If Gears of War is anything at all, it is compelling evidence that videogames can be enjoyed purely as a visual and aural experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a fun, frenzied shooter. But the one thing that sticks out in most people’s minds about this game is the presentation, and that’s precisely where its triumphs lie.
Game Description: Earth Defense Force 2017 makes you Earth's last line of defense! Planet Earth is under attack from alien invaders, and the EDF is our only chance for survival. Grab your gun, join your squad and repel the attacking forces. Already a smash hit in Japan, the Earth Defense Force series comes to the US for the first time in this action-shooter exclusive to the Xbox 360. Join a friend in co-op mode and work together to battle your way through the alien swarms Fully destructible environment—Battle alien invaders but watch out—your stray shots will bring down skyscrapers, bridges and other structures.
I burst out laughing when a skyscraper came tumbling down after being hit by a single rocket, but not in a good way. Meanwhile, nearly infinite swarms of bugs and thick mobs of robots clustered together so tightly that they clipped over and into each other, blocking off all view of anything except more bugs and robots.
Dan says that Crackdown isn't an unmitigated disaster—I disagree. For a game that received crazy amounts of hype prior to release and was even granted the coveted honor of being host to the Halo 3 beta, it's an embarrassing, incomplete, and hopelessly botched attempt by a developer that either has no idea what they're doing, or lacked the time, talent, and/or resources to bring their concept to fruition.
As I felt the controller rumble and watched as a hundred feet of worm crawled its way out of the ice, bellowing madly and flailing about, I didn't pause to marvel at the fantastic creature design. I just started blasting away without a second thought. At its best moments, Lost Planet creates something really special that only the best arcade games ever managed—an adrenaline-charged state of hyperviolence where pulling a trigger becomes every bit as much a natural process as breathing. It's the kind of game that sucks players into its world from the moment they start playing, and if that world doesn't have a lot of depth, it's pretty and noisy enough that no one will notice any faults until after they're done with it.
Game Description: In Lost Planet, human snow pirates navigate VS (Vital Suits) through hostile ice-covered environments, fighting against the indigenous Akrid creatures for the precious thermal energy they need to survive. For one such pilot named Wayne, death almost seemed imminent until he was fortunately rescued. However, he can only remember a few fragments of his past including the slaying of his father by the monstrous beings. Yet under the veil of ice, a devious plan has been set into motion for the termination of all Akrid and snow pirates alike. What really happened to Wayne? Who is plotting the destructive scheme? Encounter valuable allies and dangerous enemies on Wayne’s search for the truth.
In my review of Mercenaries, I wondered if it wasn't time to drop the plots entirely from open-concept action games. Let the player run around with a gun, going nuts. I'll be the first to admit that it was a terrible idea. In my defense, though, it was meant as an ironic comment about the poor quality of videogame stories, not an honest call for their removal. Realtime Worlds seems to have run with the concept, though, and the result, while entertaining for a little while, is for the most part an awkward, incomplete mess.
Game Description:Crackdown pushes the action-driving hybrid genre into the next generation with the first ever truly 3D playground. Gamers will enforce justice by any means necessary in Pacific City, a crime-ridden urban center built to encourage the exploration of the full width, depth and height of the city. Coupled with highly innovative co-op gameplay—a genre first—and an interactive world where nearly anything can be used as a weapon, gamers will be able to create a volatile cocktail of judicial oppression as they clean up the streets.
Without the aid of a strategy guide, cheat codes, or any other manner of gaming aid, I managed to get all the way through Bullet Witch in just three hours. This puts me in a bit of a bind because, while it's a very fun game to play, Bullet Witch is just inexcusably short. Hell, I rented the game and I didn't feel like I got my money's worth, so how can I possibly recommend that anyone purchase it?
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