthy demo of this F2P Shooter.

About a year or so ago, the mobile shooter Dead Trigger wowed me on mobile. It was easily the best-looking FPS you could plan on a phone, with chunky and oozy zombies just aching to be dismembered by your arsenal of meaty guns. Yeah, it had its flaws- missions were repetitive and the story about as bare-bones as you could get. Still, as a mobile game you could just jump into for some satisfying (if repetitive) zombie shooting, this was as good as you can get on the go. It was good enough for me to sink in some change to purchase IAP gold for the more advanced guns, so suffice to say I am a fan. Now, in but a couple of days Dead Trigger 2 is about to be released, so I am suitably stoked.

After seeing the demo vid above I have mixed feelings. The game’s visuals certainly look great and the new settings look promising. The missions still look similar as before, but the promise of new things to do is interesting. My biggest gripe for now has to do with the new ‘auto-fire’ control scheme. As the vid reveals, you no longer have to press a button to fire your gun- just move the crosshair into a zombie, and if a deadite is in range, your gun will expel firepower like a Colonial Marine Smartgun.
On the one hand, this kinda takes away a measure of control I enjoy- I loved being able to leisurely aim and pick off zombie body parts, or at least hit them where I want, when I want. That being taken away irks me, I will not lie.

On a practical side, this auto-fire system I guess is more suitable to a running battle sort of game, where you have to keep moving and stay one step ahead of the slavering, nigh-unstoppable hordes. Also, I assume you no longer have to worry about ammunition much- I don’t think you have limitless ammo, but enemies seem to drop gear with great abundance.

That said, I am still pretty excited. I wanna see the infusion of friendly NPCs to interact with (though I have no illusions about them having any AI more than being just scripted companions), new zombies to fight and anything new to offer. Anyone interested should check out AppSpy’s vid preview above. Just two more days, and we’ll have gorgeous undead killing fun again for the DL.

Samurai Shodown 2 on iOS: A Beautiful but INFURIATING Port of a Fighting Classic

Posted in Android, DLC, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mobile Games, Samurai Shodown on June 27th, 2013 by thelonegamer


Perhaps the best 2D one-on-one Slash ‘em Up ever arrives on iOS!

Some time ago, it was announced that SNK-Playmore was porting the classic Samurai Shodown 2 to iOS and Android- and that filled me with elation. I do not exaggerate when I say that I consider SS2 as one of the best, if not the best, 2D fighting games of all time. I played or watched this for countless hours in arcades, and even today while 3D fighters have come and mostly dominated, Shodown 2 is still a nostalgic favorite. In terms of roster, you’ve got 16 unique brawlers, each a wonderful and interesting design- from Shodown poster boy ronin Haohmaru and his spiky hair and katana to the massive German knight Sieger with his freakin’ iron arm- you’re sure to be intrigued with each warrior and their cool fighting styles/weapons.

THis SEEMS to be an excellent port- in simple graphics, look, animation and feel it seems to be all here- characters retain all their attacks, win animations and often amazing and flashy desperation moves.
Stages retain their lush detail and animated elements, along with the ever-present hooded referees and the occasional special item thrown into the ring that can affect the tide of battle with a health recovery or a punishing bomb. The short story cutscenes and assumedly the character endings are there And yes, the signature fatalities (Yes, SS2 has fatalities) are in- the fatal arterial spray or the enemy getting sliced in half (it’s not as gory as it is stylish) is in.

There seems to be only a couple of modes- Single Player and Multiplayer (not into that but I’m sure it’s great), but that’s really all you need. Options include some visual tweaks (ability to enable or disable scan lines for that old-school arcade look) and screen format from 16:9, 4:3 or windowed mode, and the ability to adjust button placement on the screen. Loading times are pretty much non-existent. I was expecting extras like a gallery of unlockable art but there seems to be none, but that’s no biggie.

This would be all well and good but UNFORTUNATELY…

This game is hamstrung by two glaring issues that pretty much kill the enjoyment.

ONE, the controls. The Touchscreen interface seems to have a workable interface of delivering the required game controls- you can switch between the classic/original 4-button layout or a 6-button one that has buttons corresponding to AB and CD button combinations- which makes executing the two-button commands a bit easier.
Sadly, the touchscreen is NOT as responsive as it NEEDS to be, at least against the CPU. You will not be able to pull of the fast jabs and fluid moves because the joystick cannot follow your movements perfectly, nor can the buttons respond to fast sequences of attacks. More often than not you’ll be jamming on the buttons and seeing your character do one slow attack when you were intending two. Or more often than not you’ll be pressing in the wrong place as you can’t actually SEE the buttons, since the buttons disappear when the fighting starts- a design choice to keep from impeding the game visuals, but I wish the devs had given the option to toggle this.

