Review – SSX Tricky

In the early days of the GameCube one of the first games I made sure to get was SSX Tricky. It was awesome and I played it endlessly until I had mastered every single trick of every single character on every single course. Eventually I got bored of it because, well, it stopped being fun after doing the same “über trick” for the umptillionth time. It burned out my brain and I couldn’t take it any longer. From whatever was left of those brain cells lingered a memory of an incredible experience. Sometimes SSX Tricky would wander back into my daydreams and I would reminisce about how much fun I had. So you know what I did? I decided that nine years later it was time to play it again.

The game hasn’t changed much in nine years, other than the size of the TV I played it on. →  Read the rest

Review – Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones

There are quite a few game series with planned trilogies in the works, but the modern Prince of Persia games are one of the first successful trilogies to wrap itself up in a few years time. Its successes and failures highlight several important points that these future sagas must address if they wish to avoid some of the pitfalls that keep the PoP trilogy from sheer greatness.

First off, a good trilogy needs to stay consistent. We all know about the hiccups that occurred in Warrior Within, though I found them far less offensive than most. Their true damage can be seen in the final chapter of the series, Two Thrones. Ubisoft felt that the angsty, goth direction of Warrior went too far. One over steer leads to another, and suddenly the angry, darker prince is replaced with his old voice actor and personality, and even new clothes. →  Read the rest

Review – Call of Duty 2: Big Red One

I have a confession to make. Despite my general crankiness about the game industry, as well as my increasingly picky taste, I have a soft spot for a bane of the industry: World War 2 shooters. Chalk it up to the fact I am a history buff with a desire to compare in-game depictions of certain battles and weaponry to reality. This weakness has led me to play some of the worst Medal of Honor games, as well as to attempt to beat Call of Duty 3 on two different platforms (I finished neither). Finally the genre has provided a diamond in the rough.

When Call of Duty 2 was released on 360 and PC, someone decided to give gamers still using “old gen” consoles a consolation prize. A “bitch game” if you will. →  Read the rest

Review – Second Sight

I’ve come to believe strongly in a particular rule taught to me by wiser gamers. The rule states that “if a game wants to entice me, to keep me playing, then it cannot assume I have nothing better to do than to play video games.” It’s hard phrase to describe exactly what the phrase means, but it pertains to certain bad things modern games like to do. Sometimes they’re done to artificially lengthen playtime, sometimes they’re done to help introduce new players. Sometimes it is to enhance the cinematic nature of the game, or to keep things “realistic.” Whether they are done because of a current trend, or to try to overcome a particular design hurdle, these additions hurt more than they help. They can cause repetition, make the player jump through hoops, and completely destroy any suspension of disbelief. →  Read the rest

Review – Resident Evil Remake

The Resident Evil Remake taught me a few important lessons, some about the series itself, and some about gaming in general. Let’s not waste any time and get right down to it.

First off, Resident Evil doesn’t actually suck. People love making fun of the pre-RE4 formula for Resident Evil games. They’ll complain about the cheesy zombies, the tank-like controls, and the obtuse puzzles. And yet none of these things could keep me from enjoying the REmake. I enjoyed having a good brainteaser to solve. I enjoyed blasting away at zombies with a well placed shotgun shell fired in a fairly realistic manner. I like the slow, plodding pace of the game, where survival is the only thing that needs to be on your mind, not time or points or action. →  Read the rest

Review – Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

I’m sure everyone remembers the shitstorm that hit the Internet when Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was released two years ago. An unstoppable tide of criticism and disgust toward the game flowed for months, only getting worse when it ended up outselling The Sands of Time by leagues. (Thankfully, we were spared from having the Prince’s early game cry of “You Bitch!” become the next Internet trend.) However, the most curious thing about the criticism was that very few people ever made any sort of commentary on the actual gameplay. For all intents and purposes, it looked like angry nerds acting as immature and angsty as the kids that Warrior Within was trying to cater to (though that is not to say that I didn’t jump on the bandwagon for some period of time). →  Read the rest

Review – Ikaruga

Is the game really about black and white or red and blue? It really makes you think.

Old-school shooters are a dying genre. There are only a handful of franchises left today, but there used to be countless shooters at your local arcade. Were they too hard for the masses? Did the arcades take something with them when they were given the final blow? It’s probably a combination of a lot of things, but at least one thing is for sure: Treasure knows shooters and Ikaruga is testament to that. Filled with excruciatingly difficult gameplay, Ikaruga makes you work for your fun.

If you’ve ever played Gradius or Galaga, you essentially know how to play Ikaruga. It’s an old-school shooter that pits you against an entire army of ships wanting to decimate you. →  Read the rest

Review – Super Smash Brothers Melee

Down and Out: Super Smash Brothers Melee and the glory that is the KO

If Luigi doesn’t come down from there he’s going to miss the orgy.

