Archive for 'Reviews'

Review: Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Months back, when I was looking at the holiday gaming calendar one of the titles I was looking forward to the most was Uncharted 3. I had such a great time with the last iteration (other than the ending), that I was hoping the third game would recapture that magic. Unfortunately, in most ways it feels like the magic was nowhere to be found. While Uncharted 3 isn’t the worst game you’ll play this year (that award is all but locked up by Duke Nukem), it is a strong contender for my biggest disappointment. […]

Review: Batman: Arkham City

In 2009, London developer Rocksteady Studios took the gaming world by storm with the surprisingly good Batman: Arkham Asylum. It was perhaps the first good Batman game ever, and certainly one of the few superhero video game adaptations worth playing. The bar was raised for the eventual sequel, and once again Rocksteady has managed to impress. Batman: Arkham City is better than its predecessor in nearly every way. […]

Review: Dark Souls

In my review of The Witcher 2, I talked about how challenging the game is relative to most other single player games on the market. However, the difficulty of From Software’s Dark Souls makes The Witcher 2 look like child’s play in comparison. You can spend a couple of hours trying to beat one section of one level, and at times the game is so trying it will almost break your will. But if you persevere, it will all pay off with the euphoria of victory. If you’re the type of gamer who’s easily frustrated and despises a challenge, you will hate Dark Souls, I can assure you. But if you thrive on being pushed to your limit, you will have a blast playing what’s best described as Battletoads for a new generation. […]

Review: Gears of War 3

Epic’s Gears of War 3 kicks off “bro” shooter season in a strong way. The core mechanics have not changed very much since the original 2006 release, and that’s both a good and a bad thing. While it’s not a revolutionary title by any means, it is an unequivocal improvement to the formula. I personally enjoyed my time through the game, and I feel that there’s enough to give the game a shot. But if you’re tired of the genre, then Gears of War 3 is not going to convince you to give it another try. […]

Review: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an admirable prequel to Ion Storm’s critically-acclaimed Deus Ex. It’s been eleven years since the original, and eight since the last entry, the uneven Invisible War. Of course, Ion Storm has come and gone, and Warren Spector now makes games for Disney. But even though Human Revolution was crafted by Eidos Montreal, it retains the spirit of shooters of a bygone era. Though it’s not a complete and utter success, there’s more than enough here to make it a title to recommend. […]

Review: Dungeons of Dredmor

Dungeons of Dredmor is a “roguelike” turn-based dungeon crawler from indie developer Gaslamp Games. It features interesting character development and no frills monster crushing/loot collecting, while maintaining a light sense of humor. There are some uneven qualities to the game, such as the repetition as you progress further and further in the dungeon, but there’s enough value to meet the $5 asking price. While it won’t blow anyone away, it should provide some fun on a lazy afternoon. […]

Review: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a difficult game to categorize. It centers around 2D Metroid-style exploration, but the game is not a platformer. Rather, you control a flying saucer, which means you can zoom around in all directions on the 2D plane. The game features roughly equal parts puzzle solving and multi-directional shooting. Some of the gadgets you pick up feature novel concepts, and the art style is definitely unique. Unfortunately, developer Shadow Planet Productions overlooked one serious design flaw. The game is just flat-out boring.

It’s not that ITSP is a bad game, as there are definitely some redeeming qualities. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was tired of the game after 30 minutes, and struggled to maintain interest through the six hour campaign. Couple this with some frustrating mechanic design in the second half of the game, and I just did not have that much fun with it. […]

Review: From Dust

I certainly give credit to Ubisoft Montpellier for making the risky From Dust. A major publisher releasing a God game doesn’t happen very often, and it’s not the typical game you’d expect to see on Xbox Live Arcade. At its core, it definitely is an interesting concept, and it also features some impressive graphical simulations. Unfortunately, the concept and cool graphics can only carry it so far; the game starts out slow, then becomes boring, and ultimately, feels very repetitive. So while there absolutely is some merit to From Dust, the concept seems wasted, leaving you with a game that’s difficult to recommend. […]

Review: Bastion

Indie developer Supergiant Games makes a huge splash with Bastion, their debut release. This Xbox Live Arcade action RPG features amazing art, extremely polished combat mechanics, and killer ambiance. It also has something I’ve never really seen done before: a dynamic narrator. While I initially was skeptical of the idea of narration, like almost everything else in Bastion it exceeds expectations. Put it all together and you end up with a game that ranks near the top of the list of best XBLA titles, period. […]

Review: Ms. Splosion Man

In 2009, developer Twisted Pixel released the platformer Splosion Man as part of Microsoft’s “Summer of Arcade” promotion on Xbox Live. This time around their sequel, Ms. Splosion Man, debuts one week before the Summer of Arcade. While it is deceptively – and for some, frustratingly – difficult, it certainly evokes the charm of platforming games of yesteryear. It’s not a can’t-miss title by any means, but it certainly provides a solid amount of enjoyment at a generously low price point. […]