The second big issue is the CPU AI- it is FAR too hard. Even at the LOWEST setting (1 of 9), I could not, for the life of me, defeat the fourth opponent (or second, depending on who I am facing). The CPU is just too fast, too quick on their feet. They evade your blows or block everything perfectly, they counter everything you do, punish any missed moves with maximum damage, and whenever you get in close they will THROW you. And again. And AGAIN. I am not a Samurai Shodown expert, but damn, at lowest setting you’d expect to do progress, but this is murder. At one point I was ready to smash my iPad into the wall.

If you have some mates with an iOS device and this game, multiplayer would be a finer proposition, but the single player campaign and story endings are worth seeing, but are locked behind this almost impenetrable difficulty. Yes, you have endless continues, but good luck on beating the game before your battery runs out unless you’re a Shodown God.

Unless you get controller support or the AI gets a good tweaking, this is a game for SNK loyalists or gaming masochists only. Shame that such an awesome game could deliver such pain. Well, I guess it’s a great tool for anger management.

Tekken Card Tournament: Take it to the Streetz! With a Z!

Posted in Android, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, Tekken, Tekken Card Tournament on April 8th, 2013 by thelonegamer


A different kind of Tekken.

Okay, let me say this right up front- I am NOT a card game kind of person. When I first heard (and saw) Tekken Card Tournament (iOS/Android) several weeks ago, I just slapped my forehead in exasperation. I’ve been waiting for Tekken X Streetfighter or any hint of Tekken 7, and we get… THIS. Well, it’s a way of reaching a new crowd with a new direction or genre that should grow the franchise I guess. And to be fair, the game isn’t something like Yugioh or even Pokemon. It seems more like a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors where you choose your moves and see how they match up. Physical cards you can buy will let you setup a deck to use, and AR functions look neat. I just wish this game had incorporated Character Customization- that would have gotten me into it more.

As it is, I will try it this at least, but I can’t see myself buying the physical cards (not even sure they’ll be available in my neck of the woods). But hey, if you like card games why not give this a try? I’ll be playing Tekken 6 or Tekken Tag 2 in the meantime though, as I await a fighting game Tekken.

The Lone Gamer’s Gadget Gushes of 2012

Posted in Android, Gadgets, Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, Mobile Games, mods, My Stuff, PC Gaming on December 24th, 2012 by thelonegamer


My Galaxy Note 2: Communicator, Console, Compact Cinema.

This past year was an awesome time for gadgets, and I was fortunate enough to find a couple that have since become indispensable, constant companions. It truly is a wonderful time to be a gamer, as today’s latest toys will most assuredly keep boredom at bay indefinitely with awesome apps and flawless media playing.

On the game console side, I still have to say my Playstation 3 has held the line admirably, with both disc-based games AND digitally-released titles. The best DLC game I’ve had all year is surely Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown from Sega, a classic fighting game that had, for the longest time, only been available in Japanese arcades. Thankfully Sega finally allowed us to have this sexy brawler on our consoles, with excellent online play as well as the complete suite of Character Customizations. My PS3 continues to be my main home console- not bad for a machine that’s fast approaching 10 years old (my PS3 is a first-run classic Japanese version complete with PS1 Backwards-Compatibility)!

My current mobile phone, discovered a couple months ago, is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. This gorgeous and uber-powerful smartphone pretty much banished the iPhone 5 from my thoughts. Even if it’s quite a handful, the large screen really is the main feature, with the ability to play pretty much any media file you can throw at it, as well as something the iOS platform doesn’t have… the ability to play PS1 Games which makes it truly a portable console that kicks ass. Yeah, PSX Emulation isn’t new- but thanks to the GN2′s beefy power, I can play Dead or Alive or any of my PS1 faves without the phone heating up or the battery running dry too quickly.

Despite the Retina-enable iPad being busted out recently by Apple, I’m still in love with my ‘New iPad’ or iPad 3. There’s no game or app this device can’t handle, and with tons of awesome titles like Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, my pad has truly become the Tablet of Tablets.