Oh, 2D fighting games. At first glance, they seem like the wet dreams of nine year-old video game enthusiasts: smashing a whole bunch of buttons will result in smorgasbord of pain and, with a bit of luck, embarrassment for the poor sap from down the street who always comes over because he doesn’t have the coolest system. But after a while, the whole genre seems, well played out. Sure, the numerous Capcom games where various X-Men or Marvel characters fight against obscure characters from every single game Capcom has ever released ever (US or Japan) may be fun for a while, but they quickly lose their spark. →  Read the rest

Review – Killer 7

There was once a silly, fluffy intro here, until I realized it wasn’t necessary for Killer 7. No matter what pages of forum analyses may claim, this is a simple game, both gameplay wise and story wise. Yes it is weird as hell and artsy in structure. And no, I don’t claim to “get” everything about it, but if you ask me there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand what this game is all about. Here’s a hint; all you need to do is stop thinking so damn much.

First things first; Killer 7 is not an action game. It is not a rail shooter. And most importantly, it is not survival horror. I’ve heard all of these names applied, and none of them make sense. Why is it action? →  Read the rest

Review – Eternal Darkness

These guys are pretty athletic considering they have no skin.

Eternal Darkness can join Psychonauts and a few others on the list of the Best Games from this generation that no one played. While it is difficult to understand how titles of such high quality continue to be shunned by the public, it is not difficult to see why the few die hards who played Eternal Darkness enjoyed it so immensely.

You start the game as a Roman officer named Pious and at the end of the first level you choose your fate. There are three paths, and the choice you make influences both the storyline and the gameplay. In Eternal Darkness you have three gauges to monitor (health, magick, and sanity — more on this later) rather than the standard two. →  Read the rest

Review – Super Mario Strikers

Super Mario Strikers
Developed by Next Level games
Published by Nintendo
Released 12.5.05

Oh sweet Jesus.

Today’s review, along with (hopefully) a few more to follow, is the result of a complete immersion in the multiplayer games available on what has become the premier multiplayer system of this aging generation, the Nintendo Gamecube. No other system has the range or the number of quality multiplayer titles as the Gamecube, and no company has put as much emphasis on multiplayer gaming as Nintendo. It is possible this is as a result of the fact that Nintendo likely can not compete with the monoliths of Sony and Microsoft, relegating once powerful Nintendo to a niche market. Regardless of the reason, Nintendo has largely made multiplayer gaming its bread and butter, and the results have been very good. →  Read the rest

Review – Gladius

Developed by Lucas Arts
Published by Lucas Arts
Released 10.28.03

Welcome to our highly experimental and likely to fail review of Gladius. The concept came to me after having a discussion about interactive reviews with my friend Robert. This is hardly interactive, but maybe it’s a step towards something, but probably it just sucks. Without further ado, I bring you:

Clicky here to see the review – it’ll open in a new window.

Review – Baten Kaitos

Baten Kaitos
Developed by Monolith Soft
Published by Namco
Released 11.16.04

Fruity woman
This sort of looks like a still life from the 16th century. (My art major girlfriend informs me I’m wrong, nevermind.)

Here’s a tip for designers and translators. One of the words in your title must be in the language of your market. I worked on a game called Elrelis Bled once upon a time and the name worked because the second word of the title is a verb we all understand. We can deduce then that Elrelis is a person, place, or something that can bleed. What exactly is a Baten Kaitos? Does Baten Kaitos or does Kaitos Baten? Are both words nouns or is it just gibberish? Am I ignorant for not understanding Japanese or should the localization team tried a bit harder? →  Read the rest

Review – Zelda: Wind Waker

Zelda: Wind Waker
Developed by Nintendo
Published by Nintendo
Released 3.24.03

Sexy pose
Mr. Link, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?

I grade games on a 100 point scale broken down into several categories. Each category gives a maximum of 20 points. The combined total is score of the game.

A 100 = perfect.

Graphics: 20

Music: 20

Game play: 20

Plot: 10

Replay ability: 10

Total Value: 80%

What can be said of The Wind Waker? Gorgeous! Smooth! Colorful! An auditory pleasure! No plot. As with most game of the Zelda franchise the story is rather dull if not redundant. Collect your power up items (Triforce parts and weapons) kill the bad guy, and make sweet sweet underage lovin’s to the princess.

Plain wall
The environments are a little underdetailed but extremely sharp and clean.
 →  Read the rest

Review – Wario Ware, Inc.

Wario Ware, Inc.
Developed by Nintendo and Intelligent Systems
Published by Nintendo
Released 10.17.03

Jump rope game
The Daddy Mac will make you…

Nintendo gets a bad rap (from normal people, not losers like me). They practically invented the platform game, brought video games back after the crash of the early 80’s, showed us how a 3D platformer should look, perfected the action RPG, pioneered handheld gaming and released a headset game system after even Sega pulled the plug on their Virtual (or should I say Virtua) Reality system (although not doing what Sega does is generally good business practice). Well add another accomplishment to Nintendo’s long list, because Wario Ware Inc is incredibly different.

Most games made up of minigames are crappy, but if the games are good enough then the game as a whole can be excellent, like Pirates! →  Read the rest