Video Game Reviews

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Beyond Good & Evil HD
Reviewed on: Xbox Live Arcade
Also on: Playstation Network
Street: 03.02
Downloadable games have become a crucial part of the current gaming generation, which is good for two big reasons. Firstly, it gives cheap/poor bastards such as myself a welcome alternative to dropping $60 on some overhyped piece of crap. Secondly, it allows gamers the chance to experience classic games that they may not have played the first time around in an easily accessible format. Beyond Good & Evil HD fits both of these criteria, as it can be had for a mere $10 (or 800 Microsoft FunBux) and it was critically acclaimed upon its original release in 2003, but sold rather poorly. At its core, it’s a classic adventure game. You control Jade, a young reporter who takes care of weird looking orphans and has a pig for an uncle, as she unravels a vast government conspiracy and deals with a pesky alien invasion. Throw in some stealth elements, a whole shitload of hovercraft piloting, liberal usage of an in-game camera, entertaining characters and a well-rounded story and you have a game that’s simply a whole lot of fun. Since this is a nearly eight-year-old game that has been slightly prettied up, the graphics aren’t jaw-dropping and there are a few buggy bits, but Beyond Good & Evil really has something for almost every kind of gamer (no multiplayer, no first-person shooting and no boobs ... sorry bros). A sequel is reportedly on the way, but throw Ubisoft a few bucks and experience the original while you’re waiting. –­Ricky Vigil

Kaos Studios/THQ
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3, PC
Street: 03.15
There are moments during Homefront’s single-player campaign that, for me, elicit the caliber of emotional impact you expect from only the most deadly-serious, harrowing dramas. There are a thousand reasons gamers play games, and everyone has their favorites. I like loot, I like RPG elements like leveling and skill trees, and I like the fantasy of shooting things with guns. But most of all, I play games for their ability—just like books or films—to make me feel something novel. In this way, Homefront manages to succeed, but it does so in spite of its massive and continuous failures in almost every conceivable aspect of video game creation. No joke: In many ways this game is just flat-out bad. The graphics look one, maybe two years old. The gameplay is so fantastically standard that it sets some kind of “standard Standard” . . . a nefarious meta-standard for all bland shooter-gameplay to live down to in the future. The voice acting is a ‘meh’ out of 10, and the whole campaign can easily be finished in four hours. Four fucking hours. If you bought Homefront new, that’s almost $17/hour. So, you know . . . rent it. I paid $8 at Blockbuster and had a damn good time with this title, but Homefront is only fun if you want to get into its fiction. The genocidal violence and intelligent writing built in me a surprisingly powerful sense of national pride, and more-than-usual anger at an enemy that would dare occupy my country. It was a fun role to play, and if they make a sequel, I’ll rent that one, too. –Jesse Hawlish