Full Reviews

Full game reviews as we beat them, there will be a balance of both new and old games reviewed. We review the basics of the game and deliver scores in a few categories and an overall score out of 10.

  • Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

    Full Review
    Professor Layton And The Diabolical Box Cover

    Professional puzzle-solver and tea lover Professor Hershel Layton and young Luke, his apprentice, are back to solving the ultimate mystery in Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, the sequel to 2008's Curious Village. The game plays as a Myst-like point-and-click with brain-teasers thrown in every couple of minutes; and not the random, bumbling puzzles of Myst, but random, Mensa head-scratchers that will have you reaching for the nearest bottle of headache medicine. Diabolical Box is not just about solving puzzle after puzzle, however, there's a series of unsolved mysteries at hand along with a big cast of characters to help and hinder along the way. The game is chock full of wit and charm, and it is truly hard to put down.

    Developers Level-5 seemingly got the formula right the first time, as not much has changed for the sequel (the third game was released last year in Japan and the fourth is almost out there too!). We still have the lovable British accents, the endless number of puzzles, and nearly the same enticing soundtrack. Let's get into my review of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.

  • The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

    Guest Full Review
    Secret Of Monkey Island Special Edition Cover

    Back in the day, Lucasarts made good games. They made point-and-click adventures, some of the best ever. One thing their adventures were famous for was an odd sense of humor.

    Secret of Monkey Island was Lucasarts' first humor game. I've always wanted to play it, so when they repackaged it with new graphics and voice acting, I jumped on it.

    I played the first hour for review, and well, I couldn't stop playing: I beat the whole game in the next couple of days. I think that says enough about the first hour experience. Here's the full review.

    Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is a repackaging of Secret of Monkey Island. It follows the story of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who wants nothing more than to sail the high seas, pillaging and plundering, looting and.... well he wants to be a pirate. He starts off on Melee Island to talk to the Pirate Leaders in order to join them. They set him off with three seemingly impossible tasks to accomplish. Along the way he might just fall in love, confront a ghost pirate, and slide down a cable on a rubber-chicken-with-a-pulley-in-the-middle.

  • Golden Axe: Beast Rider

    Guest Full Review
    Golden Axe Beast Rider Cover

    Golden Axe: Beast Rider is the long anticipated entry in the classic Sega-developed series; Golden Axe. The franchise began life in 1989 as an arcade game but was later successfully ported to both the Master System and Genesis with multiple sequels and spin-offs to follow over the years. This installment doesn't play so much as a sequel, but rather as a re-imagining of the first game in which the evil Death Adder must be vanquished. It was developed by a relatively unknown developer; Secret Level Games.

    Editor's Note: Mike B. is a brand new guest writer here at the First Hour, you may also see him around here as Mike in Omaha. He's enthusiastic about game writing and has even been to E3! I haven't even been west of Wyoming. In all seriousness though, great to have him on board and keep an eye out for more from him in the future. And like always, if you'd like to write for the First Hour, just shoot me an email and we'll talk. Back to Mike's review.

  • Peggle: Dual Shot

    Full Review
    Peggle Dual Shot Cover

    Peggle: Dual Shot is the Nintendo DS port of the popular puzzle-casual game, Peggle. It was released early this year and is a compilation of both Peggle and Peggle Nights. Peggle has appeared on a variety of platforms, but made it big when a themed demo of it was released with The Orange Box. The gameplay of Peggle is pretty simple, it's a bit like Pachinko, where you shoot/drop balls from the top of screen and watch them bounce off pegs (Peggles). Yeah, that's really about it, but if you know anything about the Japanese and their Pachinko, you know they can be addicted, and so will you if you pick up Peggle.

    It's all so deceptively simple, but you'll be hooked. Each stage has a collection of both blue and orange peggles, the goal is to knock out all the orange pegs with 10 or less shots. While this remains constant throughout the game, each stage is set up differently, featuring new challenges, and there are also power-ups available to you. Plus the whole game is wrapped in this oddly endearing yet creepy package starring a bunch of furry animals. Well, here's my review of Peggle: Dual Shot.

  • Hitman: Blood Money

    Full Review
    Hitman Blood Money Cover

    Hitman: Blood Money is a stealth action game for the Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Windows. It's the fourth game in the Hitman series and the last to come out. I will admit, I was influenced in playing this game after seeing the movie. I think that is probably the first time a film adaptation has done that, pretty special considering that's one of their main reasons for existence. I had never played a Hitman game before, and I will admit, I really enjoyed it. It's almost a sandbox game considering everything you can do, and no two gamers will play it the same way. What's nice about Blood Money is that someone without any experience with the series can come in and enjoy it. So maybe this review will convince you to check out the game like the movie did for me.

