Greg Noe's reviews and writings

  • What's most important to you when starting a new game?

    Poll
    Gameplay
    33% (135 votes)
    Fun Factor
    32% (133 votes)
    Graphics and Sound
    7% (27 votes)
    Story
    28% (117 votes)
    Total votes: 412
  • Mother 3

    First Hour Review

    Mother 3 CoverMother 3 is the 2006 sequel to Earthbound that was only released in Japan. However, last month a fan translation was released and now I can play Mother 3 without referring to my Japanese dictionary every ten minutes. The translation is supposedly really good, even for a series that is chock full of humor and puns that take a lot of effort to translate from one language, and culture, to another.

    One of the questions on many minds is why wasn't this game officially translated and released outside of Japan? I've been mind boggled about this for two years now and my respect for Nintendo of America definitely went down because of this. Gamers have seen this before with Sin and Punishment, Star Ocean, and even Final Fantasy V, but all of these games eventually saw a translated release. But from everything Nintendo says, Mother 3 will only officially ever be released in Japan. We all scream "why?" because Earthbound was so popular (which, of course, is Mother 2, with Mother never being released outside of Japan either). I think I finally got my answer the other day, when I read this absolutely great review on Mother 3. The reviewer described the game as poetry and that attempting to translate Mother 3 would result just like the generally awful translations of ancient haikus. The rhythm is gone. The original meaning is lost.

    But alas, Mother 3 has been translated, and the first hour beckons. For those unaware, Mother 3 is a role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance. And this is actually the first review I've done where I've already reviewed a game in the same series as Earthbound was the second review I ever wrote. Well, let's go.

    For a review on just the entire game, check out my Mother 3 review at Beyond the First Hour.

  • Spore

    Full Review

    Spore CoverSpore was released a few months ago to much hype and anticipation. It was the game to end all simulators, featuring gameplay from the individual cell level to the entire universe. Will Wright and crew demoed the game more than two and a half years ago in what seemed to be a ready to release state. But the game would be delayed, and delayed, and delayed again, leading us to a September 2008 release. Spore was my must play game of the year, and play it I did. Was it everything it was supposed to be cracked up to be? Definitely not. Was it a disappointment in my eyes? Definitely yes. Please Greg, tell us why.

  • Diablo II

    First Hour Review

    Diablo II CoverDiablo II is the super popular hack and slash released on the PC in 2000. It has probably broken more computer mouses than any other game because of the excessive clicking involved in its hacking and slashing. I'm personally a Diablo II virgin and have barely played the original, so this was admittedly, quite the experience! At least I can say I've played it with Diablo III announced and looking amazing.

    A few notes, I also have Lord of Destruction installed so I can capture higher resolution screenshots (800x600 vs. 640x480), but I'll try to treat it as I'm just playing the regular game. And if you're interested, as I guess it really matters, I'll be playing version 1.07. Oh yeah, if you're a big fan of Blizzard, check out my Lost Vikings review after you read about Diablo II's first hour.

  • 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.

  • Aladdin

    First Hour Review

    Aladdin CoverAladdin for the Sega Genesis was released in 1993 about a year after the film was in the theaters. It was created by the same team that would go on to make Earthworm Jim and features animations drawn by Disney animators. The game was released on a wide range of systems, but the Super Nintendo Aladdin was actually an entirely different game created by Capcom. For all these years I asssumed it was Nintendo's infamous censorship at work because you couldn't use a sword like on the Genesis, but it was simply a different game under the same name (though I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo still had a hand in swordless Aladdin).

    I reviewed the first hour of Lion King back in March and did not have a good experience. Considering both Aladdin and The Lion King were both developed by Virgin Interactive, could I possibly have a similar first hour? Let's get into it.

  • Ico

    First Hour Review

    Ico CoverIco is a PlayStation 2 video game released in 2001. It's honestly hard for me to believe that this game is seven years old already, but it is, and I still think it plays great. I discovered Ico in 2005 after I had finished the great game, Shadow of the Colossus, which serves as sort of a distant prequel to Ico. Anyways, Ico is an action-adventure game similar to Zelda but without an interface, text-driven story, or large cast of characters. Ico is minimalist in many senses of the word.

    I feel like I'm drawn to these cult hit games recently as I enjoy exposing them and also trying out a game I would never play if it weren't for this site. I've owned Ico for three years and I've barely ever played it. Well, that's enough introduction, let's get to the review!

    For my review on the entire game, please see my Ico review at Beyond the First Hour.

  • Games for Lunch

    I've been writing First Hour reviews now for about 15 months, one review a week with a couple of full reviews thrown in when I get around to them. Would you believe my surprise (and dismay, and OMG, and many other emotions) when I discovered Games for Lunch. A blog written by Kyle Orland, a professional game journalist, writes nearly the same thing as I do. Kyle writes stream of consciousness reviews of just the first hour of video games, five days a week, and he started writing them about a month before I did!

  • Mutant League Football

    First Hour Review

    Mutant League Football CoverMutant League Football is a football game released for the Sega Genesis in 1993. This isn't your typical football game though, as the players are mutants, monsters, and skeletons, and the field has firepits, mines, and going out of bounds means getting sucked into space. Mutant League Football was developed by EA and released at the same time as the early Madden Football games, but you can tell the development team really had some fun with the game. A few of the team names are mocking real teams (Sixty Whiners instead of 49ers) and there are a couple of parody players such as Reggie Fright (Reggie White) and Bones Jackson (Bo Jackson).

    This game really reminds me of The Rookie, a podcast novel written by Scott Sigler that I read last year. In that book, there's an intergalactic football league played by a variety of alien races and includes much death and destruction. A great listen. Let's get to the review now, oh yeah, this is my second post-apocalyptic game review in a row after Fallout, funny how those things run in streaks.

  • Fallout

    First Hour Review

    Fallout CoverFallout is a popular computer role-playing game from 1997. Its post-apocalyptic setting, off-beat dark humor, and deep gameplay has kept this game installed on many computers over the last decade. Fallout's fanbase has been pretty steady over the years and with Fallout 3 being released later this month, the focus on this series is really starting to build. So let's take this opportunity and look at where the entire series began, in the first hour of the original Fallout.

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