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Xbox 360

Dead Island [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The game is expansive. So much so that it is impossible to discuss everything that went into the game outside of publishing a full novel to detail it. There is plenty to do and see, and all of it is beautiful and interesting. The only draw backs the game has are mechanical, and they aren't enough to detract from the over-all spendor of the title. 

The Pros: 

+Massive game with almost unparalleled scope

+Addictive game-play

+Four player co-op through the entirity of the story

+Expansive skill-tree system to build the zombie-slayer of your dreams

+Ridiculous amounts of weapons/mods/upgrades

The Cons: 

+Wonky shooting system

+Unintuitive combat 

+Fluctuating difficulty level Rating : 

I'll be honest; I went into Dead Island with very low expectations. From the very minimal amount of information I had collected about the game (glancing looks at screenshots, news articles and a couple of videos) I figured it was going to be a straight-up rip-off of Left 4 Dead. Fortunately the guys over at Deep Silver had a whole lot more up their sleeve than that. Unfortunately, Left 4 Dead is going to be far from the last comparison that I make in this review.

Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Online Editon [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

With Capcom not just porting over Third Strike, still held to be one of the best fighting games of all time, but smashing our expectations with new content and option settings, Online Edition becomes easily one of the greatest incarnation of the Street Fighter franchise. This is the perfect Street Fighter game from top to bottom.

The Pros: 

+Slick online play

+Tons of adjustments available to make sure it plays how you remember

+YouTube uploading

+Hundreds of Challenges/Unlockables

+Multiple viewing options (HD/Widescreen, Classic, Crisp, and 'Cabinet' with/out scan lines)

The Cons: 

-There is literally nothing bad to be said about this game, it is hard and you will need to work at it, but it is crazy worth it Rating : 

It has easily one of the biggest cult-followings of any game ever. It ruled the tournament scene for well over a decade, and is to this day held to many top-tier fighting game players as the ultimate version of Street Fighter. Tackling a project like that, bringing something that well loved and respected into the modern age, attempting please the old school and new fans alike is no small task. Personally I would have been losing my mind in that first meeting.

Captain America: Super Soldier [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Straight up, it's a knock-off of Arkham Asylum. That's it. It's as easy as that to describe the game in point-form. Thankfully that's not exactly a bad-thing, and the story is good enough that it's worth the time to go through.

The Pros: 

+Great original story.

+Ties-in with the movie in a unique and smart way.

+Offers some interesting mechanics for the shield.

The Cons: 

-Takes everything from Arkham Asylum and breaks it.

-Challenge modes are pretty much a joke.

-Game difficulty is ridiculously easy.

-Everything feels a little 'off' in a way that makes you question why. Rating : 

Let’s just go ahead and skip right over the usual “movie game tie-in” rhetoric, shall we? Captain America is all of those things for sure, but it feels like it does a little better job of expanding on the story established within the film that most other movie tie-ins that I’ve played in the past.

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is basically a 1950s monster sci-fi movie updated to be a video game.  The latest EDF game may not scoop to the low levels of an Ed Wood movie, but it is a fun experience that does have a few noticeable flaws which in some cases only adds more character to the game.  Shooting giants alien controlled ants may be simple but EDF: Insect Armageddon is far from being easy and at times a lot of the enjoyment from the game is derived from the grinding that’s required to access the higher tier weapons.  If you’ve played the previous EDF games then you know what to expect out of Insect Armageddon and if you’re a newb to the series then prepare for some straight forward bug shooting action which may or may not burn you out after one hour.

The Pros: 

+ The scale of the game is impressive, even if the visuals aren’t on the level that’s to be expected from these days.
+ Leveling up specific battle armor and acquiring new weapons is really addicting since it does pay off during combat.
+ Playing online is a blast since it does require some teamwork at times.

