I've been delaying writing my review for Mass Effect 2
for a while now. It was my most anticipated game in years, and I
bought it the day it came out and finished it a few long nights later.
I pored over 40 hours into my first playthrough of the game, longer
than even my first run of the original. This was going to be my
defining game of 2010, my Game of the Year.
It's two months later now and I've played it more since I beat it, but
I still haven't compiled all my thoughts on it. Half of me wants to
write the best review possible for one of the best games ever, and the
other half of me wants to make sure it really was one of the best games
I'll start with my conclusion though: I loved it. It's a beyond excellent game that takes the series and the genre into new territories. Mass Effect 2 tries something new at every bend and seemingly succeeds at them all. I had built up an incredible amount of hype for the game, and I can honestly say it surpassed my expectations. BioWare, my hat goes off to you.
A little more introduction though: Mass Effect 2 was released in late January of 2010 for the Xbox 360 and Windows. It's the direct sequel to Mass Effect which was released in late 2007. The game was published by EA and is its flagship product for its downloadable content scheme. The free-with-a-new-purchase Cerberus Network has provided us with plenty of free and paid for DLC since the game was released, and more is on the way. It's BioWare's second big AAA title in about as many months with Dragon Age: Origins coming last November. Everything seems to be going right for them.
So you can tell I enjoyed the game already, but read on to see exactly why. Here's my full review of Mass Effect 2.
This Psychonauts Audio-Visual (half) Experience contains and displays some of the vibrant, shiny, brilliant, and clever content that exists throughout the game. Unfortunately, due to a variety of bugs that caused me crashes, missing graphical layers, strange periodic muted dialogue, control irregularities, memory leaks, and crippling fps drops, I did not have the heart to continue or even play the game for significant time each session. But there is no question that the game itself has heart and some clever, varied visual design, thus here we are...
Those of us who play a lot of video games know the power that music brings to them. We all have our favorite classic tunes, and we know the feeling of hearing a great piece of music while playing a game. Personally I am a huge fan of game music, listening to soundtracks and remixes of soundtracks in my everyday life.
Video Games Live is a show designed to bring the joys of video game music to the greater public. The show consists of an orchestra playing music from games while footage from the game plays on big screens, accompanied by a light show and sometimes stage antics.
Last week I had the privilege of attending this show. For those of you who are stalking me online, let's just get this out of the way. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the show was just outside the city April 1st.
Now for those of you who listen to the podcast, you will know that myself and one of our other writers, Michael T, were planning on attending the show in February but it was canceled. Although we're still not completely sure why, they rescheduled it at a different venue about six weeks later.
This is a first for us, but this is our second full review of The Legend
of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on the First Hour. Paul first reviewed the game in
early February and praised it for its stellar action and improved
controls over Phantom Hourglass. He did note some
issues with the train in the game, and while most of my opinions will
echo his, I would like to get my thoughts down before I move on to other
This is Nintendo's second attempt at going for an entirely stylus-driven Zelda experience. I'm actually still a bit shocked that this works. It's not perfect, but it is definitely not substantially worse than playing a console Zelda game, and in some ways works better than the old 2D games. Paul said he noticed improvements in the control, but either it's been so long since I played Phantom Hourglass that I didn't notice, or... they didn't make any improvements. I'm guessing the former as I was rarely frustrated with the game control-wise.
Just like to quickly mention how awesome it is that we got two Legend of Zelda games on the Nintendo DS, especially considering it was nearly three years after the system debuted that Phantom Hourglass finally landed. It'd be great to see a third, but I imagine Nintendo will be refocusing their efforts on the DSi or 3DS at this point. Hey, you can always hire Capcom to make more portable iterations.
I received Borderlands from my brother-in-law for Christmas, but didn't have the opportunity to play it until my other brother-in-law was over to visit and asked to play it. I watched him play while trying out the new Miles Edgeworth game, but Borderlands really grabbed my attention.
He chose to play as a berserker, and after the initial bus ride cutscene, he was on Pandora and kicking butt. The game was very open but it always seemed like he had something to do. There were a couple of quest givers, he was leveling up, finding new guns, shooting more and more enemies. He played for about two hours and had taken out the game's first boss after a few attempts, and then it was my turn to give it a go.
I can't believe I left this game on my shelf for so long, it's... awesome. I haven't played a game like it since World of Warcraft. The open world feels big and intimidating, but it's one of those perfect examples of sandbox non-linearity with just the right amount of linear guidance. The quests keep coming and I just kept leveling up. There were skill points to earn and bigger and better guns to collect. I'm already hooked.
Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber is a mixed game, and has had mixed reviews. Some hold it as the holy grail of RPG/Strategy gaming, while others find it about as entertaining as a box of rocks.
I’m of the former. When I saw this game in Nintendo Power, and read about it, it was all new to me. I never played its SNES predecessor. But it looked so awesome. Being an RPG fan, and desperately wanting a reason to play my Nintendo 64 other than to play Super Smash Bros. or Star Fox. The game Quest 64 left a terrible taste in my mouth and made me desperately want a Playstation for some good RPG games.
The playing of this game by me will discover whether this game achieves that goal, and if that goal is worthy. Are SNES RPGs still relevant? Have we moved on, or will the sense of nostalgia be enough to reel us in?
Glory of Heracles was actually a series of games in Japan published by Data East since 1987. Nintendo acquired the rights when Data East went bankrupt in 2003. This is the first game to make it to the west; apparently Nintendo is hoping to pull a Fire Emblem.
Here it is, the fifth episode of The First Hour Podcast! In this episode, Paul and Greg discuss their views on the 3DS announcement, another writer (also named Paul) drops in to talk about the latest Pokemon games, and Mike returns to give his opinion of Final Fantasy XIII. And that's not all!
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is a game I knew very little about. When I was about eight years old, a few of my friends said it was "the destroyer of worlds." Not just difficult, but impossible. None of my friends could progress very far, and as an eight year old, I wanted to prove to them that I was superior. Unfortunately, none of them would lend it to me, and I never really had the money to buy it and every time I went to the video store to rent it, it was always out. I don't know if it was just that popular, or if they lost it. I'm guessing the latter.
Now, I understand that it was made in 1991 by Capcom. It’s been ported to a bunch of different gaming platforms including the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable and Virtual Console on the Wii.
It is the sequel to Ghosts 'n Goblins and Ghouls 'n Ghosts, and also loosely related to Demon's Crest. I've played games like Contra and got pretty far before hitting a mark that was impassable for me, even at the wee ages of nine. So I figured… how hard can this game be? Here's the first hour of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts.
This spoiler-filled Audio Visual Experience of Time Gentlemen, Please! contains both potential puzzle/adventuring hints as well as possibly direct spoilers, up to and including the ending of the game. If you are interested in playing the game and have yet to do so (check the less spoilertastic article on the game), then you may wish to avoid this article. Otherwise, enjoy the experience of this fun little indie adventure game. Also as a sidenote, due to a bug with the game engine, no dialogue was captured on the images until the last few images, when some setting changes fixed the issue (as a result, somewhat reducing spoilering but also reducing fun). Warning: potential spoilers below.