    I wrote up a first hour review of the game a few weeks ago, check it out if you're interested.

  • BioShock

    Full Review
    Bioshock Cover

    BioShock is a first-person shooter released in 2007 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Many moons back, I reviewed the first hour of BioShock in a series of Xbox 360 reviews I did while borrowing my friend's system. I enjoyed the game immensely, but sadly, it was the one game I borrowed that I didn't beat (I even wasted my time playing all the way through Assassin's Creed). I'm not sure why I didn't choose to play through it, though I think I was actually scared. BioShock is a dystopian game set underwater with tons of crazed lunatics running around with masks on, not to mention its the spiritual successor to System Shock 2, considered one of the scariest games of all time by fans. So my wits got the better of me and I set it aside until now, and with my own Xbox 360 on the shelf and a copy of BioShock in my hand, I headed back into Rapture.

    Waiting to play it was probably the best possible outcome, however. Late last year, I read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. When I first played BioShock, I had no idea who Rand was, what Objectivism is, and what any of that has to do with a first-person shooter. Well, now I've done my reading and I can honestly say I understand everything marginally more than I would have if I hadn't read the books. Anyways, I can definitely sense that BioShock is far more ambitious than just being a unique shooter with plasmids and great physics.

    Here's my full review of BioShock for the Xbox 360.

  • SimCity Creator

    Full Review
    Simcity Creator Cover

    SimCity Creator is a city-building game for the Nintendo DS. The game is known as SimCity DS 2 in Japan, but EA decided to rebrand it as SimCity Creator to align it with the Wii game of the same name that was also released in September 2008 (supposedly, the first SimCity DS, so they were also trying to break out of that stigma). So please, take note that this review is of the DS game and not the Wii game, while both SimCity games, they seem different enough to definitely qualify as unique games.

    I've always been a fan of SimCity, remembering back to the days of DOS where if you bulldozed a church God sent your way a tornado as thanks; and sleeping over at my friend Joey's house just so I could play SimCity 2000 all night (plus he had a pretty awesome Lego collection). SimCity and I have a long history, heck, I even played SimCity 64 for the 64DD in Akihabara, Japan. However, I skipped SimCity DS because I honestly didn't think the stylus was accurate enough to play a tile-based game where precision mattered. If the controls for SimCity DS are anything like Creator's, I'll be both right and wrong, which I'll describe below.

    SimCity Creator is a unique game, blending some fun scenarios with original building architecture, but let's see if it's actually worth playing.

  • Sacred 2: Fallen Angel

    Full Review
    Sacred 2 Cover

    Sacred 2: Fallen Angel is a hack and slash role playing game for the Xbox 360, Windows, and PlayStation 3. I had never even heard of the Sacred series before playing this game, and if you haven't either, think Diablo. Though it is definitely a brighter game if anything. Sacred 2 features a seamless open world with tons of action. It was released last year on the PC and about a month ago on the consoles.

    I haven't played a lot of hack and slashers in my life besides the Diablo game here or there, so let's see if I still enjoyed Sacred 2: Falled Angel. This is my full review of the Xbox 360 version.

  • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

    Full Review
    Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars Cover

    Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the newest Grand Theft Auto game and the first for the Nintendo DS. It's an ambitious game (aren't all the GTA games though?), the entire Liberty City crammed into a tiny little cartridge, complete with a full story and living, breathing world. I will tell you right now that Rockstar really pulled it off.

    There's already been a bunch of content about Chinatown Wars already featured on this site, including my friend's first hour review of the game and my own DS M-Rated Blitz (this game is just one of six games rated Mature by the ESRB on the Nintendo DS). So check those out if you're interested, but here's my full review of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

  • Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

    Full Review

    Lost Planet: Extreme Condition CoverLost Planet: Extreme Condition is a third-person shooter set on the eternal winter world of E.D.N. III. It was released in 2007 for the Xbox 360 and PC and the PlayStation 3 got a port in 2008. I reviewed the first hour of the game a few months ago and loved it. The game featured a great blend of action, atmosphere, and adventure. I definitely enjoy third-person perspective games typically more than first-person, the controls are usually a bit more unforgiving but I seem to get a much better context of the world around me. Lost Planet is no exception.

    I honestly had low hopes for this game, fighting bugs on an ice planet? Sounds lame; sounds like it's been done a hundred times before. Mechs? Been there, blown up that. In reality, the game isn't much more than this, but it's action packed and you will be having fun. So there's mechs and ice and bugs, but all together, it makes for something awesome. Let's get into the full review of the Xbox 360 version of Lost Planet.

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