The Cons: 

- Some of the enemies are annoying bullet sponges.
- There isn’t a ton of design variety in New Detroit and as a whole the city is rather bland looking.
- At times it feels like the levels simply peter out as the objectives and enemy encounters become predictable and repetitive.
- If you’re a graphics whore then maybe you shouldn’t play EDF: Insect Armageddon since the game isn’t that pretty. Rating : 

As a person who enjoys playing video games I like to experience something where I can turn off my brain for a bit and merely blow stuff up.  I do enjoy experiencing a deep journey that at times may involve a bit of self-reflection or will leave me pondering about a particular subject matter, but in the end video games are all about fun thus blowing stuff up equals a good time.  Recently I haven’t played too many games which fully require the player to turn off their mind and merely press a button non-stop and enjoy the ensuing carnage that’s created.  But since I like to try

MX vs. ATV: Alive [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

For trying to be a sim of MX and ATV action, MX vs. ATV: Alive is an admirable effort but the game just isn’t compelling at all.  Hardcore motocross fans will likely be able to sink some time into the game, but as a whole the game is lacking the content needed to make people coming back for more as the single-player campaign is limited and somewhat restricted by a ranking system.  When looked at as a budget game (the game only retails for $40), MX vs. ATV: Alive is an ok game but it’s far from worthy of being put on your shelf next to other racing games or even the prior entries in the MX vs. ATV series. 

The Pros: 

+ The A.I. is at times unrelenting and is far from being complete push-overs.
+ Taking an honest sim approach to the game is respectable and pays off in creating a simple MX/ATV vibe devoid of unrequired flash.
+ The action in the multiplayer modes surprisingly stayed on the mark as there weren’t any major technical hiccups like lag.
+ It’s nice that you can customize your rider and vehicle with new paint schemes and items.

The Cons: 

- The Reflex controls take a long time to get used to and it doesn’t help that there isn’t a tutorial mode at all.
- Having to constantly replay the same courses in order to gain the proper XP to unlock new locales is the definition of tedious.
- Trying to pull off tricks is a chore and when it does finally happen the end result is less than amazing.
- A lot of the courses are rather derivative and lack any sort of skillful driving opportunities.
- The ATV is a bit too unwieldy to control at times. Rating : 

I may not have grown up in a rural area of Illinois where they’re almost a common item to own, but I just love motorcycles and dirt bikes.  Sure, I don’t have a driver’s license and therefore couldn’t get atop a bike if I wanted to tear some dirt up and hope to god I don’t crash and break my arm upon going up a small jump, but I just like the general idea of going fast and thoroughly appreciate the skill that’s required when it comes to competitive MX tournaments.  Over the years THQ has given us quite a few games in the MX vs.

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Escalation [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Escalation feels like a map pack. It’s nothing that stands out and yells “Hey you, yeah you with the face. Come play me.” Fans of the franchise will enjoy the maps, but if you’re not a hardcore Call of Duty player you might want to think twice when it comes to buying it.

The Pros: 

+ Graphically the map pack is beautiful.
+ Call of the Dead is a welcome addition to the zombie scene.
+ Voice acting in the game was spot on with the addition of Hollywood talent.
+ The audio score provides great detail to the surrounding environment.

The Cons: 

- The maps are pretty generic and are underutilized.
- Overall it felt as if it was rushed out to make bank.
- Gaming depth isn’t there for non-hardcore players. Rating : 

We are now into Treyarch’s second map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops. The DLC was made available yesterday exclusively for the Xbox 360 thanks Activision being run by Satan... Can I even say that? I don’t want to upset the Dark Lord.

WWE All Stars BrawlStick [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The WWE All Stars BrawlStick from Mad Catz may not allow gamers to customize their button layouts or insert new faceplates, but what it does offer is a well-rounded arcade stick that is comfortable and highly responsive.  Don’t let the obvious product tie-in fool you into thinking the BrawlStick is only good when playing WWE All Stars. While playing THQ’s new arcade wrestling game with the BrawlStick is fun and responsive, the BrawlStick manages to be as good with faster paced games like Mortal Kombat.  For the gamers out there looking for an arcade stick that’s affordable and shows your WWE pride, the BrawlStick is definitely the way to go.

The Pros: 

+ The price point is terrific given the build and overall quality of the arcade stick.
+ Both the joystick and the buttons feel really responsive and are perfect to smash upon during intense fights.
+ The WWE art featured on the stick looks good and is tastefully done.
+ Thankfully the USB chord for the BrawlStick is long so it’s easy to sit at a nice distance away from the TV/console.

