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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.

Nintendo DS M-Rated Blitz

First Hour Review

Esrb MatureThere are a total of six released M-rated Nintendo DS games: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, theresia, Ultimate Mortal Kombat, Dementium: The Ward, Touch the Dead, and Resident: Evil Deadly Silence (one more game, C.O.R.E. has been rated but not released yet). For over 1100 rated titles on the Nintendo DS, there are just six games considered Mature by the ESRB! That's about one half percent of all DS games. Kotaku has some theories on this, but I'm not really one to analyze the market or audiences - I'm one to play the dang games.

The following is going to be a 10 minute blitz of each of the six released M-rated games for the Nintendo DS, starting with the first released, Resident Evil: Deadly Silence, and finishing up with the recent Grand Theft Auto. I already had a friend review the first hour of Chinatown Wars, but a little overlap is okay. I'll say a few things about each game, play it for ten minutes, and then wrap each up with a few more notes about gameplay. I'll also decide if the first 10 minutes are worthy of the M-rating or not. Let's get this started.

This is also a taste of the new first hour review format. Less about numerical scores, more about what I liked and what I didn't. The reviews will be a bit more fleshed out next week as I have more room to roam. Enjoy.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

First Hour Review

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare CoverCall of Duty 4: Modern Warfare features the best first hour of a video game I have ever played. It was 2007's best-selling game and received my 2007 Console Game of the Year award. The entire game is a must-play but the first hour is something to be marveled at. I was never personally a fan of World War II era shooters, so I was super excited to find out the Call of Duty series had moved on to a modern setting that really makes sense in today's world. There seems to be as much reality in this fictional war than what the previous games had presented to us before.

Welcome to day three of the First Hour, as in the 49th hour of gaming. This is also the first review of my new site where you're reading this now after a few month break. Since my last review in June, I've moved into my first house and had a baby, it's been really exciting but also a bit overwhelming, I haven't even hooked up any of my consoles in months and just played my DS and PC sporadically. I'm ready to start writing about games again though, I'll try to keep them coming as consistent as possible (every Monday afternoon), but you never know what will happen.

Anyways, on with the review!

For my review on the whole game, please see my Call of Duty 4 review at Beyond the First Hour.

Bioshock

First Hour Review

Bioshock CoverBioShock was widely heralded as the 2007 game of the year. I always pay close attention to games labeled as such because they're generally important to video game history and have great influence on the industry. BioShock seems like it will be no exception. It's a first-person shooter for the PC and Xbox 360 and is set on the dystopian underwater city called Rapture. Our hero unwittingly arrives there and must uncover Rapture's dark secrets while staying alive. Rapture was built by Andrew Ryan, an Objectivist who attempts to fulfill his dream society under the sea. Things obviously don't go smoothly.

BioShock has sold millions, won a ton of awards, and probably has a ton of sequels on the way. But how does the first hour of it fare? Let's dive into BioShock and experience Rapture.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

First Hour Review

Turok Dinosaur Hunter CoverTurok: Dinosaur Hunter was the first first-person shooter on the Nintendo 64 and the start of a series that is known for its ups and downs. The game is about Turok, a Native American who is sent through time to save the world and is loosely based on a comic book series of the same name. If you think this sounds a little like Prey, and you might not be too far off in some terms (interestingly enough, these games actually started development around the same time, except Turok was released in 1997 and Prey was released in 2006...). Since Turok was released on the Nintendo 64 before Goldeneye 007, there wasn't much to compare it to except for PC shooters, so reviewers at the time absolutely loved it. I can't say I'm quite as much of a fan, however.

A few weeks ago, a new Turok game was released on the PC and newer consoles, simply called Turok. This is the first new game in the series in almost six years, but after a little reading, it appears it has nothing to do with the original games. Maybe that's a good thing, but let's take a look at the first hour of Turok's foray into video games.

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.

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.

Portal

First Hour Review

Portal CoverPortal is just one game in Valve's newest release, The Orange Box. The Orange Box is a collection of a few different games but Portal is definitely the one that intrigued me the most. The concept of the game is that it is basically a first-person puzzle game that uses a special gun to navigate the areas. This special gun is the portal gun, which allows you to create a blue portal and an orange portal. You can place these portals on most surfaces and then walk/fall/hurtle yourself through it and you'll end up on the other side. Lots of cool things can be done with this and I'll try to explore its many possibilities in my first hour review.

Portal was actually based off a senior project called Narbacular Drop. From the sounds of it, Valve basically hired everyone on this project to help them create Portal! Not a bad turn of events. Oh, and you're probably thinking: "Portal is a brand new game! How is it possible you're reviewing it already!" It's true I don't normally review such brand-spanking new games, but I couldn't pass this one up! Enjoy this rare, new game review!

For my shorter review on the whole game, please see my Portal review at Beyond the First Hour.

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.

Halo: Combat Evolved

First Hour Review

Halo: Combat Evolved CoverHalo: Combat Evolved was released along with the original Xbox and essentially defined the console, along with the entire last generation of first person shooter games. Halo was one of the most popular games of the last few years, basically only surpassed by its sequel and a few other select games. Featuring a two player cooperative campaign and a multiplayer mode that supports up to 16 players over system link (multiple Xboxes on the same LAN), Halo basically had everything gamers wanted, and definitely everything the Xbox needed to get the kick in the pants that it needed. The game sold millions and so did the Xbox along with it.

Halo is basically the opposite of a game like Beyond Good and Evil. It's extremely popular with gamers, readily recognized in mainstream media, and considered overrated by some (or many, depends on who you talk to). But with Halo 3 less than a week away, Bungie's blockbuster series is on the rise. But how does it all begin? Does the first hour of Halo start the series with a bang, or a fizzle? Read on and find out.

There are no pictures in this post because I am stuck at work dealing with a major support issue. I plan to add them later this week.

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