Category: Reviews

review
Brütal Legend

Brütal Legend

Verdict: 81/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

Yes, I wish it were longer. Yes, the side quests are a bit repetitive. But how can you resist a world crafted so lovingly and meticulously? Just now, while exploring, I came upon a graveyard. The headstones were wearing headphones.

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Fallout 3

Fallout 3

Verdict: 91/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

Let’s get straight to the point: Fallout 3, despite its minor flaws, is the closest I’ve felt to inhabiting a real‐life world inside a video game. It’s built for exploration and will deliver enough substance for at least a hundred hours of gameplay. On top of all this, enemies’ heads explode if you shoot them just right — and that’s pretty cool by itself.

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Mass Effect

Mass Effect

Verdict: 85/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

This is perhaps the most gorgeous game I’ve ever played. More than half of the credit goes to stellar art direction; the game projected a 1980s EPCOT view of the distant future, complete and meticulous. It gave me chills. I’ve played through it once, but will have to postpone a second play‐through because there are too many other excellent games in my queue.

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Rock Band

Rock Band

Verdict: 90/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

I am so in love with this game that I don’t even mind how my bass pedal is ready to snap in half. I’ll avail myself of the RMA process eventually, but for now some duct tape and a couple pencils will do the trick.

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Bioshock

Bioshock

Verdict: 96/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

I’m late to the review party (I was too busy playing the game), so all the superlatives have been used up, but Bioshock is the undisputed Game of the Year. The central plot is shaky at times, but the atmosphere created by the rich backstory and gorgeous scenery is the best I’ve ever experienced in a video game.

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Saints Row

Saints Row

Verdict: 72/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

A surprisingly good clone of the Grand Theft Auto games. The plot isn’t as good, though, and it suffers from some bizarre and frustrating bugs.

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Guitar Hero 2

Guitar Hero 2

Verdict: 78/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

The new features are fantastic (practice mode, cooperative multiplayer), and there are some excellent songs in this version, but the game doesn’t jell the way the first one did. I am glad I’ve got a new plastic guitar to replace my old one — the whammy bar had broken off and the strum bar was getting a little flimsy.

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Dead Rising

Dead Rising

Verdict: 89/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

For the first five days I owned an Xbox 360, this disc barely left the machine. On top of the ridculously‐high replay value, this game is also a really fascinating look at what Japan thinks about American culture. The “Mark of the Sniper” scene (grab the game script and do a search) seemed to be a direct rebuttal to the 1992 Rodney Peairs/Yoshi Hattori incident.

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review
Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes

Verdict: 86/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

Wow. This game scores very highly on my RTS rubric: full camera control, no forced micromanagement, sane multiplayer, and a forgiving learning curve. It’s so engrossing I’ll forgive it for indulging in the boilerplate “noun of noun” naming convention for World War II video games.

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review
Thank You for Smoking

Thank You for Smoking

Verdict: 73/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

I wish it had had more meat to it (a lot of the characters could’ve used more dimension), but Thank You For Smoking is an excellent commentary on spin, bullshit, and diffusion of responsibility. Aaron Eckhart is, as always, one part hilarious and one part creepy.

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