Crysis 2 Review

Crysis 2 looks good and developer Crytek knows this. The intro credit says “Achieved with CryEngine 3,” and the first achievement you get is called “Can it run Crysis?” However, pretty visuals alone don’t impress me. Luckily, Crysis 2 offers more than just its console-PC flame war inducing graphics. It’s also a fantastic game and a serious contender for the best shooter of 2011.

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Homefront Review

Set in the United States under North Korean occupation, Homefront attempts to differentiate itself from other first person shooters with a unique back-story. You take control of Robert Jacobs, an ex-helicopter pilot, and fight in the American resistance. This grim scenario could have allowed for an incredibly interesting shooter, but instead fails to implement anything we haven’t already seen in the genre.

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Activision Officially Outs Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation Map Pack

After a few very obvious leaks and rumors, Activision finally announces the release date of Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation Map Pack.

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E3 2009: Homefront Preview

Platforms: 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Kaos Studios
Release Date:  TBA

The year is 2027 and America has been occupied by the North Koreans.  (I know right? I didn’t believe it either. Even when he said it was “plausible”.) There are pockets of resistance operating throughout the United States trying to restore freedom which is where the story is focused.   [Read more...]

Halo 3



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Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Bungie Software
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: Single, Co-Op, Multiplayer
Input: Gamepad
Blood and Gore
Violence
Mild Language
Related Links
360 News
360 Games
360 Accessories
Discuss This Game

I am NOT a Halo fan.  Relatively speaking that is.  I’ve followed the series from its inception, and as much as I like the series, I’m nowhere nearly as enamored with it as most other people.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what will probably end up being Game of the Year, much to my dismay.

Halo 3 starts off exactly where Halo 2 ended, or as many would call it non-ended.  Master Chief is back on Earth to stop the Covenant from activating Halo, an ancient galactic doomsday device.  This time, however, he won’t be doing it alone.  The Arbiter from Halo 2 will be fighting alongside him for a good portion of the time.  Like the previous two, the story is compelling enough to drive the game although it’s certainly nothing that will blow your mind.  Then again, the story has never been the selling point of the series.  The gameplay and the multiplayer is where Halo 3, predictably, truly shines.

Continuing a tradition of excellence, Halo 3′s campaign mode is still as fun and challenging as ever, all of which stems from the incredible enemy AI.  Whereas most shooters settle for enemies that simply rush you with guns blazing, Covenant forces rely on tactics to take you out.  They use cover, jump away from grenades, throw grenades, stand on crates to get a better shot, and a whole myriad of other things to get the upper hand over you.  Tactics that work well against the brainy Covenant may not necessarily work for the Flood.  Long denounced as Halo’s “dumber” enemies relying more on overwhelming numbers instead of tactics, the Flood is slightly smarter this time around.  Although most will still rush you hoping to get in a hit, some will stay back and shoot instead.  Also, some new variants of the flood have emerged and definitely requires more thought than just running up to it and filling it with lead.

Given the enemy AI’s evolution over the previous games, it’s surprising how much the environments don’t look all that different from the previous games.  Although technically superior in every way, the levels never veers off far from what’s already been done in the previous games.  A level that starts on the beach?  Check.  A level in a forerunner structure? Check.  A snow level?  Check.  All these levels really do is give the player a place to shoot at the Covenant instead of conveying any kind of atmosphere.  For lack of a better word, the environments lack character.
Considering how little time people will spend on the campaign mode, most of its shortcomings will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the true Halo experience.  The multiplayer.

Once again Bungie created an easy to use system with which anyone with an Xbox Live Gold account can just jump in and get an online match going within seconds.  The matchmaking service returns from Halo 2 with much refinements.  Now ranked games match players based on their skill level which, unlike a player’s rank, does not go up based on how many games the player have played.  This way, ranked games tend to be much more balanced.  Don’t care about your rank?  Unranked games are also available and have more varied game types compared to ranked games.

In addition to the divine matchmaking system, the weapons have all been tweaked.  Now every weapon, save probably one or two, feels useful and fun to use.  Halo 1′s much maligned Assault Rifle returns with a smaller clip but a much higher accuracy.  Now it’s usable even at medium range.  Also the needler is tweaked to the point where it can consistently kill players without having to go up to their faces.  These refinements in addition to the new weapons, all of which are very, very fun to use, makes the multiplayer experience extremely compelling and addictive.  Add to it the almost limitless game type variants with all the possible permutations of tweaks that can be made like reducing gravity or increasing damage resistance to everyone and Halo 3′s multiplayer is simply unmatched.  Still not enough?  Forge can fix that.  With Forge, a map’s content can be edited however way they see fit.  It’s fairly flexible, and like the customizable game types, the sky’s the limits.

But wait!  There’s more!  Halo 3 also implements a saved film feature.  It let’s you review up to 25 previously played games be it on Xbox Live or campaign mode.  Those films can also be permanently saved so that you can re watch that one time you killed your best friend with a needler over and over and over again.  It even lets you watch it from your friend’s point of view if you want to see what a needler death looks like! Just to add insult to injury, a small clip of said incident can be made from that film then uploaded unto Bungie.net where anyone can view it.

After years of pining, Halo fans can now rejoice.  The sequel is here, and it is glorious.  Don’t let the naysayers, like me, tell you otherwise.  This game is worth every penny that you spend on it.

Graphics: Technically superior to its predecessors, but a little hard to see all the refinements
Story: People’s fascination with the Halo universe baffles me.  Halo 3 did nothing to fix that.
Gameplay: Refinements and tweaks have made this the epitome of the Halo series.

Music and Sound FX: Weapons still sounds dead to me, but the music certainly livens up the gameplay quite well.
Game Over: This is one of those games that years from now, people will still play.

9.5 of 10