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. →  This post are sick.

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. →  You do not simply walk into reading more.

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. →  Actraiser Readnaissance

Review – Superman Returns

As you are happily whiling away the hours on the great games that have come out in the past few months, allow me to darken your day with another reminders of how much shit last year’s flood of licensed games sucked.

As a child, I spent a fair amount of my time educating myself, to a very precise degree, on the capabilities of superheroes, should a need arise to discuss how such powers would fair in various hypothetical conflicts. For example, I know the powers of each superhero so well, I could tell, with scientific accuracy, who would win in a battle royal between Namor, Aquaman, Namorita, Black Manta, and Aqua Lad.*

The sound of dueling banjos plays in the distance...

Later in life I developed a deep resentment when I came upon two crushing realizations. The first, and perhaps the one that should have been foreseeable, was that no one ever got laid due to their wielding of such knowledge. →  Shadow of Read

Review – Half-Life Episode 2

Half Life 2 Episode 1 was much like the Opposing Force expansion to the original Half Life. Both games were largely similar, but each offered a distinct twist that helped it along. In Opposing Force, it was the concept of playing as a soldier hunting down Gordon Freeman, and the benefits of having a troop of specialized AI soldiers to help you along the way.

In Episode 1, it was the impressive AI of Alyx Vance, which helped you bond with her character as well as giving Valve a chance to create some interesting scenarios for her and Gordon to tackle. Both games also benefited from their incredible set pieces that improved upon most of the things we experienced in the original games. It says a lot when your two expansion packs contain some of the best single player content of the year. →  Destroy All Articles! 2

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. →  Onimusha 2: Samuread's Destiny

Review – Advent Rising

This is one of those times I’m sorry I listened to the reviews on a game and passed it up. I had been following Advent Rising mostly because its story was written by Orson Scott Card (author of the Ender’s Game series) and it was originally supposed to be an epic, three-part sci-fi adventure. From the screenshots and scraps of gameplay videos I saw, it looked quite promising.

However, upon its release Advent Rising got anywhere from mediocre to downright insulting reviews. Most complained of crippling bugs and game engine problems, making the game virtually unplayable. Others said the story was boring and then made worse by bad voice acting talent. I have no idea what game these people were playing.

You see this glowing orb of destruction … yeah, not many people can do this.

 →  In the beginning games created the heavens and the earth.

Review – Doom 3

I didn’t understand all of the hype surrounding the release of Doom 3. So the graphics were cutting edge (assuming you wanted to drop $500 to get your memory and graphics card up to snuff), it was still a game based on a series well-known for having repetitious play and no story line whatsoever. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved playing the first Doom games/expansions, but I had a feeling they wouldn’t hold up if played them years later. I found my fears were correct as I tried to play both 1 and 2 off of the “Special Edition” Xbox game that comes with the entire set on one disc. Fun for the nostalgia, not so much for the gameplay. I made it about fifteen minutes in before moving on to the new game. →  I’d buy that for a dollar.

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). →  This post are sick.

Review – Capcom Fighting Evolution

It looks as if Capcom Fighting Evolution may be the last 2D fighter from Capcom that isn’t some sort of compilation. This is frustrating for two reasons. Firstly, something tells me they could revive the genre at least a little bit if they actually released a beautiful and balanced Street Fighter 4. Second, Fighting Evolution is not exactly the best way to end a legacy. The potential for this game is staggering, but the final product feels rushed and cheap.

The premise of CFE is simple; take a bunch of characters from different Capcom games and have them square off. The acute reader will no doubt point out that this sounds a lot like the premise behind Capcom’s plethora of “Versus” titles, though in fact they are somewhat different. The “Versus” games are mostly focused on representing the “best of the best” from the company, and then putting them into a streamlined combat engine. →  Read, you fools!

Review – BloodRayne 2

A lot of reviewers would start this off by saying BloodRayne 2 “sucked” and then make some lame joke about this being a vampire game and there being a lot of “sucking” going on anyway. Well I think that sucks … and this game blows. If you’re not familiar with titular character you need only watch Uwe Boll’s opus “BloodRayne” to gain absolutely no insight whatsoever into this franchise and probably confuse the hell out of yourself in the process. Now that movie sucked!

Putting aside the cinematic abortion that will forever mar the face of this spotless product line, BloodRayne 2 is one of the most boring games I’ve played in a long, long time. Poor voice acting, horrible dialogue, tedious battles made even worse by a frustrating combat system… this puppy runs the gamut. →  Imagine all the gamers playing for today

Review – Indigo Prophecy

Bonjour. I made this game and am better than you, non?