For PC Gaming, my needs are sated by my Acer i5 Laptop. With it I’ve enjoyed countless hours of The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, Hotline Miami and more. Plus, crazy-sexy mods make the PC versions of Streetfighter X Tekken and Super Streetfighter IV Arcade Edition far better than their console counterparts.

Sadly I haven’t found any of the new gadgets from Sony or Nintendo that desirable as yet- but who knows- maybe some upcoming titles will make the Nintendo WiiU or the Playstation Vita viable gadgets someday. Till then, I’ll be busy playing with my gadget menagerie right now into the New Year. Have a Techy Holiday, people!

Gadget Gushing: Discovering a New Galaxy

Posted in Android, Gadgets, Mobile Games, My Stuff on December 12th, 2011 by thelonegamer


My New Toy: The Galaxy SII from Samsung.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll probably pick up that I’m an Apple/Mac fan. My home computer is an iMac, and I’ve owned a couple of models of iPhone, namely the First Gen version and the 3GS. I still own an iPod Touch 4th Generation and a First Generation iPad, and still love them to pieces. But over the weekend, I guess I stepped outside the idyllic Garden of Eden and yielded to a bit of temptation. The result, I gave myself an early Christmas gift, and now there’s a new smartphone in the house, and it’s not from the Apple Tree- it’s an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy SII.

For the past several months I’ve been subsisting on a functional combo of my iPod Touch/iPad and a non-smartphone. But sometimes, I just want to have a minimum device load of just one, and I just feel naked with just a ‘dumb’ phone along. So when I got an opportunity to upgrade again, I looked over my choices. The iPhone 4S is just too pricey- and with an iTouch already with me, it also seems redundant. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot of great things about Samsung’s premier high-end smartphone, and this looker indeed lives up to many fans’ comments that it’s the best smartphone out there right now.

Indeed, the phone does surpass the iPhone’s latest versions in some ways. For starters, the freakin’ HUGE 4.3 inch Super AMOLED screen will dazzle you, particularly if you’ve been used all this time to smaller 3.5 inchers. Not only is the screen bigger, but the imagery conveyed on them- thanks to deeper-than-deep blacks and intense colors, simply cannot be beat. Videos run smoother than a fighting game girl’s skin, and the sounds rock hard either on the default speakers or on the included noise-cancelling earphones. It kinda is like having one of those gorgeous Samsung LCD TVs in the palm of your hand; it is utterly beautiful.

Nicely enough, even if the screen is big, the phone itself is slim and light, and the overall build is unmistakably of high quality- the form factor is minimalist and elegant, just the thing to charm an Apple fan like myself.

That said, with only 16 Gigs of onboard memory, the Galaxy SII won’t be replacing my iPod Touch or iPad as my primary media player devices, though investing in a big memory card may fix this a bit. The lack of a system for organizing shows and movies on the device, like iTunes, is also a point in Apple’s favor- the default Android video player is functional, but little else. Still, the quality of the viewing is so good, you won’t mind.

As for play, I’m already invested in the AppStore, so I will surely refrain from spending too much on the Android Market for any apps. Free games will suffice, and I don’t really want to make my Galaxy my preferred game device on the go- battery life shouldn’t be carelessly thrown about, at least until I get past my initial honeymoon-tinkering phase with the thing. Suffice to say, I’ll still be playing a lion’s share on my other devices, even if there’s a quite hilarious free Infinity Blade clone on Android.

Luckily it’s not hard for me to use Android- it does kinda remind me of my old Pocket PC days, and it is quite nice to be able to just use drag-and-drop simplicity to add files or connect to a computer other than my iTunes-locked Apple gadgets. The Touch Wiz interface is easy and smooth, although I admit it’s not quite as refined as iOS’s touch interface.

It’s not all happy-happy joy-joy though: one of the things that drove me to finally buy- the existence of a PSX Emulator on the Android- hasn’t panned out for me; I’ve yet to find a ROM that actually works. I’ll get this going eventually, but at this early goings-on, it’s pretty irritating.

Overall though I am freakin’ happy with the Galaxy- really, it’s a relatively cheaper buy compared to the much-too-overpriced iPhone 4S (at least locally) and pretty much matches it feature by feature (although I do admit SIRI is really cute), and the looks are truly to die for. I heartily recommend it, if you’re not already locked into Apple or aren’t totally sold on getting a new iPhone. For me, it’s great to finally have a Smartphone again… I feel complete again. Heheh.