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Ico

Full Review

Ico CoverIco is an adventure game in the greatest sense of the word. It was released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2001 and has a decent fanbase, helped by a sort of spiritual prequel in Shadow of the Colossus released in 2005. Ico is considered a prime example of video games being art, with many pointing at its stylistic graphics, lack of interface, and engrossing story as highlights. The game sold best in Europe, part of which I attribute to bad box-art syndrome. Check out the Japanese/European cover in the infobox, and here's the North American cover. I honestly don't know who approves this crap.

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

Yoshi's Island DS

Full Review

Yoshi's Island ds CoverYoshi's Island DS is the sequel to the greatest 2D platformer of all time, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. In my mind, this is a super tall order for the game to live up to, and unfortunately it doesn't, but the DS sequel is still a great game on its own and is definitely one of the best platformers on the system. If you've played the original you will be right at home with Yoshi's Island DS, as the basic gameplay is exactly the same as it was 13 years ago. This is a good thing but they also spent some time adding a few things here and there.

And maybe it's just me, but this game is hard, harder than the original. Especially if you plan to collect all the points in each level, which I did a few years back for the SNES game, and am currently attempting now for Yoshi's Island DS. Let's just say I need to wear a wrist strap so I don't chuck my DS across the room. Let's get to the review.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies

Full Review

Geometry Wars Galaxies CoverGeometry Wars: Galaxies is a multi-directional shooter and in my opinion, the ultimate descendant of the classic arcade game, Asteroids. This is a full retail game that expands on Geometry Wars and Retro Evolved that appeared as bonus games and on Xbox Live Arcade. It was released on the Nintendo DS and the Wii, and I played it for the DS. There are a ton of levels and there is so much more variety than just the familiar giant box with enemies appearing from the corner. I was really impressed when I encountered my first really small level and was forced to basically hole up in a corner and defend myself for a few minutes.

For those unfamiliar with the series or the concept of an Asteroids clone/descendant, it's basically you against the universe in increasingly overwhelming odds. You pilot one small ship and more and more bad guys appear constantly. The enemies are color-coded and distinctly shaped, so you always have an idea how some will act and react to you. Some just float around aimlessly, others rocket at you at incredible speed kamikaze style. There are a lot of new additions from the original that make this a worthwhile playing experience.

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Full Review

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga CoverLego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is the combination of the first two Lego Star Wars games (The Video Game and Original Trilogy) in what is an obvious attempt to sell more copies of the games and reach that same Star Wars audience that will only buy the DVDs when they're all available in one, giant box set. So basically we have all the levels from the first game, plus all the levels from the second game, plus some more (minor) stuff in case you already own the first two. I received this game for the Nintendo DS, which is essentially my platform of choice of late, and played the heck out of it for the last week and a half. And surprisingly, I loved every minute of it.

I'm not sure why it took so long for someone to realize that Legos are awesome, Star Wars is awesome, and video games are awesome, so why not put them all together. But it finally happened a few years ago and it was like my childhood fantasies were coming together for one last amazing adventure. Somehow though, I never played the first one (Episodes I-III) but got the chance to play The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI). I thought the game was fun but short. The Complete Saga has allowed me to play the first game and replay the second, giving me a much more satisfying experience. It took me a solid 21.5 hours to achieve 100% completion and I'm a little sad to say goodbye. Thankfully though, Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman are only a few months away... Now let's get 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.

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.

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