About halfway through Indigo Prophecy I began outlining this review. Had I finished the review but not the game you’d be reading something very different. This is a game with massive potential that completely implodes. But still, for trying something innovative and nearly succeeding, Quantic Dream deserves much respect and anyone interested in innovation and experimentation should try it out.

Indigo Prophecy was made by the French developer Quantic Dream, who were behind the poorly received Dreamcast title Omnikron (I hate it just because David Bowie is in it). This is not a modest company; or rather this company is not run by a modest man. My first experience with Indigo Prophecy was on a demo disc from a magazine. →  Katamari Damaread

Review – Psychonauts

I know this scene is somehow sexual, I’m just not sure exactly how.

Psychonauts came out to little fanfare in the broader sense, but there are dedicated Tim Schaefer fans who had been looking forward to the title for quite some time. Growing up I played a few of his PC adventure games and while I enjoyed them, I was probably a little too young to appreciate them as much as they deserved. Everything about Psychonauts appealed to me though and when I eventually found a copy, the experience did not disappoint.

In an interesting twist, the main character runs away from the circus in order to join an elite force of psychic detectives. The Psychonauts operate by entering people’s minds and ridding them of their demons. Raz, in a shocking turn of events, shows real promise as a psychonaut, but has to fight his father for the right to do what he wants. →  The review for ‘Shark Sandwich’ was merely a two word review which simply read ‘Read Sandwich.’

Review – Ninja Gaiden

I wanted to like Ninja Gaiden. I really did. Despite my disinterest in Namco’s Team Ninja and their “style over substance” approach to game design, I always hoped that this new Ninja Gaiden would live up to the high standards set by the 2d originals. It turns out that the final product is much like I expected. Team Ninja has a history of being able to do one thing incredibly well, be it the graphics of Dead or Alive or the … models in Extreme Beach Volleyball. Meanwhile pretty much everything else in the game ends up being mediocre at best.

The good news is that Ninja Gaiden’s combat happens to be the one thing that is done right. The bad news is that once again everything else is rather crummy.

 →  Read awhile, and listen.

Review – Star Trek: Shattered Universe

Developed by Stasphere Interactive
Published by TDK Mediactive
Released 1.13.04

No … this game was not made in 1990. Why would you say that?

This Trek game was developed by Starsphere Interactive whos last game seems to have been You Don’t Know Jack for the PS1. They should have stopped there. Just take a look at their impressive list of games and I believe you will already know where this review is going.

Being an enormous fan of the Trek universe, I really want the franchise to do well. Movies, books, new shows, video games; I just want them to make enough money to keep the universe alive. That’s why games like Shattered Universe bother me so much. I think this game was made in two months … by monkeys … monkeys who were somewhat slow. →  When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a game.

Review – Jade Empire

Jade Empire
Developed by Bioware
Published by Microsoft
Released 4.12.05

Blue crap coming out of the hands is a serious medical condition.

Bioware is one of my favorite companies because I bow to the altar of Baldur’s Gate. I played both games in that series and both expansion packs. When I read the third installment was canceled I nearly wept. Knights of the Old Republic is a great game but I’m not really into Star Wars, Neverwinter Nights was good but there wasn’t enough focus on having a sweet party of adventurers. There will never be another Baldur’s Gate and I have to accept it (by mentioning it in every other article I write). First, an immediate comparison: Jade Empire is not as good as Baldur’s Gate. Ok, now I feel better and can begin the review. →  Snap! Crackle! Read!

Review – Gladius

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 – Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay

Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Developed by Starbreeze
Published by VU Games
Released 6.1.04

The guy in the purple sock thing deserves to die for crimes against fashion.

I have seen neither Pitch Black nor the Chronicles of Riddick (I like being uninformed, it gives me a unique angle). I am not sure Vin Diesel doesn’t suck, and yes, I know he likes D&D. I also know I saw the Pacifier, though that was more strawberry margarita’s fault than his. Combining my hesitation about Mr. Diesel with my general apathy for FPS’s, and the fact that most games based on movies are secretly designed by Satan, I was not convinced the Chronicles of Riddick game would be anything more than god awful.

The first cut scene in the game did little to allay my fears. →  Today I consider myself the luckiest reader on the face of the earth.

Review – Mortal Kombat: Deception

Mortal Kombat: Deception
Developed by Midway
Published by Midway
Released 10.04.04

Ta da
I got a small role in a Broadway play, it’s not much, but it’s a start.

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: 15

Music: 15

Game play: 20

Plot: 15

Replay ability: 20

Total Value: 85%

Moooortaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal Koooooooooooooooombaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! Test your might! Do do doooo dooo doooo!

Here is a cute story. When I was a young lad I was a Mortal Kombat master. I won a tournament at a local arcade out of 100 people for the best Mortal Kombat II player. I must have spent somewhere between $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 playing that dangfangled game. →  The Last Readment