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.

  • Mass Effect

    Full Review

    Mass Effect CoverMass Effect was my "must-play" game of 2007. Alas, it wasn't until 2008 that I finally got to play it. And play it I did: nearly 40 hours of gaming in 10 days is probably the most gaming I've done since Final Fantasy VIII was released (or any period of time that I played World of Warcraft). The game is not perfect, but I was engrossed the entire time and the game kept throwing surprises at me around every turn. I went in thinking I understood the game and thought I could play it the way I wanted to play it. Instead, Mass Effect played me like it was my first time saving the universe. I came out extremely satisfied and wanted to start it over again right away.

    For my review on just the first hour, please see my Mass Effect review at The First Hour.

    Bioware's epic is a combination of role-playing game and third-person shooter. Think of the best things Knights of the Old Republic has to offer and carefully mesh it with the best features of Gears of War, and you will have Mass Effect. However, the game is much more action-oriented than Knights but isn't as demanding as Gears, it really finds a perfect balance between the two that makes you wonder how they pulled it off. Geez, I don't know how I can go on without going into too much detail, so let's get right to the specifics!

  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings

    Full Review

    Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings CoverFinal Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings is the direct sequel to Final Fantasy XII for the Nintendo DS. It was released late last year and was the first game I received for Christmas and thus the first game I decided to play through. Revenant Wings is essentially a real-time strategy game on the small screen, something that is not attempted very often and especially not from a company like Square Enix. They do have plenty of experience with strategy games like Final Fantasy Tactics, but surprisingly the game does not play like that at all. It's much more focused on split second decisions and fast action.

    The game brings back most of the main characters from Final Fantasy XII and also integrates a few gameplay elements from its big brother. The game is also long, clocking in at around 40 hours depending on how many extra levels you want to play. This is pretty typical for a Final Fantasy game, but it seemed really long for a portable title! Thankfully though, the game is designed to be digested in small chunks, so it still works very well as a portable game. Here's the review for Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (from now on this game will be called Revenant Wings and the PS2 original will be called Final Fantasy XII).

  • Halo 3

    Full Review

    Halo 3 CoverHalo 3 probably doesn't need much introduction, being one of the most hyped game of the year and the climax to one of the most popular series ever. For the unaware, Halo 3 is a first person shooter putting you in the role of Master Chief, a super soldier in super armor. The game focuses on fast action and throws hordes of enemies at you. Halo 3 also features a variety of vehicles that are actually fun to drive and add substantially to the gameplay. Let's just get straight to the review.

  • Gears of War

    Full Review

    Gears of war CoverGears of War is a third-person shooter for the Xbox 360 and was the original poster child for Epic's new Unreal Engine 3. It's a gritty look on a post alien-ravaged Earth and its main feature is many very large linebackers hiding behind stuff and shooting guns wildly. That's my one sentence summing up, but this game is actually deeper than it seems to be. The cover system, while not completely original, is what all the combat and gameplay is built around. The game punishes you severely for run-and-gun style of play and forces you to be patient in a world of chainsaws and spiked grenades. Gears of War sold very well, but it was not until this last month that I got to play through it completely, and that I did (twice). Now let's get right into my review.

  • Assassin's Creed

    Full Review

    Assassins Creed CoverAssassin's Creed is the newest action-adventure game from Ubisoft. Since it was released about a month ago it has seen pretty good reviews and has become the fastest selling new IP since 2002 (The Getaway, seriously??). I can't argue with facts but I can't believe how many unbelievable scores this game has gotten: a 10 from Games Radar, a 9.5 from Game Informer, and 37/40 from Famitsu are just a few scores that make me go "WTF?"

    For my review on just the first hour, please see my Assassin's Creed review at The First Hour.

    Before I defend myself and get into why this game is both incredibly awesome and incredibly horrible at the same time, let's have a little more history. Assassin's Creed is in the same vein as the recent Prince of Persia trilogy, you can run up walls, kill bad guys with your sword, and basically just do cool acrobatics. Ubisoft made a good decision giving the Prince a break and trying something a little different. Breaking away from the Prince of Persia games, Assassin's Creed gives you a giant sandbox to play around with in three giant 12th century cities. Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus are rendered beautifully and you can tell were created meticulously and carefully. The main character, Altair, is basically a white-clad ninja in the Holy Land, so it seems like it would be really fun to dive into his stealth-killing world. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

    Full Review

    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare CoverI've recently had the opportunity to borrow a friend's Xbox 360 and five select games. I played the first hour of all five of those for my first hour review site, and ended up playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare last. I did not stop playing until 3 am last night when I finished it. I simply could not put the game down.

