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Brad Smash!

Have you ever found yourself playing something that you weren't really crazy about, but you played it anyway? There are lots of reasons for doing so… maybe you spent the last of your budget on a title that the reviews were far too kind to, or maybe there's nothing really hot or exciting on shelves and you've got nothing better to do. Whatever the case, I imagine that anyone who plays games finds themselves in that same position occasionally. That was the situation this afternoon.

Left 4 Dead Review

Romero's heroes

Left 4 Dead Screenshot

HIGH It might have taken fifteen years for someone to figure out that a zombie-killing FPS was a good idea, but at least the wait is finally over.

LOW Other than the fact that you actually get to kill zombies in it, there is nothing to recommend this game.

WTF Bombs that make loud beeping sounds make zombies attack the bombs. Car alarms that make loud beeping sounds make zombies attack me. What?

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 11: Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games

Our guest this week is developer Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games. He's the creator of the Xbox Community Game Weapon of Choice, which we covered several episodes ago--and yes, he calls us out on many of our criticisms. He also talks candidly about the freedom and frustration of Community Games development, what inspired Weapon of Choice, and somehow it culminates into a Devil May Cry 3 rant that must not be missed. Our thanks to Nathan for participating! Be sure to visit his website at www.mommysbestgames.com.

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Please send mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace Review

A measure of quality

James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace Screenshot

HIGH Getting to have a 16-player deathmatch on a faithfully updated version of "Facility" from GoldenEye.

LOW There are stealth sequences. In a first person shooter.

WTF Why is the Golden Gun a rapid-fire grenade launcher?

The Horror Geek presents: Dante's Inferno wants you to go to Hell

I've been paying close attention to Electronic Arts' new IP, Dante's Inferno, since it was rumored a few months ago. A video game based on a classic piece of literature is intriguing enough (although I'm hoping Pride & Prejudice & Zombies never makes the jump to game-dom, even if it features Nazi zombies…), but one that's not only based on literature but set in Hell and looks like a God of War clone sets my geek-o-meter buzzing well into the red-zone.

Here's the first trailer for the game. Obviously, someone on the development team played and loved God of War—but is that a bad thing? If you're going to imitate something, you probably should imitate something really good—and it's hard to get much cooler than God of War when it comes to action games featuring giant set-pieces. The only real negative I see here is the giant multi-headed hellhound things looked cheesy to me. Maybe they'll fix them—or maybe I’ll like them more when I see them in the actual game. Too early to tell.

No word on a release date yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Mass Effect Second Opinion

For those of you who don't feel like reading the whole thing: it's awesome.

Mass Effect Screenshot

HIGH Wonderful narrative from beginning to end.

LOW Inventory management.

WTF Twenty minutes into the game where I accidentally chose the dialog option to punch out a hapless NPC.

Playing some snuff-games

Finished Manhunt (PlayStation 2) today for the first time. It was an interesting experience. Although it certainly lives up to its reputation as being an extremely graphic and gory game, there was a lot more to it than just that… the story and setting (death-row convict is rescued from the chair only to be thrust into a kill-or-be-killed game of hide and seek) were engaging, and the work with tone and mood were excellent. The stark, brutal feel and incredibly bleak outlook of the game’s entire world were very well-realized. There's also quite a bit of meat to chew on for people who like to delve into meta-commentary, but I'll save that for another post.

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