Freedom Fighters is a third-person action game set in an alternate reality in which the Soviet Union became the world superpower after WWII. What sets it apart from other action games is the squad tactics: you can give orders to a number of other people, and must use them strategically to advance through the game. The more charisma you earn, the more people you can command.
The game came out in 2003 for Xbox, PS2, GameCube and PC. I played the GameCube version.
The story has the USSR invade the United States to "free it from a corrupt regime." You play as a guy from Brooklyn who sets out to make things right.
Will squad tactics help this game rise above an ordinary action game, or will the first hour be mired in learning a complicated control scheme, enough to put off any player? Let's find out.
Paul Eastwood delivers another great review just in time for the 4th of July! Enjoy!
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.
Enter the Matrix is the video game tie-in with the film The Matrix Reloaded, the first of two sequels many fans were disappointed with. The video game does not allow you to replay events from the movie, rather you play as minor characters from the movie partaking in events that affect the outcome of the sequels. If I remember correctly this was kind of a big deal at the time (2003), but an even bigger deal is that the game was written by the Wachowski brothers, and contains live-action cutscenes with actors from the movie.
So is Enter the Matrix just another movie tie-in game, a sub-par cash-in on a movie that might be considered the same, or did the Wachowskis' influence bring it to a new level, creating a new gameplay experience unlike any other? Well... we are about to find out. I will be playing the GameCube version.
Greg Noe's Note: Paul Eastwood is a fan of the First Hour and volunteered to write this review, hopefully we'll hear more from him in the future. Hey, if he's brave enough to play Enter the Matrix, maybe he can tackle some of the other most awful video games of all time. I've personally played the game once, some random level in the middle of the game that I remember playing similar to Descent. It kept crashing on us when we clipped into walls. Somehow, Enter the Matrix managed to sell over five million copies. I consider the game a seminal moment in video game history: It was rushed to market and betrayed many gamers' trust in game publishers and movie tie-ins. Interesting to note, the game sits at around 70% on GameRankings, so either this game is unfairly panned universally, or the mainstream reviewers were afraid to give such a high profile game a really bad score.
Back to Paul Eastwood's review of Enter the Matrix.
The Sims 3 is the third game in the ultra-popular Sims series that has swept the globe over the last 10 years selling over 100 million copies and becoming the best-selling PC franchise of all time. The series has broken down all preconceived ideas of what a gamer is, appealing to all ages and genders. Some may call it a casual game because of this, but I would argue that there's nothing casual about balancing the lives of two adults and six babies in one household, heck, just ask my wife.
This is the first Sims game not developed by Maxis, which was absorbed into the EA conglomerate some time ago. Supposedly, Maxis was working on Spore so they didn't have time for The Sims. Unfortunately, that game didn't have any of the Maxis Magic I've come to know and love over the last 20 years, so I think they've just been destroyed from within by Electronic Arts, too bad. Anyways, The Sims is back and hyped better than ever. Now you can walk around town without loading screens. That is either too good to be true or just a reminder of a feature that should have been part of Sims 2. Well, let's get into the first hour of The Sims 3 and see if it still has that Maxis Magic minus Maxis.
Unfortunately I don't have any screenshots of my character as I was playing on my sister's laptop (which has coincidentally since died), enjoy the fancy images though.
Grand Theft Auto IV is the long awaited and critically acclaimed action-adventure game released last year on the Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows. It's the first major iteration of the series since Grand Theft Auto III and in just over a year has sold 11 million copies. A lot was riding on this game and it seems that Rockstar delivered, but I will judge that for myself.
I've played almost all of the Grand Theft Auto games over the last few years, it's amazing how mainstream the series became after GTA III was released. Rockstar has since released the first two games for free for the PC and I reviewed the first hour of GTA 2 a year ago and my friend recently reviewed the first hour of Chinatown Wars (I also have a full review coming of the game in the next few days). Grand Theft Auto has swept the world by storm, so let's get into the latest monster, Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360.
Lost 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.
World of Goo is a physics based puzzle game available for Windows, Linux, OS X, and WiiWare. I reviewed the first hour of the game a few months ago and just kept on playing it until it was unfortunately over. World of Goo was one of the highlights during February's indie game month at the First Hour, and as Magic Toy Chest developers, Graduate Games, told me, "it's tough following World of Goo." That it is. The game has a ton of charm, wit, and atmosphere to carry it over about 50 levels. Each one is unique and will leave you wanting more, and while I feel the story is a bit overdone, this is a brilliant game. Let's get into it.
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is an adventure game released in 2006 for Xbox and Windows. It's the sequel to The Longest Journey, a straight point-and-click adventurer released seven years earlier. Dreamfall takes advantage of the beefier hardware and features fully navigable 3D environments that plays more like Shenmue than Syberia. This may very well be the evolution of adventure games right before our eyes.
I never played the original Longest Journey, well, I take that back. I played the demo for a few minutes then turned it off. So much for the first hour of a demo, huh? There's something to be said about starting in the middle of any story driven game, it usually doesn't work. But that's The Longest Journey, and this is Dreamfall! If you're curious about the game after the review, it's readily available on both Steam and Xbox Live Originals on the 360. Check it out, after we check out the first hour of Dreamfall.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is a 2007 third-person shooter for the Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation 3. You control an amnesiac soldier named Wayne on the frigid planet E.D.N. III. Earth has supposedly been devastated from its own problems so humans decided to head out into the galaxy and find a new planet to mess around with. E.D.N. III must have been the only semi-habitable planet they found because there's no way they would have picked this world if they had known better. It has an average temperature of -100 degrees and is filled with horrible, nasty, giant bug monsters.
The game's creator, Keiji Inafune, has an absolute crazy gaming history. The guy helped design Mega Man, worked on the original Street Fighter, and has produced every major Onimusha game. Don't forget that he also worked on Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, one of the best side-scrollers ever. But how did he end up writing a game like Lost Planet? Turns out he used The Thing, the classic John Carpenter movie as inspiration. Not a bad place to start. Neither is the first hour of a video game, so let's get into Lost Planet: Extreme Condition's.
The Magic Toy Chest is a PC puzzle game that clearly has roots in The Incredible Machine. Developed by indie Graduate Games, Toy Chest is soon to be released and features over 100 levels with a variety of items and a level editor. I grew up playing The Incredible Machine and was excited when the devs approached me to play this. Physics based puzzle games are generally awesome, just look at the World of Goo last week. Of course, like The Incredible Machine, the Magic Toy Chest is more about solving puzzles like you have the mind of Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist who would draw complex mechanical solutions to simple everyday problems. What's not to like about that?
The Magic Toy Chest takes place in a young boy's house. The style of the graphics and simplicity of gameplay in the first hour definitely lends itself to be a game directed at kids. This isn't a bad thing, but as you'll see there's not much of a challenge to be had early on. Let's just get right down to it, let the first hour of the Magic Toy Chest begin.