    I missed out on Call of Duty 1, 2, and 3, so it was kind of a wonder that I was even interested in playing this game in the first place. I gave it a chance however, and I loved it. The previous installments of Call of Duty have all taken place during World War II, which I think has been done to death. Infinity Ward instead made the correct decision to set Call of Duty 4 in our own turbulent, modern day Middle East. This makes for an ultra high-action, technology driven war experience. And this is very fun. I'm not sure how else to describe this game without creeping in on what I want to say later, so let's just get right down to it.

    For my review on just the first hour, please see my Call of Duty 4 review at The First Hour.

  • Psychonauts

    Full Review

    Psychonauts CoverWell, it's been over a month since I beat a game, this is pretty typical the last couple of years but since I started this particular review site, it's only brought it to my attention more. I recently reviewed the first hour of Psychonauts (actually just on Monday, three days ago!) and I could not put the game down. It may have been a month since I finished a game but it's been seemingly years since I enjoyed a longer game this much. Psychonauts actually came out in 2005 and I've had it in the back of my mind ever since, and just now I realize how stupid I am for not playing it until now. The game is simply a very funny, highly original platformer. Everything comes together in a perfect storm of awesomeness for 20 hours, and at the end, you come away very satisfied.

    That's enough introduction, I'll let the categories speak for themselves. All the scores are out of 10.

    For my longer review on just the first hour, please see my Psychonauts review at The First Hour.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

    Full Review

    The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass CoverThe Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a recent Nintendo DS release and the direct sequel to Wind Waker. It features cel-shaded graphics and complete control using the stylus, pressing buttons is entirely optional and you can only use them for shortcut keys anyway, no controlling Link. This probably makes Phantom Hourglass the most unique Zelda game in terms of control (even considering Twilight Princess), but other than that it is a pretty standard Zelda affair.

    Phantom Hourglass picks up where Wind Waker left off, with you and Tetra sailing the high seas. Of course, something bad happens and we basically get a repeat of the opening of Link's Awakening (a game I always considered to be sort of a sequel to Wind Waker even though they were made 10 years apart with probably no intention of relating to each other). Anyways, the game focuses on exploring the four quadrants of ocean on a treasure hunter ship and saving your girlfriend. Treasure and women is usually a good combination and Wind Waker doesn't disappoint. There is a surprisingly amount of repetitiveness, however, as the game forces you to repeat a particular dungeon something like five or six times over the course of the game. This is the only part in which the Phantom Hourglass actually has any meaning and it just feels a little rushed and slopped together in this sense. Anyways, time for some scores out of 10.

  • Portal

    Full Review

    Portal CoverPortal is a puzzle first-person shooter recently released as part of Valve's The Orange Box. Also in this long awaited package is Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode Two. It also includes the original Half-Life 2 and Episode One, so basically this is the perfect purchase for someone looking to get into this great series. Portal was just released this week but I had the foresight of playing it right away from the recommendations of a couple of co-workers (direct quotes: "game of the year," "funniest game ever," "best character ever"). It was a great experience as I will soon describe.

    But how about a quick explanation of what this game is all about! Basically, you're a woman in a research facility, experimenting with the new portal gun. This gun can shoot two different portals, a blue one and an orange one. These portals are then connected so if you walk into the blue portal you'll come out the orange portal and vice-versa. This makes for a complex but enjoyable gaming experience as you can walk through one portal and fall out the other side if it's on the ceiling. Even more fun is the momentum you can build up by placing a portal on the floor a couple levels below you and then jumping down into it from above. Your momentum carries over from the fall and you'll come hurtling out the other portal! Very fun stuff! The portals also allow you to see yourself through the portal if they're positioned properly, making for a disorienting experience. Not a bad disorienting though. Time for some scores out of 10!

    For my longer review on just the first hour, please see my Portal review at The First Hour.

  • Kirby: Canvas Curse

    Full Review

    Kirby Canvas Curse CoverKirby: Canvas Curse was one of those early Nintendo DS games that really showed off what the system could do and what happened when good developers took the time to take advantage of the DS's unique capabilities. Typical Kirby games have you basically playing a platformer, fun, but unoriginal and done to death. Kirby: Canvas Curse takes all direct control of Kirby out of your hands, instead, you draw lines on the screen to act as a path for Kirby, and the poke him along with the stylus to get him to roll along on your lines. It sounds simple, and maybe awkward, but it simply works. You can get Kirby rolling really fast and then launch him off one of your line ramps into an enemy, or make him do loops, or even scale walls with near vertical strokes. This is also one of the deepest Kirby games to date, even beating out Kirby Super Star in terms of number of things to do. The game encourages you to replay levels many times to collect more medals - to buy more stuff. The neat thing is the levels are usually different than the last time you played them, offering enough variety to keep the fun going for a while. Now for some scores out of 10.

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