Reviews Spotlight: Soldiers, Thieves, Rock Legends, and Bowser

It’s time for that one thing that lights up your hungover, bloodshot eyes every Sunday afternoon. Football! No — the Reviews Spotlight, of course.

This week, we’ve got more reviews of our favorite Chief-less version of Halo. We also have our first community looks at Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story for the DS and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising for PS3, more Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Brütal Legend reviews, and a few quickie reviews of iPhone games. Time for kickoff!

Thieves Aren’t Usually My Crowd, but This Time I Made an Exception (Uncharted 2 Review)
By Brian Shirk
Uncharted 2 is quickly on its way to becoming the game of the year. From flawless graphics to great storytelling and all-around fun, it’s one hell of a ride. Brian says, “I kid you not: Never before had I seen environments as impressive as those in Uncharted 2.” He also says that “Uncharted 2′s environments come to life in a way that games of the previous console generation could only dream of…. In most other cinematic video games, the player would simply watch as the main character tried to escape death by climbing a railcar jutting over the edge of a cliff. But in Uncharted 2, the player will actually partake in this event.” Sounds like the game’s got another fan.


Game Review: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
By Chris Scott
A run-in with strangely uninformed game-store staff aside, Chris seems impressed by the game as well. “If you are reading this review to help you make up your mind about purchasing the game, let me make it very easy for you — buy it.” OK…but why? “The game has some of the best graphics on the PlayStation 3 — or any system, for that matter.” He adds, “In addition to looking pretty, the game moves great as well.” Chris’s review is extremely deep — read on to see why he gives it a 5-out-of-5.

Brütal Legend Review
By Christian Higley

Brütal Legend’s reviews have been mostly favorable, with some saying that the game isn’t very complex. As Christian says, “Brütal Legend still has some big shoes to fill, being the latest game from a man whose accomplishments include classics such as Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, and The Secret of Monkey Island.” Does the game live up to the hype? According to Christian, it’s a mixed verdict. “The scope of the actual game falls short of its ambition.” Sounds negative, but Christian actually does enjoy the game.

Brutal_Legend_2-2A Somewhat Brutal Brütal Legend Review
By Aaron Rivers
Aaron tells quite a tale in the intro to his review to show how important music is to us and this game. Aaron says, “The team over at Double Fine have found a way to include so many aspects of metal and blended them into a narrative that is not only a means in which to pay homage to any specific source but also…paints with broad brush strokes in order to maintain a strong sense of self.” But he has criticisms, too: “The open-world aspect works only so far as setting mood and adding to the overall immersion. The world itself is largely unused, populated only by roaming minions locked in perpetual combat, indigenous heavy metal-themed wildlife, collectibles, and repetitive yet necessary side quests.” Believe it or not, this is coming from another reviewer who in the long run enjoyed most of the game.

Brütal Legend – Dishonesty May Be the Best Policy
By Suriel Vazquez
Suriel feels that Brütal Legend has been extremely miscategorized. Where most people are expecting an adventure game with exploration and rock music, Suriel says that “what happens is that slowly but surely the game turns into something most players don’t expect: a real-time strategy game.” His unique review goes into enormous detail about the game’s unexpected RTS transformation.

Halo 3: ODST – Xbox 360 Review
By Kevin Zhang-xing
Reviews for Halo 3: ODST have ranged from a little low (because it feels more like an expansion than a brand-new game) to great because it looks good and is fun to play. Kevin seems to fit into the first category. He says, “The only innovative thing about the Campaign mode is that it has a somewhat nonlinear approach to it with a huge map and open-world feel…. Overall, this single-player mode feels repetitive and monotonous with played-out gunplay and an uninspired plot.”

Review: Halo 3: ODST
By Travis McReynolds

Travis feels differently than Kevin about ODST. He’s an unabashed lover of all things Halo, and ODST is just one more game in a series that Travis has fully enjoyed. We’ve heard about the graphics and the feel of the open-world environment, how about the game’s length? “ODST’s campaign is about 6-8 hours, depending on your previous fake military experience. For me, that seems about right.” How about the new multiplayer mode? Does it add to a player’s enjoyment of the game? “Firefight is fun and hectic but comes with the only major snag of the game — no matchmaking.”


Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Review
By Frank Anderson
As a first-person shooter, Operation Flashpoint has a huge amount of competition. Frank says, “Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is not the most beautiful, friendly, or fast-paced shooter on the market, but it is one of the most rewarding and hardcore military simulations to come out in years.” Sounds interesting. The Rainbow Six-style games aren’t on the same action level as Call of Duty 4, but the strategic elements add realism that some people find more fun anyway. Since this is for the PS3, how are the graphics? “The visuals, at their best, give a feeling that only a game like Oblivion can give. As you walk out over a hillside to see a valley stretched out ahead, you will watch in awe as missiles rain down on your enemies below.” Sounds like a game to watch, at least until Modern Warfare 2 hits.

Sometimes, Heroes Just Don’t Have Enough Time
By Brian Shirk

Half-Minute Hero
is somewhat of an homage to the old-style Japanese RPGs of the late ’80s and early ’90s. There’s many things to like about this game, and Brian actually gives you 30 of them in this point-by-point review. Brian says, “Half-Minute Hero’s first quest, Hero 30, is a series of 30 bite-sized RPGs all featuring the main hero with the default name: Hero.” Well, many games from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras wouldn’t let you change the hero’s name. “Half-Minute Hero’s pixelated visuals are a stylish reimagining of the 8-bit era.” He also says, “The superb sound quality makes you wish you could hear your favorite SNES tunes remastered.” Sounds like this is a game worth checking out if you like old-style RPGs.


Review — Bowser’s Inside Story
By Cody Winn
If there’s one thing the Mario & Luigi series has to offer, it’s variety. The games are, of course, RPGs at heart, but to leave the description at that would do them a great disservice. Inside Bowser’s Inside Story, you’ll find well-written dialogue and a great adventure — but you’ll also find much more. Cody says, “After spending the past few weeks with it, I can say without a doubt that Bowser’s Inside StoryInside Story is one of the most unusual games I’ve ever played.” Is the game easy to get into and control? “It’s very easy jumping into the experience if you’ve played the previous entries, as it plays pretty much the same as the other two games in the series.” Sounds like if you’re a fan of the previous entries, this one’s a winner.

IQuickies Blitz: Real Racing, GloBall, Orbital
By Stephano Nevarez

A great feature that we’ve seen with some frequency in the Mobfeed is Stephano’s iQuickies, which gives us an easily digestible idea whether iPhone games are worth purchasing. Two of this week’s three games receive high recommendations. He credits the racing in Real Racing as fluid and the best he’s encountered on the iPhone yet. Stephano says that “despite its simplicity, [GloBall] is an incredibly addicting and hypnotizing game.” The only game that Stephano doesn’t wholeheartedly recommend this week is Orbital. He labels it as a decent game, but he says, “Unfortunately, it’s one of those games whose length is based completely on the player’s drive to accomplish, with no incentives sans the leaderboards.”

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