An incredible effort from any perspective, Mass Effect sets the new standard for story-driven games, and has unquestionably surpassed all others to become the preeminent science fiction franchise today. As far as I'm concerned, nothing else can hold a candle to it, and the great minds at BioWare should be extremely proud of what they've created.
Game Description: The setting is 1191 AD. The Third Crusade is tearing the Holy Land apart. You, Altair, intend to stop the hostilities by suppressing both sides of the conflict. You are an Assassin, a warrior shrouded in secrecy and feared for your ruthlessness. Your actions can throw your immediate environment into chaos, and your existence will shape events during this pivotal moment in history.
I have to hand it to Ubisoft. The people they've got in their PR department are marketing geniuses. They could sell refrigerators to people living on an iceberg, or a stack of Bibles to a group of atheists. Look at Assassin's Creed. The smooth operators behind the ad campaign have taken what is essentially a tech demo propped up by a rudimentary mission structure and parlayed it into one of the most anticipated titles of the season.
BioShock is a simple, straightforward first-person shooter dressed up in next-generation trappings and superb artistic design. There are numerous distractions attempting to draw the player's eye away from the basic formula at its heart, but really, that's all it is.
NASCAR 08 allows players to live the experience of driving around in a circle over and over again for up to three hours at a time. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm being glib, because that's a literal description of the sport being simulated.
Game Description: In NASCAR 08, you'll take the wheel and drive your way to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship in the most realistic NASCAR racing game yet. As the new rookie driver on the circuit, develop your racing skills to gain licenses and contracts from hungry owners and unlock legendary top performing cars from NASCAR's biggest stars. Gain new experiences during every race then modify your car's handling with over 40 tuning options to truly master every track. Share your setups with NASCAR's gaming community, then challenge the field in live races with up to 16 players online. Experience tomorrow's racing today in NASCAR 08.
I think it would do most developers well to remember that every videogame is someone's first videogame. NHL 08 is the most egregious example I've seen of this problem in a long while. It's a wonderful hockey simulator that, through its total unwillingness to instruct me on how to play, proved far more frustrating than I'm sure the developers had hoped.
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