Thursday, June 21, 2012

[REVIEWS] More Mini Reviews!

Resistance 3
Release Date: September 6, 2011
System Reviewed: PS3

What's Great: So much better than Resistance 2. The weapon wheel is back, in Insomniac fashion. Much to Ratchet & Clank fans out there, weapons are now upgraded based on how often you use them.

What's (Not So) Great: Still doesn't come close to what Resistance: Fall of Man did, and that was blow the pants off of people. I'm going to make an obscure music reference here, but Resistance is very similar to the band Finch: they blew up with their first (phenomenal) record, and each successive release was compared to the first, which never came close.

Bottom Line: It's still a great game to play. I didn't play using the Move controllers, even though I bought the Mayhem Edition (think of the R3 Doomsday Edition, but with Killzone 3 thrown in the bundle during Black Friday) for just $60. Don't pass on it because R2 sucked dick; it's a great game.

Grade: B-



Gears of War 3
Release Date: September 20, 2011
System Reviewed: Xbox 360


What's Great: New combat mechanics, new weapons, new lore. Epic really did try to add more to Gears than what they did with the predecessor, which they did succeed.

What's (Not So) Great: It still feels like the same shit over and over. Roadie runs are still roadie runs. Conveniently-placed waist-high cover are still in abundance. Story is still missing. Spoiler! Marcus' dad is alive, and two important people in the franchise are killed off, one of whom probably had the most soul of the entire bunch: Dom and Adam Fenix. Surprise!

Bottom Line: If the whole ultra-violence is your bag, and you a fan of the franchise, I can't stop you. It's not the worst in the franchise, but god damn do I hope Judgment is a high point in the franchise, because it's been downhill since Lancer Duels.

GradeC+


Rage
Release Date: October 4, 2011
System Reviewed: Xbox 360

What's Great: id had the best of intentions when creating their first, open-world FPS (yes, you can throw Doom into that mixture, but that's more of a cross between open-world and linear). Visuals are impressive (as you would expect from id Tech 5), combat feels solid, and the character interactions are believable.

What's (Not So) Great: Unfortunately, that's where the good ends. Rage feels like an under-delivered shooter. I could not see myself fully enjoying the game, as, once you get into your buggy, the game goes downhill. Vehicle combat feels lackluster and more of a tacked on, last-minute addition.

Bottom Line: This game just doesn't seem like an appropriate sibling to id's established franchises; Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake are the triplets of ground-breaking first-person shooters. Rage seems like the lost quadruplet that was raised by Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Full Auto, but that may not be a bad thing for some people.

GradeC


Batman: Arkham City
Release Date: October 18, 2011
System Reviewed: Xbox 360

What's Great: Absolutely fantastical follow-up to an already great game, Arkahm City took what Arkham Asylum did and made it infinitely better. That's not to say the predecessor was inferior - far from it, actually - but there were improvements that were made that we didn't think could be possible. Overall gameplay, exploration, combat, story...it all flows incredibly naturally.

What's (Not So) GreatThe environment layout took a page from Oblivion, in that the restricted zone pushes up into the map from the bottom center, causing a horse-shoe effect on the map. This makes the world appear as if it's larger, but just makes navigation a bit more cumbersome, but the new movement abilities that B-Man has - such as the fast grapple - make moving about faster than you'd expect. Catwoman's story-based missions, however, are incredibly limited to only 4, and are sporadically spaced across Batman's own adventure.

Bottom Line: Essentially, this is game is a goddamned wonder. It's a fantastic game that you should have already played.

GradeA

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
Release Date: November 1, 2011
System Reviewed: Xbox 360

What's Great: Revisiting one of my favorite games as a child, Reloaded helps bring the dated gameplay of GoldenEye into more "modern" standards. By "modern standard", I mean "make it like Call of Duty". I don't mean to insult the game, but the game does play like your favorite shooter, so you don't necessarily have to learn how to play. I enjoy the optional stealth sequences, seeing exactly how far I can get in the game

What's (Not So) Great: The intense feeling of starting the Dam level the exact same way we did 15 years ago being stripped away the moment 006 pops in the driver's seat and you join him in a cruise that takes you immediately to the dam itself. The vast difference in level layouts are more than likely the offspring of two different things: 1) skirting around some copyrights that finally allowed this game to be remade and 2) to avoid the criticism of "applying a fresh coat of paint to a pile of shit that is 15 year old level design". It would be inevitable that said criticism would happen, but at least take the honorable route that Saber and 343 did on Halo: CEA: stand behind your work when you present the same exact game with the same visual handling that Saber did with CEA, don't let people give you an ounce of shit, and, for fuck's sake, stand behind your work.

Bottom Line: It's still a fantastic game. If the game had been originally released now, I feel this would be a great game. Sadly, with the comparisons people are going to continuously draw to the original, the fact that this game's pedigree is what's holding back people's ability to enjoy it. Still, I had fun with the game, despite a few technical issues with the disc I had.

GradeB-