The Cons: 

- I would’ve liked if there was a bit more spacing in between the buttons. Rating : 

A lot of you out there know by now that I’m a huge arcade gamer.  Not only do I love arcade style video games like the Burnout franchise, but I also love arcade gaming as a whole. A lot of my early years gaming were spent at local arcades around the Chicago land area and I guess playing games like Terminator 2, Virtua Fighter and Revolution X (yes, I will admit to playing that and loving the hell out of it) has influenced my gaming sensibilities today.

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD may seem like it could be a kid centric game with its lush visuals that includes elves, fairies and other such fantastical creatures, but the game is about as hardcore as you can get once you get into the strategy laden battle that it offers.  With a system that is easy to get a grasp of, Clash of Heroes HD is a simply an addicting game that got exceedingly better the more I played and the more I caught on to learning proper battle formations and received stat upgrades.  If you’re in need of a good strategy action game that often has a pace that is simply nail biting then Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD is definitely worth the investment.

The Pros: 

+ I was in near constant awe at the visuals and designs dished out in the game.
+ There may not be prominent movement during certain cutscenes, but the animation during battle scenarios is ridiculously good.
+ The single-player campaign may start off a bit slow, but it does pick up a lot after the first hour and thankfully there’s no grinding in order to progress or to become a suitable opponent to enemies.
+ The online modes and co-op play offer another addicting quality to the game.

The Cons: 

-    The enemy A.I. can sometimes come across as being too damn smart during certain battle scenarios.
-    Occasional loading screens may be annoying to those who want to get into battle A.S.A.P. Rating : 

When it comes to video games I tend to be the type of gamer who likes brute force or a nice amount of flash.  That statement may totally make me sound like I’m a member of the dudebro nation that has a poster of Marcus Fenix on their wall next to my Budweiser neon sign, but for every Ico or Killer 7 I just tend to like action games where I really don’t need to come up with an immediate strategy in order to win and can simply press the R1 or R2 button multiple times and kill a crapload of aliens or warlords in the process.  But something interesting has happened: I’ve found a strat

Portal 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Portal 2 is like reliving your first kiss or watching a pig fly for the first time. It’s a gaming experience you would tell your kids about. Surpassing that of the original, Portal 2 delivers the perfect mix of puzzle solving gameplay, with a soundtrack I want to burn to a CD... people still do that right? The difficulty progression is set at the perfect rate, however the replay value might be missing.

The Pros: 

+ Co-op gameplay adds its own unique story and characters for players.

+ The voice acting is the best I’ve heard in a very long time.

+ New elements such as the Propulsion and Repulsion Gels, provide great new dynamics

+ The charm of Portal: Still Alive is maintained and not discarded.

The Cons: 

- The replay value could be a hit or miss depending on Valves plans for DLC. Rating : 

The history of sequels has shown us that sometimes it’s best to stay with the original. This can be taken even further when you look at games. Portal: Still Alive was a shining star in a sky filled with clouds and video game pollution. As a game that was released in the Orange Box, it wasn’t a standalone title.  Where am I going with this? Look at it like this, if Portal was a movie, it would have been straight to DVD. Garnering so much success a blockbuster sequel was made. For Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Steam users this head turning experience is called Portal 2.

Torchlight [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Torchlight is an almost perfect port of the original PC version that will consume a mass quantity of time, hacking and slashing your way through a bottomless pit of dungeons.

The Pros: 

+Easy pick up and play control scheme

+Hours of endless dungeon exploring and looting galore

+Beautiful bright color dungeons filled with deadly menagerie of creatures

The Cons: 

-Big battles can lead to an occasional slow gameplay on screen

-Omission of co-op play

-Ho-hum story Rating : 

When Torchlight was released back in 2009, the game wasn't exactly breaking new ground within the hack-and-slash RPG genre but it made up for it big time with its simplistic, addictive and fun formula. This is an RPG in its simplest and purest form with lots of loot to obtain and leveling of your character, while slaying a vast array of dungeon dwellers.

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